UPCOMING EVENTS

Undergraduate International Student Orientation Program

Monday, August 27th
9:00 am
*See PDF version of program Monday, August 27 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.     College Ave Gym Program Registration and Welcome 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.     College Ave Gym Resource Fair 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.     College Ave Gym Lunch 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.     Rutgers Global Conference Room (30 College Ave) Sponsored Student Welcome 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.     Academic Building, Room 1170 Study Abroad Exchange Student Welcome BREAKOUT SESSIONS I (1:30 p.m.) 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.     Scott Hall, Room 123 Achieving Academic Success at Rutger (Mandatory- session is repeated on Wednesday, August 29) 1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.     Academic Building, Room 1230, Lab 3 Undergraduate Placement Exams (for those students who have not taken it) 1:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.     Scott Hall, Room 135Health and Wellness 1:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.     Van Dyck Hall, Room 211 Opening a Bank Account BREAKOUT SESSIONS II (2:30 p.m.) 2:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.     Milledoler Hall, Room 100 Safety on Campus 2:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.     Voorhees Hall, Room 105 Finding Off-Campus Housing BREAKOUT SESSIONS III (3:30 p.m.) 3:30 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.     Milledoler Hall, Room 100 Introduction to On-Campus Living 3:30 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.     Scott Hall, Room 135 Computing on Campus 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.     Meet in front of College Ave Student Center Bus Tour of Rutgers- New Brunswick 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.     Meet in front of College Ave Student Center Bus Tour of Rutgers- New Brunswick AFTER HOURS FUN 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.     The Yard on College Ave Welcome Dinner at the Yard on College Ave Tuesday, August 28 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.     Tillett Hall Lobby, Livingston CampusSchool of Arts and Sciences Student in Transition Advising and Registration Day (STAR Day) (Mandatory for all SAS transfer students) 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.     Academic Building, Room 1210 & 1220 Check-in SupportF-1 and J-1 students are required by U.S. immigration regulations to complete a check-in procedure at their host institutions. Please note that your record cannot be activated in the SEVIS database until this process is completed. This session is repeated daily. BREAKOUT SESSIONS I (9:30 a.m.) 9:30 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.     Milledoler Hall, Room 100 Study Abroad 101 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.     Scott Hall, Room 123 Staying in Legal Status (Mandatory session, repeated daily) 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.     College Ave Gym, Upper GymZumba (An interval-style calorie-burning dance fitness class) with Rutgers Recreation 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.     Meet in front of College Ave Student Center Bus Tour of Rutgers New Brunswick 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.    Scott Hall or College Avenue (Bus will depart from Scott Hall at 10:45am; subsequent departures will leave from 180 College Avenue and run a loop. Last departure is at 2p.m.) Social Security Office Bus for students working on campus and applying for a Social Security Number BREAKOUT SESSIONS II (11:00 a.m.) 11:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.     Scott Hall, Room 123 Paying Student Bills 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.     Milledoler Hall, Room 100 RU Ready for College? Meet current students to learn how to balance a health social and academic life 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.     Meet in front of College Ave Student Center Bus Tour of Rutgers New Brunswick 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.     Brower Commons Lunch BREAKOUT SESSIONS III (1:30 p.m.) 1:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.     Scott Hall, Room 123 Academic Integrity at Rutgers University (Mandatory- session is repeated on Thursday, August 30) BREAKOUT SESSIONS IV (2:30 p.m.) 2:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.     Scott Hall, Room 123 Student Health Insurance (Mandatory- session is repeated on Thursday, August 30) 2:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.     Scott Hall, Room 135 Safety on Campus BREAKOUT SESSIONS V (3:30 p.m.) 3:30 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.     Scott Hall, Room 135Introduction to University Career Services 3:30 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.     Van Dyck Hall, Room 211Introduction to Library and Information Services AFTER HOURS FUN 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.     Livingston Student Center, Livingston Campus Dinner at Livi! 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.     Livingston Student Center, Livingston Campus Vendor Fair 6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.     Bus departs from the front of the Livingston Student Center, Livingston Campus Shopping Trip provided by Bed Bath & Beyond 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.     Movie NightRutgers Cinema Wednesday, August 29 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.     Academic Building, Room 1210 & 1220 Check-in SupportF-1 and J-1 students are required by U.S. immigration regulations to complete a check-in procedure at their host institutions. Please note that your record cannot be activated in the SEVIS database until this process is completed. This session is repeated daily. 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.     Various Locations Undergraduate Academic Advising & Information Sessions (Please arrive on time for these academic advising sessions. Late comers will not be permitted to attend the program) School of Environmental and Biological Sciences 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.     Food Science Building, Auditorium, Cook Campus Mason Gross School of the Arts 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.     Civic Square Building, Dean's Office (33 Livingston Ave. New Brunswick, NJ) School of Arts and Sciences: First- Year Students 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.    Tillett Hall Lobby, Livingston Campus Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.     Pharmacy Building, Room 249, Busch Campus School of Engineering: First Year Students 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.     Milledoler Hall, Room 100, College Ave Campus Rutgers Business School: First- Year Students 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.    100 Rockafeller Road, Room 1095, Livingston Campus Rutgers Business School: Transfer Students 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.    100 Rockafeller Road, Room 1071, Livingston Campus 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.     Brower Commons Lunch BREAKOUT SESSIONS I (1:30 p.m.) 1:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.     Scott Hall, Room 135Students Challenging Realities and Educating Against Myths (SCREAM) Theater 1:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.     Van Dyck Hall, Room 211 Opening a Bank Account 1:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.     Milledolar Hall, Room 100 Converting Culture Shock to Cultural Enrichment BREAKOUT SESSIONS II (2:30 p.m.) 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.     Scott Hall, Room 123 Achieving Academic Success at Rutgers 2:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.     Voorhees Hall, Room 105Health and Wellness 2:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.     Scott Hall, Room 135 Finding an On-Campus Job BREAKOUT SESSIONS III (3:30 p.m.) 3:30 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.     Milledoler Hall, Room 100Student Legal Services 3:30 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.     Van Dyck Hall, Room 211 Getting Around: Public Transportation in New Jersey 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.     Voorhees Hall, Room 105 International Friendship Program (IFP) AFTER HOURS FUN 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.     College Ave Student Center, College Ave Campus All American Pizza Party! 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.     Bus departs from the front of the College Ave Student Center, College Ave Campus Shopping Trip provided by Bed Bath & Beyond Thursday, August 30 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.     Trip to New York City Check your orientation folders for ticket sales information 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.     Trip to Philadelphia Check your orientation folders for ticket sales information 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.     Academic Building, Room 1210 & 1220 Check-in SupportF-1 and J-1 students are required by U.S. immigration regulations to complete a check-in procedure at their host institutions. Please note that your record cannot be activated in the SEVIS database until this process is completed. This session is repeated daily. 9:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.     Easton Auditorium, Fiber Optics Building, Busch Campus School of Engineering Transfer Student Advising Session 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.     Academic Building, Room 2160 Staying in Legal Status (Mandatory session, repeated daily) 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.     Walking Tours of Individual Campuses College Avenue Campus: Meet in front of the College Ave Student Center Busch Campus: Meet in front of the Busch Student Center Livingston Campus: Meet in front of the Livingston Student Center Cook/Douglass: Meet in front of the Douglass Student Center 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.    180 College Avenue (Bus will depart from 180 College Avenue and run on a loop; last departure is at 2pm) Social Security Office Bus for students working on campus and applying for a Social Security Number 11:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.     Academic Building, Room 2125 Student Health Insurance 2:00 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.     Academic Building, Room 2125 Academic Integrity at Rutgers University 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.     Voorhees Mall, College Ave Campus Ice Cream Social! Friday, August 31 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.     Academic Building, Room 1210 & 1220 Check-in SupportF-1 and J-1 students are required by U.S. immigration regulations to complete a check-in procedure at their host institutions. Please note that your record cannot be activated in the SEVIS database until this process is completed. 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.     Milledoler Hall, Room 100 Staying in Legal Status (Mandatory session) 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.     Meet in front of 180 College Ave Downtown New Brunswick Walking Tour 11:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.     College Ave Gym, Upper GymCXWORX (total body strength workout) with Rutgers Recreation 1:00 p.m.     Bauer Track and Field Complex, Livingston Campus Field Hockey Game: Rutgers vs. Hofstra University 6:00 p.m.     Rutgers Athletic Center, Livingston CampusNew Student Convocation

Graduate International Student Orientation Program

Monday, August 27th
9:00 am
*See PDF version of program Monday, August 27 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.     College Ave Gym Program Registration and Welcome 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.     College Ave Gym Resource Fair 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.     College Ave Gym Lunch 12:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.   Special Training for TAs and PTLs Who Will Teach a Language Other than English Academic Building, Room 5190 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.   School of Graduate Studies Orientation & Staying in Legal Status (for TAs, GAs, and Fellows ONLY) College Ave Student Center, Multipurpose Room BREAKOUT SESSIONS I (1:30 p.m.) 1:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.     Scott Hall, Room 135Health and Wellness 1:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.     Van Dyck Hall, Room 211 Opening a Bank Account 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.     Rutgers Global Conference Room (30 College Ave) Sponsored Student Welcome BREAKOUT SESSIONS II (2:30 p.m.) 2:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.     Milledoler Hall, Room 100 Safety on Campus 2:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.     Voorhees Hall, Room 105 Finding Off-Campus Housing BREAKOUT SESSIONS III (3:30 p.m.) 3:30 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.     Milledoler Hall, Room 100 Introduction to On-Campus Living 3:30 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.     Scott Hall, Room 135 Computing on Campus 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.     Meet in front of College Ave Student Center Bus Tour of Rutgers- New Brunswick 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.     Meet in front of College Ave Student Center Bus Tour of Rutgers- New Brunswick AFTER HOURS FUN 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.     The Yard on College Ave Welcome Dinner at the Yard on College Ave Tuesday, August 28 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.     Academic Building, Room 1210 & 1220 Check-in SupportF-1 and J-1 students are required by U.S. immigration regulations to complete a check-in procedure at their host institutions. Please note that your record cannot be activated in the SEVIS database until this process is completed. This session is repeated daily. 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.     College Ave Student Center, Multipurpose Room School of Graduate Studies Orientation BREAKOUT SESSIONS I (9:30 a.m.) 9:30 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.     Milledoler Hall, Room 100 Study Abroad 101 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.     Scott Hall, Room 123 Staying in Legal Status (Mandatory session, repeated daily) 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.     College Ave Gym, Upper GymZumba (An interval-style calorie-burning dance fitness class) with Rutgers Recreation 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.     Meet in front of College Ave Student Center Bus Tour of Rutgers New Brunswick 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.    Scott Hall or College Avenue (Bus will depart from Scott Hall at 10:45am; subsequent departures will leave from 180 College Avenue and run a loop. Last departure is at 2p.m.) Social Security Office Bus for students working on campus and applying for a Social Security Number BREAKOUT SESSIONS II (11:00 a.m.) 11:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.     Scott Hall, Room 123 Paying Student Bills 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.     Van Dyck Hall, Room 211 Graduate Student Panel Meet current students to learn how to balance a health social and academic life 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.     Meet in front of College Ave Student Center Bus Tour of Rutgers New Brunswick 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.     Brower Commons Lunch BREAKOUT SESSIONS III (1:30 p.m.) 1:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.     Scott Hall, Room 135 Academic Integrity for Graduate Students (Mandatory- session is repeated on Thursday, August 30) BREAKOUT SESSIONS IV (2:30 p.m.) 2:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.     Scott Hall, Room 123 (General Session for all Students)                                       Milledoler Hall, Room 100 (TAs, GAs, Fellows, and Post Docs ONLY)  Student Health Insurance (Mandatory- session is repeated on Thursday, August 30) 2:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.     Scott Hall, Room 135 Safety on Campus BREAKOUT SESSIONS V (3:30 p.m.) 3:30 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.     Scott Hall, Room 135Introduction to University Career Services 3:30 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.     Van Dyck Hall, Room 211Introduction to Library and Information Services AFTER HOURS FUN 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.     Livingston Student Center, Livingston Campus Dinner at Livi! 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.     Livingston Student Center, Livingston Campus Vendor Fair 6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.     Bus departs from the front of the Livingston Student Center, Livingston Campus Shopping Trip provided by Bed Bath & Beyond 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.     Movie NightRutgers Cinema Wednesday, August 29 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.     College Ave Student Center, Multipurpose Room TA Orientation 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.     Academic Building, Room 1210 & 1220 Check-in SupportF-1 and J-1 students are required by U.S. immigration regulations to complete a check-in procedure at their host institutions. Please note that your record cannot be activated in the SEVIS database until this process is completed. This session is repeated daily. BREAKOUT SESSIONS I (9:30 a.m.) 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.     Scott Hall, Room 123 Staying in Legal Status (Mandatory session, repeated daily) 9:30 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.     Academic Building, Room 1170 Understanding the American Classroom- Academic norms, expectations, responsibilities, and resources in the American classroom BREAKOUT SESSIONS II (11:00 a.m.) 11:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.     Scott Hall, Room 135Students Challenging Realities and Educating Against Myths (SCREAM) Theater Mandatory session 11:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.     Van Dyck Hall, Room 211 Introduction to Library and Information Services 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.     Brower Commons Lunch BREAKOUT SESSIONS III (1:30 p.m.) 1:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.     Van Dyck Hall, Room 211 Opening a Bank Account 1:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.     Milledolar Hall, Room 100 Converting Culture Shock to Cultural Enrichment BREAKOUT SESSIONS IV (2:30 p.m.) 2:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.     Voorhees Hall, Room 105Health and Wellness 2:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.     Scott Hall, Room 135 Finding an On-Campus Job BREAKOUT SESSIONS V (3:30 p.m.) 3:30 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.     Milledoler Hall, Room 100Student Legal Services 3:30 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.     Van Dyck Hall, Room 211 Getting Around: Public Transportation in New Jersey 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.     Voorhees Hall, Room 105 International Friendship Program (IFP) AFTER HOURS FUN 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.     College Ave Student Center, College Ave Campus All American Pizza Party! 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.     Bus departs from the front of the College Ave Student Center, College Ave Campus Shopping Trip provided by Bed Bath & Beyond Thursday, August 30 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.     College Ave Student Center, Multipurpose Room TA Orientation 8:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.     Trip to New York City Check your orientation folders for ticket sales information 8:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.     Trip to Philadelphia Check your orientation folders for ticket sales information 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.     Academic Building, Room 1210 & 1220 Check-in SupportF-1 and J-1 students are required by U.S. immigration regulations to complete a check-in procedure at their host institutions. Please note that your record cannot be activated in the SEVIS database until this process is completed. This session is repeated daily. 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.     Academic Building, Room 2160 Staying in Legal Status (Mandatory session, repeated daily) 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.     Walking Tours of Individual Campuses College Avenue Campus: Meet in front of the College Ave Student Center Busch Campus: Meet in front of the Busch Student Center Livingston Campus: Meet in front of the Livingston Student Center Cook/Douglass: Meet in front of the Douglass Student Center 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.    180 College Avenue (Bus will depart from 180 College Avenue and run on a loop; last departure is at 2pm) Social Security Office Bus for students working on campus and applying for a Social Security Number 11:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.     Academic Building, Room 2125 (General Session for all Students)                                          Academic Building, Room 1170 (TAs, GAs, Fellows, and Post Docs ONLY)  Student Health Insurance 2:00 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.     Academic Building, Room 2160 Academic Integrity for Graduate Students 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.     Voorhees Mall, College Ave Campus Ice Cream Social! Friday, August 31 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.     Academic Building, Room 1210 & 1220 Check-in SupportF-1 and J-1 students are required by U.S. immigration regulations to complete a check-in procedure at their host institutions. Please note that your record cannot be activated in the SEVIS database until this process is completed. 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.     Milledoler Hall, Room 100 Staying in Legal Status (Mandatory session) 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.     College Ave Gym, Upper GymBody Flow (Blend of Yoga, Tai Chi, and Pilates) with Rutgers Recreation 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.     Meet in front of 180 College Ave Downtown New Brunswick Walking Tour 11:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.     College Ave Gym, Upper GymCXWORX (total body strength workout) with Rutgers Recreation 1:00 p.m.     Bauer Track and Field Complex, Livingston Campus Field Hockey Game: Rutgers vs. Hofstra University 6:00 p.m.     Rutgers Athletic Center, Livingston CampusNew Student Convocation

IN THE NEWS

The Time Machine

Monday, April 2nd
Rutgers students and faculty can experience a virtual reality of ancient Petra at the Aresty Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 27. If you’ve ever wanted to stroll the streets of Petra, Jordan, when Marcus Aurelius ruled the Roman Empire, you’re in luck. Using maps, archeological data, and other scholarly and historical evidence, Sarolta Takács, history professor and director of the Modern Greek Studies Program at the School of Arts and Sciences, and a multidisciplinary team of students are building a virtual reality where users can literally experience a city annexed by one of the world’s largest empires in history. “Where do you go to exchange money? Where do you shop? Where do you bring your camel to drink water?” Takács said. “Those are the questions we will answer.” Though Petra is “very arid now,” Takács said, the city in the second century C.E. was “like an oasis,” and one of the things students can learn through her virtual reality is how water was redirected into cisterns and used for a variety of purposes. Eventually, Takács envisions using virtual reality to outline Petra’s role in a complex network of trade routes that brought spices, silk, and other luxury items from China and India to Rome. As technology evolves, so will the project, Takács says, estimating that it could take about a decade before the project’s completion. Now in its third year of development, Takács has worked closely with her history students—and computer science students—to visualize and program the virtual reality. Faith Hoatson is a French literature and medieval studies student working closely with Takács to research information, particularly visuals, to create the virtual reality.   “Throughout this process, I was almost amazed to discover how little we know about Petra. This is a civilization that flourished as a key trade city, with enough importance to be annexed by Rome,” she said.   Hoatson is working with computer science students Odalis Arias, Aviv Khavich, and Anuraag Shankar, who have joined the effort thanks to the Aresty Research Center, a division of Rutgers Undergraduate Academic Affairs that provides hands-on research and learning experiences for undergraduates.  “The Aresty program has been amazing,” said Takács. “This is a major undertaking—and it’s a challenge,” adding that setbacks such as a corrupted drive and data loss have slowed the project, but the students have helped to get it back to speed by moving the program materials to the cloud. The marriage of scholastic creativity to the technology that brings the virtual reality to life comes through a gaming engine aptly named “Unity.” Shankar says Unity—the same gaming engine used for popular games such as Angry Birds 2—allows programmers to import 3D models as objects that can be manipulated to create a scene; however, it’s not as simple as copying some files to create the scene. “In order to create the virtual map, we use data from textbooks and research other teams. Then, we use Blender—a 3D creation suite—to create different models for the buildings in Unity. Finally, those models are placed on the virtual map in Unity,” Shankar said. Together, the students are creating an animated guide—using a narrative written by Hoatson—that directs users through the virtual reality to provide useful information about the structures they see. To create the guide, Shankar says that they are using the C# programming language, a standard source code that allows objects to display multiple characteristics.   The project doesn’t end just because the semester does. Takács is seeking to take on a new group of Aresty undergraduates in the fall to continue the programming and implementation of the project. She says that the team is looking to continue using Blender in the next iteration of the program. Students and faculty who wish to experience the virtual reality of ancient Petra can do so at the Rutgers Aresty Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 27, 2018, at the Livingston Student Center. Takács says she hopes that the symposium will encourage more students to join the project. “We are currently looking for programmers and graphic designers skilled in Blender to join the project,” Takács said. Interested volunteers can contact her at stakacs@global.rutgers.edu.

Serendipitous Science

Friday, March 23rd
Daniel Shain, Rutgers University–Camden biology professor and chair, outlines his 25-year quest to find and understand death-defying qualities in animal life. How does a quick stop at a diner turn into a new understanding of organisms that can survive extreme cold and heat? Daniel Shain, Rutgers–Camden professor and chair of biology, has spent much of his career studying annelids—or worms. Twenty-five years ago, Shain joined his father on a trip to Alaska; when they stopped for lunch one day, he saw an ad on a placemat for a tourist attraction claiming to house worms in glacier ice. “I thought it was a joke—kind of like when you hear about ‘jackalopes’ in the Southwest,” he said. He said most animal life in these environments live in aquatic microenvironments, or small droplets or pools of water that sit on the surface of glaciers. These pools of water provide many nutrients and forgiving living conditions; the compacted insides of glaciers do not. On a whim, Shain visited the tourist center to investigate the ad’s claims. To his surprise, the advertised exhibit actually displayed “thin, thread-like” worms thriving in a glacial encasement. As a result, glacier ice worms became a “major focus” of Shain’s work. He received a grant from National Geographic to spend a summer in Alaska—and later, in Canada and Tibet—to look for these worms. Eventually, he found himself in the "Land of Fire and Ice," thanks in part to an international collaborative research grant from Rutgers Global and a Fulbright Scholar Program grant. “I ended up in Iceland looking for animal life—looking for anything that lives in a glacier,” he said, describing a multidisciplinary collaboration with colleagues at the University of Iceland that fueled the research. “At first, I was not really expecting to find worms, but it was a possibility. And in the process of that research, I stumbled across something else.” That “something else” came in the form of two species of bdelloid rotifers, a class of microscopic animals commonly found in freshwater lakes, rivers, and streams—but not inside hard-packed glacier ice.   “Most animals have a few hundred types of cells to worry about. It’s not like bacteria or other single-celled organisms that only have one cell to worry about in surviving,” he said. “To get all these cells to adapt at the same time is much harder, so few multicellular animals like rotifers are found in extreme hot or extreme cold environments.” Perhaps most perplexing about their discovery is the fact that bdelloid rotifers are asexual, eliminating the possibility of genetic variations that could have aided the evolution of these commonly aquatic, mild-climate creatures into cold-tolerant beings. “Asexual reproduction is generally considered an evolutionary dead end,” said Shain. Instead, rotifers can evolve through a process called “horizontal gene transfer,” where an individual can absorb the genetic qualities of its food or other type of transferring agent. In this case, the species of bdelloid rotifers found in ice were thought to have feasted on bacteria and algae—single-celled organisms that can withstand extreme temperatures. “They’re sort of famous for stealing DNA from other species that they eat,” he said. “We’ve also found a related species of bdelloid rotifers in hot springs, as well.” Shain continues to collaborate with University of Iceland evolutionary computational biologist Einar Arnason to examine the rotifers’ DNA sequence and pinpoint which parts of the genome have changed to facilitate their adaptation to ice. The team is also studying ice worms found in the field. In examining collected species of ice worms, they found that they actually expended energy—instead of storing it—while thriving in extreme environments.    “It’s something a signature of cold adaption—you have to figure out a way to make a lot more energy. So, we’ve biochemically dissected and identified the key enzymes that are different, and we can try to recreate the same property in other organisms and make them cold-tolerant.”   The team is attempting to engineer a fruit fly with the enzyme to see if it can also withstand cold temperatures, and, Shain says, this genetic modification could potentially make use of land considered too cold and barren for farming and agriculture. “We’ve successfully germinated a lab plant in ice conditions,” he said. The possibilities don’t end there. The enzyme that could make plants and insects cold-tolerant could also serve as a possible treatment for humans with energy-deficient diseases like Leigh’s Disease, a progressive and sometimes fatal condition that causes paralysis and impaired cognitive and organ function. He credits thinking beyond borders for these potential innovations. “It’s important in science to include lesser studied organisms. When you pursue these somewhat unusual, outlier organisms, you’ll find they have a lot to offer,” Shain said Shain plans to connect with colleagues in places like Iceland and Poland to look at glaciers in Greenland, Norway, Scandinavia, Uganda, and Ecuador, as well as hot springs in New Zealand, to see what discoveries these areas could yield. “International research is equivalent to combining two disciplines—when you combine fields, you get something you wouldn’t be able to get if you pursued each independently. When you collaborate with international colleagues, it opens doors and ideas and opportunities.”    

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I added a video to a @YouTube playlist https://t.co/SRm2h7TBo0 Rutgers Global–Study Abroad Tutorial 4: Staying Involved After Study