The Hot Pepper Potential: Rutgers Ag Research Aims for Alternative Markets in New Jersey and the Region

Habaneros are among the exotic hot peppers with growing market potential.

Habaneros are among the exotic hot peppers with growing market potential.

It’s hard to be neutral about hot peppers. People often run, pardon the pun, hot or cold when it comes to these spicy meal additions. Those with “seasoned” taste buds may ply their dishes with daring degrees of spiciness, while others who fear the burn decline to indulge. But hot peppers offer more than a spicy bite to meals and present some other uses that can turn up the heat on its market potential. [Read more...]

Bangkok, Thailand: Knowledge and Perspective to Last a Lifetime by Veronica Walentowicz (SEBS 2015)

As part of the ISL course the class met with Public Health Faculty from Chulalongkorn University and the medical staff at the Rural Health Clinic in Rangsit, Thailand.

As part of the ISL course began by Prof. Mark Robson (front row, left), the Rutgers students met with Public Health Faculty from Chulalongkorn University and the medical staff at the Rural Health Clinic in Rangsit, Thailand.

Mark Robson, professor of plant biology and pathology, has been working in Thailand for 20 years. His activities have included being a Fulbright Senior Scientist, teaching risk assessment under a program funded by the Asian Development Bank and training young environmental health scientists under the NIH-funded Fogarty Center. Because of his deep association with Thailand, Robson was motivated to develop a new International Service Learning Course (ISL), a month-long course in July that was offered for the first time in the summer of 2014 in Bangkok. The class included a service component in local schools for underprivileged children in Bangkok along with cultural and educational activities. One day-long field trip involved a visit to a rural farming location where Robson conducts research on the effects of pesticides on children living in the rice-growing area known as Rangsit. As part of that trip the students visited the original Thai capital, Ayutthaya.

Public Health major Veronica Walentowicz (SEBS 2015) shares her thoughts and experiences on this ISL course in her own words below. [Read more...]

Bangkok, Thailand: Bringing the Outside World to Students With Special Needs by Alexandra Shishkova (SEBS 2015)

Robson and his class high atop the original Wat Phra Ram built in 1369 in Ayutthaya.

Robson and his class high atop the original Wat Phra Ram built in Ayutthaya, in 1369.

Mark Robson, professor of plant biology and pathology, has been working in Thailand for 20 years. His activities have included being a Fulbright Senior Scientist, teaching risk assessment under a program funded by the Asian Development Bank and training young environmental health scientists under the NIH-funded Fogarty Center. Because of his deep association with Thailand, Robson was motivated to develop a new International Service Learning Course (ISL), a month-long course in July that was offered for the first time in the summer of 2014 in Bangkok. The class included a service component in local schools for underprivileged children in Bangkok, along with cultural and educational activities. One day-long field trip involved a visit to rural farming location where Robson conducts research on the effects of pesticides on children living in the rice-growing area known as Rangsit.

Here Ecology major Alexandra Shishkova, who participated in the ISL course, shares her thoughts and experiences on Thailand, in her own words, below. [Read more...]

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, Center for African Studies, 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 Welcomes the First STRIDE Scholars From the Philippines

L-R: STRIDE scholars Richard Licayan, Arlan Rodeo, Micaela Perlada and  Peter Tenido with Prof. Mark Robson.

L-R: STRIDE scholars Richard Licayan, Arlan Rodeo, Micaela Perlada and Peter Tenido with Prof. Mark Robson.

Rutgers welcomes the first three STRIDE scholars from the Philippines for the Fall 2014 semester. These three students, Micaela Cristina Perlada, Arlan James Rodeo and Peter Immanuel Tenido are part of the Professional Science Master’s (PSM) program here at Rutgers. The university is a partner in a five-year, $32 million project though a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) grant. The grant, USAID Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for Development (STRIDE), focuses on economic development, science and technology investment and training of young scientists in the Philippines.

The Rutgers component is led by Mark Robson, professor of plant biology and pathology at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) and dean of agricultural and urban programs. According to Robson, the Rutgers portion includes the development of 10 Professional Science Master’s program in the Philippines as well as assist in training 55 young Filipino scientists who will come to the U.S. for the Master’s in Business and Science (MBS) degree. [Read more...]