Alumni stories

periodiCALS, Vol. 8, Issue 1, 2018

Alumnus named one of Africa’s most influential women 

Bostwana-based firm honored for fostering food security

Michelle Adelman ’89, center, with employees of the Botswana-based company Go Fresh! Photo: Provided.

After 22 years in New York City, Michelle Adelman ’89 decided to quit climbing the corporate ladder and found her own investment firm—in Botswana.  

An eye-opening safari to southern Africa made Adelman realize that her business skills could help provide jobs for Africa’s expanding youth population, fill gaps in supply chains and help consumers meet basic needs for food, housing and energy.

In the 6 years since she moved to Africa, Adelman’s firm, Accite, has helped build 14,800 square feet of greenhouses, created 100 new entry-level jobs and introduced hydroponic animal feed and plant-based protein food technology to the southern Africa region. 

Her work was recognized by CEO Global, which named her Africa’s “Most Influential Woman – Business and Professional Services” for 2017. Adelman serves on the CALS Advisory Council, and on the board of directors of the Travel for Impact Fund, Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation and the Botswana Human Resource Development Council.

Land gift expands old-growth forest natural area

More than 100 acres of pre-European settlement forest now preserved

David K. Bandler ‘55, MPS ‘71 in the Fischer Old-Growth Forest Natural Area. Photo: Jay Potter.

Cornell Botanic Gardens has expanded the Fischer Old-Growth Forest Natural Area in the town of Newfield, New York, with a gift of 42 acres from Lenore and David K. Bandler ‘55, MPS ‘71, professor emeritus in the Department of Food Science.

The parcel will be known as the Bandler Family Forest Tract. With the gift, the natural area now preserves more than 100 acres, with almost 30 acres of old-growth forest.

The land is one of the few remaining examples of pre-European settlement forests in the region. The preserve protects a broad variety of habitat types, allowing visitors to understand and study the influences that past land use has had on plant communities and natural plant succession. 

The new parcel is the second gift from the Bandler family to enhance the natural area, following a donation of more than 17 acres in 2016.

“When we saw how the Fischer Old-Growth Forest was used to enhance teaching, research and the pleasure of hikers in the Cornell community, we knew that our adjoining land should one day become part of that treasure,” said David Bandler. “We have enjoyed this beautiful forest for the past 57 years, and it’s time for it to be forever preserved for future generations.”

Mann Award funds research for HIV’s Achilles’ heel

Recognizing the next generation of biochemical, molecular and cell biologists

The scientific struggle against viral scourges includes training cells to recognize invaders before they strike and preventing viruses from entering cells during the early stages of an infection.

But what if, having invaded a cell, the viruses couldn’t get back out? If the cell membrane could be coaxed into preventing further infection to the host body?

Yi Wen, a fifth-year doctoral student, is exploring that radical concept. Her innovative approach earned her the 2018 Harry and Samuel Mann Outstanding Graduate Student Award.

Established in 2012 by Thomas Mann ’64 and Diann Mann ’66, and Cornell parents Jeanne (Mann) Newman and Gary Newman, the annual award recognizes the next generation of biochemical, molecular and cell biologists. The award honors Harry and Samuel Mann, the children of Russian immigrants and some of the earliest commercial suppliers of biochemicals for life science research.  

Since its inception, the award has funded research into health problems like neurodegenerative diseases and the bacteria that cause Legionnaire’s disease, as well as fundamental research into cell biology. 

“We hope this award will continue to help enable stunning, elegant research such as that of Yi Wen that will allow all of our societies to benefit from the understanding of science,” said Thomas Mann, Samuel’s son.