RU Researching Lab Exp. Faculty Descriptions

Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources

Rebecca Jordan

Interested in Environmental Social Science? My current and planned research focuses on understanding how people reason with scientific data.  In particular, I want to understand how people test ideas about complex observations.  To do so, we use participatory modeling, problem-solving, and survey techniques. OPEN TO ALL MAJORS, EENR PREFERRED; 1ST & 2ND YEAR STUDENTS ONLY

Malin Pinsky

Fundamentally, we are fascinated by the dynamics of marine communities, particularly at regional to global scales and including humans. We are also science geeks who want to make a difference: we use bioinformatics, statistics, SCUBA diving, mathematical models, and other tools to understand the structure and function of ocean life, then translate that information outside the scientific community to help improve stewardship of ocean life. Right now, we’re especially interested in how marine species adapt to climate change, how marine communities are assembled, how networks of larval dispersal connect populations across space, and how people affect and are affected by the changing ocean. Current projects are focused in the northeast U.S., the Philippines, the California Current, and the North American continent, but we follow interesting questions wherever they may take us. OPEN TO ALL MAJORS, EENR PREFERRED; 1ST & 2ND YEAR STUDENTS ONLY

Environmental Policy, Institution, and Behavior (EPIB)/Human Ecology

Dr. George Clark

“The Trail” -The Trail is a student-run monthly newsletter, created in 2008 to provide the Rutgers community with current environmental news, faculty highlights, and eco-friendly ideas. Our mission is to create an opportunity through which young people can hone their written voice by developing a better understanding of outstanding or historical environmental issues and topics through research and experience Through the course of this endeavor it is our hope to foster our staff's growth as writers, and also as environmentalists, with that enthusiasm also being translated to our readers. OPEN TO ALL MAJORS

Dr. Cara Cuite

Dr. Cuite is a health psychologist who studies community food security, risk communication and public perceptions of food-related issues, including food safety and genetically engineered foods. he works with Senior Nutrition Programs around the country to understand the food security, food safety, and emergency preparedness needs of homebound seniors. More recent projects have focused on how to communicate with the public about weather-related emergencies. OPEN TO ALL MAJORS

Dr. William Hallman

 Dr. Hallman's research examines public perceptions of controversial issues concerning food, health, and the environment. Recent research projects have looked at consumer perceptions and behaviors concerning genetically modified foods, animal cloning, avian influenza, accidental and intentional food contamination incidents, and food recalls. His current research projects include studies of public perceptions and responses to food safety risks, the safety of fresh meat, poultry, game, and seafood products purchased on the Internet, the use of nanotechnology in food, and public understanding of health claims made for food products. OPEN TO ALL MAJORS

Dr. Heidi Hausermann

Dr. Hausermann is a geographer advancing studies of political ecology and agrarian change. Her expertise is in land-use change, livelihoods, environmental governance, critical health geographies and mixed methods. Heidi's work explores the conditions under which landscapes change, including underlying political-economic and power dynamics. OPEN TO ALL MAJORS

Dr. Naa Oya Kwate

Dr. Kwate's research centers on social determinants of African American health. She has conducted research on racial identity, the effects of racism on health, and neighborhood resource inequalities in African American communities. Her work has been funded by the Department of Defense (Breast Cancer Research Program), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. OPEN TO ALL MAJORS

Pamela McElwee

For the past 15 years her research interests have concerned human adaptation to global environmental change, broadly defined, with particular expertise in biodiversity conservation and climate change in Asia. Her work focuses on how individuals and households respond to changes in the physical environment, and how their responses are shaped by external policies, markets and other constraints. Most of McElwee's research combines qualitative and quantitative household-level social analysis of environmental decision-making and resource use, with most of her fieldwork focusing on Vietnam. OPEN TO ALL MAJORS

Karen O’Neill

Karen M. O’Neill is a sociologist who studies how policies about land and water affect government power, the status of experts, and the well-being of various social groups. She has researched biodiversity protections in the urban plans of large cities around the world, local slow growth and pro-growth movements and policies in small towns, river flood control, and coastal storm vulnerability and hazard reduction. OPEN TO ALL MAJORS

Dr. Ethan Schoolman

Dr. Schoolman’s research centers on the environmental and social dimensions of local, regional and alternative food systems. He is currently working on several projects examining how participation in local food systems influences the farming practices and decision-making processes of specialty crop growers. OPEN TO ALL MAJORS


Judith Storch

Lipids such as fatty acids and cholesterol are involved in innumerable cellular processes, including energy storage and production, membrane biogenesis, signal transduction, and the regulation of gene expression. Nevertheless, the mechanisms by which lipids are transported and targeted within cells remain largely unknown. Abnormal lipid trafficking, such as that occurring in lipid-storage diseases, can lead to severe cellular pathologies. The overall focus of research in this laboratory is on lipid traffic in cells, with particular emphasis on long-chain fatty acids, monoacylglycerols, and cholesterol. OPEN TO ALL MAJORS

Food Science

Dr. Paul Takhistov

His research interests are in understanding the physico-chemical interactions between multiphase matrices with biotic and abiotic materials, in order to allow rational choice and manipulation of materials improving their safety and quality. His group is currently performing several research projects focused on the development of nanostructured functional materials for biodetection and advance drug delivery applications. OPEN TO ALL MAJORS

Plant Biology & Pathology

Ning Zhang

Huge gaps persist in our understanding of fungal biodiversity, evolution and function. Dr. Zhang’s goal is to contribute to resolving vital principles for the study of evolution, biodiversity and functions of Fungi, especially those that are associated with grasses. Three primary research interests that are intrinsically linked to each other: Fungal systematics and evolution; Fungal biodiversity and their functional role in the ecosystem; Development of novel molecular methods for rapid diagnosis of pathogenic fungi. OPEN TO ALL MAJORS.

Joan Bennett

The Bennett laboratory studies the genetics and physiology of filamentous fungi. In addition to mycotoxins and other secondary metabolites, research focuses on the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by fungi. These low molecular weight compounds are responsible for the familiar odors associated with the molds and mushrooms. Some VOCs function as semiochemicals for insects while others serve as developmental signals for fungi.

Brittany Graf

Thesis: "Pharmacological applications of phytoecdysteroid-enriched extract from Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.)" Botanical therapeutics are defined as health and wellness products derived from plants and delivered in the form of drugs, dietary supplements (nutraceuticals), functional foods or cosmetic ingredients. We use modern research tools, a network of national and international collaborations and major funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and industry to study phytochemicals that improve human health and well-being.