Researchers From The Four Corners of the Earth
CNR hosts visiting scientists from four continents
The College of Natural Resources is currently hosting six visiting scientists from around the world. They are spending time here to conduct research, learn new ways to address natural resource issues and experience a new culture.
Ken Cain, professor in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Sciences and associate director of U-Idaho’s Aquaculture Research Institute, is sponsoring scholars from China and Tasmania.
Jingfeng Sun will be at CNR for at least six months to research the use of immuno-stimulants in fish food to promote the health of juvenile and adult fish. In China, he is faculty in the Department of Fisheries Science at Tianjin Agricultural University in Tianjin. His research interests include pathogens in fish and shrimp, fish health and immunology. Sun, who arrived in Moscow on January 16, said he is enjoying the small-town atmosphere of Moscow.
Cain’s other faculty guest is Bikram Ghosh, who is a visiting doctoral student from the University of Tasmania. Ghosh is conducting research on the various components of the immune system in fish. He is looking for mechanisms for delivering vaccines via food with the goal of increasing our ability to deliver oral vaccines to fish. Finding effective oral delivery mechanisms for vaccines has been a “huge hurdle” for aquaculture, according to Cain.
Ghosh and his wife will be in Moscow for six months. He says his time at U-Idaho will give him an opportunity to work on things that he wouldn’t be able to research in Australia and to experience other people’s perspectives.
“Good things happen when you are outside your comfort zone,” he said.
Jo Inge Breisjoeberget, visiting from Norway, is sponsored by Kerry Reese, professor and department head of the Department of Fish and Wildlife Sciences. Breisjoeberget is the first doctoral candidate in a new program in applied ecology at Hedmark University College, Norway. He is also the head of fish and game management for Norway’s national forests. While here, he is visiting with wildlife management professionals and trying to finish a paper on the management of declining ptarmigan populations in Norway.
“Faculty members here are dealing with sage-grouse, similar to the issues I’m working with,” said Breisjoeberget. “I’m trying to see how you do it here.”
Armando McDonald, professor of biomaterials and bioproducts, is sponsoring three visiting scientists who, fittingly, can often be found in the Biomaterials Lab.
Xiaolin Zhang arrived in Moscow the same day as Jingfeng Sun. He will be here for a year conducting research on the development of renewable materials from wood and recycled plastics. Zhang is an associate professor at Xi’an University of Technology in Xi’an, China. He has been researching plastics for five years.
Mercy Ogunley arrived from Nigeria on Dec. 26th. At home she is an instructor at the Forest Research Institute and a doctoral student in the Department of Forestry and Wood Technology at the Federal University of Technology in Akure, Nigeria. While at U-Idaho, Ogunley will be conducting research using thermogravimetric analyses to examine the extractive, cellulose and lignin content of biomass samples.
She welcomed the opportunity to study with McDonald, who supervised her own supervisor in Nigeria in the past. “Armando has exposed me to so many things,” she said. “I have learned so much from him.” Once she completes her doctoral degree, Ogunley hopes to continue to do research and to teach.
Ayokunle Balogun, also from Nigeria, arrived in Moscow on Jan. 27th to conduct research into the best thermal treatment process for the production of solid, high-energy density charcoal for cooking and heating. Making charcoal from forest and agricultural residue could be one way to address desertification in Nigeria, Balogun said. He is using the resources of the Biomaterials Lab to study the thermal behavior of various materials and the compositions of various biomass samples to determine which materials could be most efficiently converted into charcoal. Ultimately, Balogun is working to find a way to transform waste materials, which can be hazardous to humans and to the environment, into beneficial resources.
Jo Inge Breisjoberget