Rutgers Community Comes Together to Help Fight the Spread of the Ebola Virus in West Africa

Jim Simon sorting supplies bound for Liberia at the REHS building on the Livingston campus.

Jim Simon sorting supplies bound for Liberia at the REHS building on the Livingston campus.

In August, Jim Simon, professor of plant biology and pathology at Rutgers, “just couldn’t sit still and do nothing” when, like the rest of the world, he began to get a better sense of the growing threat of the Ebola virus in West Africa through daily news reports. In addition, he was getting frantic requests for medical supplies and protective gear from colleagues attached to partner institutions in Liberia, in particular the JFK hospital at the University of Liberia and the Agave teaching clinic at Cuttington College.

Simon felt he needed to mobilize some effort to get desperately-needed supplies to folks on the ground, especially in Liberia, which has emerged as the country hardest hit by the epidemic. A member of the Princeton Fire Department, he’s been trained in Incident Command & Emergency Response and was a Lieutenant in Hook and Ladder Fire Company. “Because of my training, I had a sense of the need for logistical and practical support by the folks who are in the midst of dealing with an emergency,” said Simon.

He and several Rutgers colleagues, including faculty and staff from the Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs, School of Pharmacy, The New Jersey School of Medicine in Newark,  Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick and myriad other units, identified Liberia as the beneficiary of their immediate fundraising efforts due to the existing ties between Rutgers and Liberia. [Read more...]

Rutgers Food Innovation Center Wins Award from U.S. Small Business Administration

The Rutgers Food Innovation Center (FIC), a food business incubation and economic development program of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as a winner of its first Growth Accelerator Fund competition.

Natale Grande and The Flying Meatball team inspecting, sorting and packaging gourmet meatballs. Photo credit: The Flying Meatball Company.

Natale Grande and The Flying Meatball team inspecting, sorting and packaging gourmet meatballs at FIC in Bridgeton. Photo credit: The Flying Meatball Company.

The FIC is the only recipient from New Jersey to earn this award and will receive a cash prize of $50,000 to create the infrastructure for developing this new accelerator program. The winners will be honored in Washington, D.C., by the SBA, in partnership with the Global Accelerator Network, at a Fly-In Day in November, which is designated National Entrepreneurship Month.

“We are very excited to be selected by the SBA for this award”, said Lou Cooperhouse, director of the Rutgers Food Innovation Center. “We have been recognized globally for our economic development impacts and now we will be able to take our Center to an even higher level – by creating linkages between our clients and the funding community.”

“This award is indicative of the commitment by Rutgers in regional economic development”, said Margaret Brennan-Tonetta, associate vice president of economic development at Rutgers. “The Rutgers Food Innovation Center is a model for university public-private partnerships that generates significant economic impacts for the state. The new Growth Accelerator program that the center will establish with this funding will dramatically increase these impacts and maximize its benefits to the food industry.” [Read more...]

Joan Bennett Honored for Outstanding Contributions in Microbiology

IUMS Vice President Steven Lerner with Joan Bennett, who received the Stuart Mudd Award for Studies in Basic Microbiology.

IUMS Vice President Steven Lerner with Joan Bennett, who received the Stuart Mudd Award for Studies in Basic Microbiology.

Joan Bennett, professor in the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, was awarded the Stuart Mudd Award for Studies in Basic Microbiology by the International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS), an organization that promotes education research and collaboration in microbiology on an international scale. Bennett is also the Associate Vice President of the Office for the Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics at Rutgers, charged with promoting the welfare of women in science, engineering, mathematics and the health professions across the three campuses of Rutgers University at Camden, New Brunswick and Newark.

The Stuart Mudd award, given in recognition of “outstanding, selfless endeavours and contributions in microbiology for the good of society,” consists of a citation, a cash award of $1,000 and paid expenses to attend the IUMS International Congress, which was held in Montreal, Canada, this year. In addition, the awardee automatically becomes a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science. As a condition of the award, Bennett delivered a major scientific address at IUMS’ International Congress in Montreal in July.

Bennett was nominated for this award for her scientific research on aflatoxin genetics and biosynthesis with the goal of preventing their entry in agricultural produce, especially in Africa, Asia and other underdeveloped regions of the world where it’s a major problem. Aflatoxins are highly toxic fungal metabolites that contaminate foods and feeds globally.  [Read more...]

Rutgers Turfgrass Breeding Program Director Wins Industry IMPACT Award

L-R: Phil Simon (University of Wisconsin), Bill Meyer with the NAPB IMPACT Award and Rita Mumm (University of Illinois).

L-R: Phil Simon (University of Wisconsin), Bill Meyer with the NAPB IMPACT Award and Rita Mumm (University of Illinois).

William Meyer, professor in the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology and director of the Rutgers Turfgrass Breeding Project, was awarded the 2014 National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) Impact Award at the association’s annual meeting held in Minneapolis, MN, on August 8.  According to the NAPB, its Impact Award “recognizes an individual active in the plant breeding field that has shown exceptional accomplishments in their research, teaching and collaborations with others.”

In addition to the NAPB Impact Award, Meyer has received many accolades, including the New Jersey Turfgrass Association Hall of Fame Award in 2009 and the Golf Course Superintendent’s Association John Morley Service Award in 2006. [Read more...]

IFNH Launches Innovative Partnership with ChopChop Kids, Award Winning Children’s Anti-Obesity Organization

The New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health (IFNH) at Rutgers has joined forces with ChopChop Kids, an innovative children’s media organization, to educate young people about health and nutrition in a new partnership that will build on the strengths of both organizations.

Chop Chop magazine logo.

ChopChop Kids magazine logo.

The partnership encompasses quarterly custom editions of ChopChop Magazine, a health communications fellowship program and video communications. ChopChop Magazine features plenty of child friendly recipes, proper cooking practices, fitness instruction and exciting food choices for children to explore. Additional opportunities for symposia, research and collaboration with the institute’s new Center for Childhood Nutrition Education & Research, which is dedicated to educating children about nutrition, are envisioned.

“We are delighted to work with our partners at IFNH,” said Sally Sampson, president and founder of ChopChop Kids. “The alignment in our missions, plus our experience in communities across the U.S. in addressing childhood obesity, can have tremendous impact as the institute focuses on ways to stem the epidemic of obesity and rise in obesity-related disorders such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.”

Peter Gillies, founding director of the IFNH, said “ChopChop brings a fresh and direct approach to educating children and families about health and nutrition through the pages of its magazine and its connection to cooking. We believe distribution of the magazine along with other communications efforts will help us reach out to the community.”

[Read more...]