Tropical Plant Called Moringa Shows Promise in Health, Anti-Aging Products

Prof. Ilya Raskin holds moringa seeds. Photo courtesy of Ilya Raskin.

Prof. Ilya Raskin holds moringa seeds. Photo courtesy of Ilya Raskin.

Ilya Raskin, distinguished professor in the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, and his lab study the health benefits of crops and medicinal plants around the world, including the tropical plant, Moringa oleifera, also known as the horseradish tree, which is showing promise in helping revitalize aging skin. Raskin and his team are researching healthful compounds in plants around the world in an effort to find cures and treatments for ailments afflicting hundreds of millions of people. Read more at Rutgers Today.

Marine Ecologist Malin Pinsky Pens Op-Ed to Mark Earth Day

Malin Pinsky.

Malin Pinsky.

To mark Earth Day on April 22, Malin Pinsky, marine ecologist in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources and an affiliate of the Rutgers Climate Institute, penned an op-ed for Dow Jones & Company website, MarketWatch. He writes, “If we continue on our current path of carbon emissions, we can expect ocean warming to accelerate, with temperatures rising twice as much in the next 40 years as they did in the past 140, further disrupting ocean life and the people who rely on it.” Read more of Malin Pinsky’s op-ed here.

4-H Salutes New Jersey Volunteers During National Volunteer Week

Monmouth County 4-H Volunteer.

4-H volunteer at the Monmouth County fair.

Each year, thousands of volunteers in New Jersey donate their time and energy to make their communities a better place to live. These volunteers will be among the millions across the country who will be spotlighted during National Volunteer Week, April 10-16, 2016.

One group that relies heavily on volunteers is the New Jersey 4-H Youth Development Program. Over 2,500 adult volunteers have served as club leaders, project leaders, resource leaders and judges throughout New Jersey during the past year.

“Volunteers are the backbone of the 4-H program. They provide the guidance and support that helps 4-H boys and girls in grades K-13 (one year out of high school) develop confidence and valuable life skills, says Jeannette Rea Keywood, State 4-H Agent, Department of 4-H Youth Development. [Read more…]

Nutrition Professor Publishes Book on Mediterranean Diet Pioneers, Ancel and Margaret Keys

Joseph Dixon book coverJoseph Dixon, associate professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, has self-published a new book, Genius and Partnership: Ancel and Margaret Keys and the Discovery of the Mediterranean Diet.

The book centers on physiologist Ancel Keys and his wife and co-researcher Margaret Keys, a biochemist, as they scour the world for clues to the causes of heart attacks that were killing American men at an alarming rate in the 1950s. Their journey leads to the start of the groundbreaking Seven Countries Study and contributions to the discovery of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). It also led to their writing three New York Times best-selling cookbooks that promoted the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet. [Read more…]

New Study on the Relationship Between Climate Change and Disease Vectors

L-R: Nina Fefferman, Andrea Egizi and Dina Fonseca.

L-R: Nina Fefferman, Andrea Egizi and Dina Fonseca.

Research findings using an invasive mosquito species and published in a joint paper authored by Andrea Egizi, a graduate of the Rutgers’ ecology and evolution doctoral program, Nina Fefferman, associate professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources and Dina Fonseca, professor in the Department of Entomology, underscore how hard it is to predict  future risk from disease transmission in the face of climate change. Read more at Rutgers Today.

Jim Murphy Elected 2014 Fellow of Crop Science Society of America

Jim Murphy.

Jim Murphy.

Jim Murphy, extension specialist in turfgrass management, was named a Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) Fellow for 2014, the highest recognition bestowed by the society. Murphy and 11 other fellows were recognized by the international science organization at its Nov. 3 annual meeting in Long Beach, CA.

CSSA fellows, who make up just 0.3 percent of the society membership, are elected based on professional achievements and meritorious service, as well as outstanding contributions to agronomy through education, national and international service and research. [Read more…]

Ph.D. Candidate in Ecology and Evolution Earns Competitive EPA STAR Fellowship

Molly MacLeod presenting her research at the Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course at the Snyder Farm, in Pittstown, NJ, in 2012.

Molly MacLeod presenting her research at the Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course at the Snyder Farm, in Pittstown, NJ, in 2012.

Molly MacLeod, Ph.D. candidate in ecology and evolution in Prof. Rachael Winfree’s pollination ecology lab, has been awarded a two-year U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science to Achieve Results (STAR) graduate fellowship.

MacLeod’s research is focused on a four-year field experiment to explore questions about plant-pollinator networks and the restoration of both crop-pollinating and rare bee species.

Approximately 1,500 STAR fellowships have been awarded to students in every state and most territories since the program began in 1995. The EPA STAR graduate fellowship is a highly competitive program that supports master’s and doctoral candidates in environmental studies.

According to its website, “students can pursue degrees in traditionally recognized environmental disciplines as well as other fields such as social anthropology, urban and regional planning, and decision sciences.”  The fellowships have helped to “educate new academic researchers, government scientists, science teachers and environmental engineers.”

Rutgers Alumnus (GSNB ’12) Named Executive Director of U.S. Botanic Garden

Ari Novy, GSNB '12, is a plant biologist.

Ari Novy, GSNB ’12, is a plant biologist.

The Architect of the Capitol, the unit that administers the United States Botanic Garden, announced last week the appointment of Ari Novy, Ph.D., as executive director of the Garden.

Novy’s connection with Rutgers goes back to 2006 when he began working as a graduate research fellow. He received his doctorate in 2012 from the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences’ Department of Plant Biology and Pathology. His dissertation director was Jean Marie Hartman of the Department of Landscape Architecture, where he also served as a teaching assistant.

In his new position, Novy is responsible for leading and planning day-to-day operations and major programs at the U.S. Botanic Gardens. [Read more…]

Rutgers LA Students Help Design New Property for HomeFront Center Serving Central Jersey Homeless

NJ Chap ASLA 1

L-R: NJASLA Rutgers student chapter members Jack Peters, Mark Lacey, Gwen Heerschap, Teddy Aretakis and Chris Perez work diligently on their group concept drawing for the HomeFront property. Students based their concept design on a “wish list” articulated by the organization.

In March, the Rutgers Student Chapter of the New Jersey American Society of Landscape Architects (NJASLA) held a Design Charette—an intense period of design or planning activity—to come up with conceptual drawings for a new location of a family support center run by HomeFront, a non-profit organization located in Mercer County, whose mission is to end homelessness in Central New Jersey.

To facilitate its growing services for Central Jersey residents, HomeFront plans to move its “Family Preservation Center” to a new location in Ewing Township, an 8.24-acre property with several buildings that it purchased from the U.S. Navy.

The Rutgers student chapter of the NJASLA became involved in the design project after HomeFront approached the Executive Committee of the NJASLA, a national organization of landscape architects, for its help in designing the newly acquired property. The NJASLA deployed its Community Assistance Team, which met with representatives of HomeFront to learn of its priorities and plans for the property. [Read more…]

Research Professor Michael Kennish is Lead Editor of Special Supplement to Journal “Estuaries and Coasts”

Estuaries & Coasts Journal coverlargeA special issue of the journal Estuaries and Coasts, published in March 2014 by the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation, is a seminal work on coastal ecosystems in the U.S. In this issue, research professor Michael Kennish of the Rutgers Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, serves as the lead editor and a contributing author. Estuaries and Coasts is one of the leading coastal publications in the world.

According to Kennish, this special issue features significant state-of-the-art research by many of the top estuarine and coastal scientists in the U.S. on the natural and man-made drivers of change in shallow coastal systems. [Read more…]