Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Rutgers archGIBEX is a world leader in the area of biodiversity, bio-exploration, conservation ecology and natural products exploration. Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) is home to most of the bio-exploration-related activities at Rutgers University. Scientists at SEBS are involved in internationally renowned biodiversity/bio-exploration programs in Asia, Africa, Australia, North and South Americas, Europe and in the world’s oceans. These programs, mostly funded by federal grants, provide close to $4 million annually to Rutgers. For example, the International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups (ICBG) jointly funded by NIH, NSF and USDA operates in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan and involves six research groups at SEBS and at least 40 scientists in Central Asia. Other examples include the recently established GIBEX-Africa: a partnership between Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda; the Chilean Institute for Botanical Therapeutics (CIBOT) and the Caribbean Institute for Bio-Exploration (CARIBEX). The high-visibility New Use Agriculture and Natural Plant Products (NUANPP) program at Rutgers has a major impact in four African countries. SEBS faculty play a leadership role in two out of the five existing NIH-funded Botanical Research Centers.

The D.E. Fairbrothers Plant Resources Center (FPRC), designed to maintain and expand Rutgers University Chrysler Herbarium, Mycological Museum, and Plant Extract Library and conduct international botanical research and education is another important initiative associated with GIBEX. GIBEX has links to the extensive collections of the Rutgers University Entomological Museum and Deep-Sea Vent Collection. SEBS scientists involved in bio-discovery programs closely interact with pharmaceutical, food and specialty chemical companies in New Jersey and throughout the world. Over 50 members of Rutgers’ faculty, involved in the biodiversity, bio-exploration and conservation ecology research programs have links to GIBEX.

Most of the existing biodiversity and bio-exploration activities on the Rutgers campus focus on plant and microbial biodiversity as sources of pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals. GIBEX’s international bio-exploration programs promote economic development and environmental conservation and are structured to equitably share all commercialization benefits with the partner institutions and communities surrounding the bio-exploration venues.

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