Julie M. Fagan

Julie M. Fagan.

Associate Professor
Bartlett Hall 109
Phone: 610-847-2411
Phone: 848-932-8354
Email: fagan@rutgers.edu



Research

I have redirected my focus of research from studying proteases and their inhibitors in health and disease (see examples of prior research below), to 1) the Human-Animal Bond; 2) the breakdown of food and agricultural waste and other organic feedstocks to biofuel; 3) Community engagement

1) Companion Animal Research: Areas of research interest include understanding animal emotion and the Human-Animal bond, and how companion animals improve quality of life. We are researching whether interactions with therapy dogs are beneficial to children with autism spectrum disorder and other disabilities. More specifically, we are examining 1. parents perception of their autistic child's behavior following interaction with a therapy dog in the home and in the classroom setting and 2.whether classroom canines benefit teachers and special needs school students.

2) Biomass to Biofuel: It is difficult to comprehend just how much food we throw away. At Rutgers, dining hall services generates over fifty tons of food waste per day!. In the US, food scraps alone contribute to ~15% of the total waste going into landfills; with about 30% of the waste that we produce being biomass . These organic materials could easily be diverted away from landfills and produce renewable energy and organic compost. I am involved in a) producing compressed natural gas from waste biomass using anaerobic digestion, b) examining the infrastructure development for CNG vehicles and fuels, and c) exploring the challenges and opportunities of locating anaerobic digesters in the urban fringe to convert food and animal waste from farms, grocery stores and food establishments into biomethane and high quality compost.

3) Community Engagement: Researching the transition from me to we. Beginning as a pilot project in three states (NJ, NJ, PA), community exchange networks have been launched that will seek to identify community member's skills, talents, services and products as well as their needs. The motivation and frequency by which individuals give of their time and talent and receive of others time and talent within communities will be examined and analyzed as to how it relates to a sense of connection to one's community and a sense of purposefulness and self-worth. The ultimate goal of this project is to have every county in the US have their own community-based exchange network that would promote strong and resilient communities. Incorporation of disaster preparedness functionality into the developing sharing exchange economy will be a focus that is expected to be an invaluable tool to help identify individuals that may have specific needs and those that could meet or offer assistance with those needs in times of disaster.

Education & Developing Tomorrows Leaders

Our educational system is geared toward the high achieving students that are motivated by grades to learn; enabling them to pursue their dream. A major problem with education today is that educators fail to engage the other students. The structured classroom setting leaves little room for student creativity, leadership and commitment to society. Students need to find/identify their passions and given the space and motivation to be creative. It is when students realize their potential to succeed, that they become empowered to achieve in society. My colloquium courses are structured for success by providing students with the framework to gain a thorough understanding of societal issues and then engaging them through problem-solving community service projects.

Experience

Title Location Year
Associate Professor Dept. of Animal Sciences, Rutgers University 1990
Assistant Professor Dept. of Animal Sciences, Rutgers University 1986
Postdoctoral Fellow Physiology and Biophysics
Harvard Medical School
1983
Research Assistant Biochemistry, University of Arizona 1981
Research Assistant Nutrition and Food Science, University of Arizona 1979
Research Assistant Dept. of Animal Sciences, Rutgers University 1977
Teaching Assistant Clinic for Neuromuscular Disease, University of Arizona 1975

Education

Degree Location Year
Postdoc Harvard Medical School 1986
Ph.D. University of Arizona 1983
M.S. University of Massachusetts 1977
B.A. Syracuse University 1975
A.A. Colby Sawyer College 1973