SEBS Students Awarded at Aresty Undergraduate Research Symposium

Posing at SEBS 2015 Convocation, biotech major Dan Hollerbach with Prof. Lily Young. Hollerbach received a “Best Poster” award in the STEM category at the Aresty Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Posing at SEBS 2015 Convocation, biotech major Dan Hollerbach with Prof. Lily Young. Hollerbach received a “Best Poster” award in the STEM category at the Aresty Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Each spring, the Aresty Research Center evaluates poster presentations at its university-wide Undergraduate Research Symposium. A celebration of scholarship and creative activity, the symposium is a chance for undergraduates to present a paper or poster on their findings to an audience of faculty, peers, and corporate and community partners. For 2015, the symposium was held on April 24 in the Livingston Student Center. The top posters were chosen from four broad categories: Humanities, Social Sciences, Digital, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Five SEBS faculty sponsored award winning projects at the Aresty symposium, with six student projects awarded. Two of Professor Lily Young’s undergraduate research students were recognized.

“It was very exciting that both students in our lab were winners. They are both outstanding honors students and very deserving, and we should celebrate their achievements!” said Young. Graduating senior Dan Hollerbach, a biotech student, received a “Best Poster” award in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) category for his poster “Genetic Characterization of bamA’s Involvement in the Anaerobic Pathway for the Degradation of Natural Aromatics” under his co-advisors Professors Abigail Porter and Lily Young, Department of Environmental Sciences. Out of more than 500 poster presentations, Hollerbach received one of the three awarded in the STEM field and will receive an award of $250. [Read more…]

IMAX Film “Volcanoes of the Deep Sea” Begins Run in Indonesia

Untitled-8Twelve years after its debut, Volcanoes of the Deep Sea has attracted over 200 million viewers and is still going strong. This IMAX film spotlights the intriguing world of deep-sea volcanoes found miles under the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, brought to life through the work of Richard Lutz, a professor in the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, and his former colleague, Peter Rona, a marine sciences professor who passed away in 2014. Volcanoes of the Deep Sea is heading to the Keong Emas IMAX Theatre in Jakarta, Indonesia, for a run of at least a year starting June 15. Read more at Rutgers Today.

Advice About Salt is Evolving

Salt intake that is often deemed high may actually have benefits, scientists say… "We humans eat more salt than is necessary. But we all do it. So the question is: why?" asks Paul Breslin, a professor of nutritional sciences who researches sodium appetite at New Jersey’s Rutgers University… While governments have long pushed people to reduce their intakes of sodium chloride (table salt) to prevent high blood pressure, stroke and coronary heart disease, there are good reasons why cutting down on salt is not an easy thing to do… Scientists suggest that sodium intake may have physiological benefits that make salt particularly tempting- and ditching the salt shaker difficult. It comes down to evolution.

Read the entire article at www.santafenewmexican.com »

Ph.D. Student David Jespersen ’15: From Psychology to Plant Science

David Jespersen taking field samples at the University of Georgia–Griffin agricultural research station in Summer 2014 as part of a collaborative project to better understand the underlying genetics that control heat tolerance in grasses. Photo: Courtesy of David Jespersen.

David Jespersen taking field samples at the University of Georgia–Griffin agricultural research station in Summer 2014 as part of a collaborative project to better understand the underlying genetics that control heat tolerance in grasses. Photo: Courtesy of David Jespersen.

David Jespersen, doctoral student in plant biology, received the Graduate School–New Brunswick Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research for his exceptional research accomplishments at the Spring Awards ceremony on April 23. He was one of six awardees chosen among all graduate students campuswide.

A mere six years earlier, David graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the School of Arts and Sciences—far removed from the world of plant science. So, how did he get from studying psychology to being on the verge of completing his dissertation research on identifying heat-tolerance traits and genes in bentgrass and helping to develop heat-tolerant bentgrass and other species, all the while earning several significant accolades for his achievements along the way?

“I’d taken a few electives in plant science as an undergraduate and found that I had a growing interest in plants, and in my final undergraduate semester I went to talk to the graduate program director about pursuing a master’s degree in plant science,” explains Jespersen. “As it turned out, instead of pursuing a master’s degree, I turned my attention to a Ph.D. instead, with the encouragement of Prof. Huang.” [Read more…]

E.P.A. Carbon Emissions Plan Could Save Thousands of Lives, Study Finds

New carbon emissions standards that were proposed last year for coal-fired power plants in the United States would substantially improve human health and prevent more than 3,000 premature deaths per year, according to a new study… The study, led by researchers at Syracuse and Harvard Universities, used modeling to predict the effect on human health of changes to national carbon standards for power plants. The researchers calculated three different outcomes using data from the Census Bureau and detailed maps of the more than 2,400 fossil-fuel power plants across the country… Dr. Leonard Bielory, a researcher at Rutgers University who was not involved in the study, said that it did manage to show that the rule would bring positive health effects, but that the extent was far from clear. "Are these the real numbers you’ll save?" he said. "That’s really a gray zone."

Read the entire article at www.nytimes.com »