Fellowship for Outstanding Early Career Scientists Awarded to Rutgers Bioinformaticist Yana Bromberg

Yana Bromberg

Yana Bromberg

How can you tell one microbial species from another? One way is to compare species functional abilities encoded in microbial DNA. To do so experimentally, that is to design and carry out bench experiments to establish the molecular functions of every gene in every microbial genome, is not feasible. Bioinformatics, an interdisciplinary field that combines computer science and biology, enables this kind of biologically relevant analyses in silico, i.e. using computational models.

Beginning this summer, Yana Bromberg, assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Biochemistry, will start research to address this question at the Institute for Advanced Study at the Technical University of Munich (TUM-IAS) in Germany, under a TUM-IAS Hans Fischer Fellowship for outstanding early-career scientists. This three-year fellowship supports a Ph.D.-level graduate student to work under Bromberg’s supervision. It also provides financial support that will allow Bromberg to spend time at TUM-IAS refining and developing advanced bioinformatics techniques useful in medical research and industrial applications. [Read more...]

Alumni Story: Andrea Cochran’s Journey from Art to ‘Artist of the Land’

Andrea Cochran

Andrea Cochran

Editor’s Note: In this series of alumni accounts prepared by the Office of Alumni and Community Engagement, a thread that binds them is the recurring reference to the enormous transformational impact our students have experienced during their days at Rutgers. This is one of those stories.

It is June 2014. The year is just half over, and Andrea Cochran (CC ’76) already has received two very important honors for her work as a landscape architect: a 2014 National Design Award, conferred by the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, and a 2014 Design Medal from the American Society of Landscape Architects. [Read more...]

Food Safety in China Still Faces Big Hurdles

China has been scrambling to right its gargantuan processed-food ship ever since six infants died and thousands more were hospitalized with kidney damage in 2008 from milk adulterated with an industrial chemical. But as the latest scandal involving spoiled meat in fast-food shows, the attempted transformation over the last six years has run up against the country’s centuries-old and sprawling food supply chain…"The way I keep explaining China to people is that it’s kind of like the U.S. in the time of Upton Sinclair and ‘The Jungle,’"; said Don Schaffner, a professor of food microbiology at Rutgers University and president of the International Association for Food Protection, referring to the 1906 novel that described unsanitary conditions in the meatpacking industry and inspired reform. "There is tremendous desire by the Chinese to get it right, but they have a long way to go."

Read the entire article at NYTimes.com »

Professor Emeritus Bernard L. Pollack (1920 – 2014), Breeder of ‘Ramapo’ Tomato

Bernie Pollack on a visit to Cook Campus in 2008. Photo by Jack Rabin

Bernie Pollack on a visit to Cook Campus in 2008. Photo by Jack Rabin

Professor Emeritus of Plant Breeding and Genetics Bernard “Bernie” Pollack passed away on July 14, at the age of 94. Pollack joined Rutgers in 1960 as faculty in the Department of Horticulture and Forestry and retired in 1985. While his work in vegetable breeding extended to eggplant, pepper and tomatoes, Pollack is most renowned for his development of the Ramapo tomato, which offered New Jersey fresh market growers in the 1960s a tomato with quality, disease and crack resistance, and durability. Since the popularity of this tomato never waned despite its disappearance from the market, Pollack kept working during his retirement, assisting NJAES in bringing this variety back to market.

During the 1970s Pollack worked extensively with New Jersey growers conducting vegetable variety trials and implementing trickle irrigation and plasticulture systems. Working with USAID and the Peace Corps, he traveled throughout Africa to further the development of trickle irrigation in African agriculture. During his travels, he collected eggplant germplasm and created one of the most extensive collections, containing 536 eggplant varieties. Pollack worked on assessing exotic eggplant germplasm to develop valuable new traits for worldwide agriculture. [Read more...]

Death of Barnegat Bay can be reversed, Rutgers prof tells state lawmakers

For at least two decades, scientists have known that Barnegat Bay is dying and that an overabundance of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus is what’s killing it. But what they haven’t known is how much of those nutrients the bay can accept without continuing that downward spiral. But a Rutgers University professor told a state legislative panel on Monday that he helped determine those limits and he urged lawmakers to take action on them to save the popular recreational and commercial waterway. "We have a lot of confidence in what we’ve done," Michael Kennish, professor of estuarine and marine ecology at Rutgers University told a joint meeting of Senate and Assembly environmental committees today in Toms River.

Read the entire article at NJ.com »