Rutgers Energy Institute Intern Wins First Prize in Student Poster Competition at National Meeting

REI intern Ajay Kashi (at right) with his mentor Anders Laursen, post-doctoral associate.

REI intern Ajay Kashi, pictured holding his first place award, with his mentor Anders Laursen, post-doctoral associate.

Rutgers Energy Institute (REI) summer intern Ajay Kashi, a Chemistry and Chemical Biology major who conducts research in Prof. Charles Dismukes’ lab, took home first prize in the student poster competition at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) National Meeting in Salt Lake City. REI’s home campus is at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences but the institute facilitates interdisciplinary energy research across Rutgers University. The institute’s summer internship is open to highly motivated undergraduates and is intended “to help students understand the breadth of the energy challenge, from the environmental impacts that motivate the transition, to the technological innovation needed to create a viable new system and the socio-economic, policy and energy system frameworks necessary to enable widespread deployment.” Read more on REI intern Ajay Kashi’s award.

Racial Discrimination Linked with Worse Mental Health

Discrimination has been linked with negative health outcomes among racial minorities, including increased rates of mental health problems such as panic attacks, generalized anxiety disorder, depression and suicidal ideation. "We find a direct relationship, and because the analyses were longitudinal, we have more confidence in the causal nature of the relationship," study co-author Naa Oyo A. Kwate, PhD, an associate professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, told Psychiatry Advisor. "Experiences with racism are stressors, and are chronic, unpredictable and uncontrollable — the worst kind of stress."

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Environmental advocates, DEP disagree on shellfish safety program

Environmental advocacy groups are concerned that proposed amendments to the state’s shellfish-safety program will make it infeasible for research to be conducted in prohibited waterways. Initially proposed in November, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection [NJDEP] called for amendments and repeals to the Shellfish Growing Water Classification rules, which establish standards for water quality protection and harvesting of shellfish, such as oysters. After discovering wild oysters in the Hackensack River several years ago, Sheehan and the Hackensack Riverkeeper initiated a study that was conducted by Beth Ravit, a professor from Rutgers University, to see if the oysters could be introduced in the river and reintroduced in the Raritan Bay.

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Arctic Warming Opens Waters To More Whales, Increasing Food Competition

Rapid sea ice loss in the Arctic is opening new waters to humpback and fin whales, a new study revealed. While these marine animals used to visit the far north only during the summer, warming waters are causing sea ice to retreat at an increasing rate. This may increase food competition among bowhead whales that once had this region to themselves… Marine mammals reflect the impacts of climate change through changes not only in their diet and physical condition, but through shifts in their range and habitat. Researchers say climate change is likely to invite many other species into new habitats… "It’s not simple, but as Mother Nature keeps dishing out these unusual events we can start to connect the dots between them to understand the larger picture of what’s happening and how it’s likely to affect animals within and beyond the Arctic, including humans," Jennifer Francis, a Rutgers University research professor and a plenary speaker at the conference, said.

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Extreme Research Shows How Arctic Ice Is Dwindling

The sea ice that blankets the Arctic Ocean isn’t the unbroken white mantle depicted in maps. It’s a jigsaw puzzle of restless floes that are constantly colliding, deforming, and fracturing from the force of wind and ocean currents… Warmer air above the ocean basin is projected to spill down over the surrounding coasts of Russia, Alaska, and Canada, causing feedback effects as far as 900 miles inland, including accelerated melting of the Greenland ice sheet and large emissions of carbon dioxide and methane from thawing tundra… How a rapidly warming Arctic will influence weather across the hemisphere is a bit hazier. Atmospheric scientists Jennifer Francis at Rutgers University and Steve Vavrus at the University of Wisconsin have suggested that people in the continental United States already may be feeling the effects of melting Arctic sea ice – especially in the past two winters in the east, which made "polar vortex" household words.

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