Purdue Agriculture InFocus

March 2022

Purdue Ag People
Purdue Ag in the News
Dates and Deadlines
University News
Purdue Next Moves Updates
From the Dean 

Engaging with the World

Earlier this month, we had a new first since the pandemic started more than two years ago. College of Agriculture faculty and staff led seven groups with 125 students on study abroad programs to places like Ireland, Costa Rica, and even Hawaii – our first study away trip rather than abroad – to re-engage with agriculture, food systems, nature and more around the world. Our college made up 45 percent of the students participating in Purdue spring break study abroad programs this year.

All were vaccinated before traveling and tested before returning to the U.S. They came back with new experiences, new friendships, new knowledge, and an appreciation for what the world has to offer. We have included a couple of photos for those of us who stayed behind!  

Study Abroad Groups 2022

Student opportunities will continue this summer, including a six-week undergraduate program at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines funded by the National Science Foundation. Hosted by Dr. Diane Wang and Gary Burniske, it is an opportunity for students to work with IRRI scientists and engage in rice research.

Solving Global Challenges

Our faculty continue to have a global impact. As you enjoy your next cup of coffee, work being done at Purdue will ensure you are able to enjoy that coffee well into the future. Coffee plants around the world are experiencing extensive damage from a fungal pathogen called coffee rust, which reached Hawaii for the first time in 2020. Dr. Catherine Aime is working to sequence the coffee leaf rust genome with the goal of developing cultivars resistant to the fungi.  

Dr. Paul Ebner has developed a tool to help farmers assess and change their biosecurity practices to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever which has reached the Dominican Republic. At the same time, Dr. Mohit Verma and a team of researchers are developing a rapid test to detect African Swine Fever on the farm.  

Drs. Tesfaye Mengiste, Damon Lisch and Gebisa Ejeta recently discovered a gene that confers broad protection from anthracnose, rust and target spot in sorghum. This research continues the legacy Purdue began many years ago to enhance sorghum used as a food source in many developing countries. For context, Dr. Ejeta won the World Food Prize in 2009 (the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for Agriculture) for his work that brought many out of poverty by developing sorghum that is resistant to a parasitic weed called Striga.  

Supporting Farmers around the World

Purdue faculty and staff also have a direct impact on farmers across the world through our Extension programs. Elysia Rodgers, an Extension educator, won the 2021 volunteer of the Year award for participating in the Farmer to Farmer program in Trinidad and Tobago. The program has provided technical assistance to over 175 Extension officers, farmers and producers. 

Many other international engagement activities led by Purdue faculty and staff are happening through programs like Science Animations Without Borders and enumeration training in Cambodia. We are also welcoming international visitors back to campus, including the Washington Mandela Fellows who will visit Purdue this summer to study entrepreneurship. 

Want to learn more about our international activities? Check out the Encompass newsletter from our International Programs in Agriculture (IPIA) office. 

I want to thank faculty and staff, as well as Dr. Jerry Shively and his staff in IPIA, for their efforts to help our college continue its leadership in solving grand challenges around the globe and giving our students a broader world view. 

One More Note

Speaking of international opportunities and challenges…

Our student-run Purdue Ag Week Task Force is hosting a conversation between Kip Tom, former Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, and Purdue President Mitch Daniels on Tuesday, April 5 at 6 p.m. in Fowler Hall, Stewart Center. This event is free and open to the public. I invite you to join us for what promises to be an educational and entertaining evening.

Kip Tom Event

Purdue Ag People

Rob Weiner Graduate Ag Research Spotlight: Rob Weiner

The Graduate Research Spotlight highlights graduate students and their work. The March spotlight is on Rob Weiner, PhD student, Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication.
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Ben Paxson Behind the Research: Ben Paxson

Many people are involved in the remarkable range of programs, services and facilities that undergird research in the College of Agriculture. Collectively they are integral to the college fulfilling its research mission. This month’s spotlight is on Ben Paxson, Academic IT Specialist, Food Science.
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DC Summit Group Graduate students participate in ag policy at DC Summit

Three Purdue graduate students participated in the third annual MANRSS NASDA Agriculture Policy Summit in Washington, D.C.
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Bee Culture Apiculture specialist featured on Bee Culture cover

Krispn Given, Entomology, was featured on the March 2022 cover of Bee Culture magazine. Learn more about his role in the college here.
Statue of Liberty image Don’t forget to track Civil Rights and Diversity Training    

All Purdue Agriculture faculty and staff members are required to receive training in civil rights (the regulations) or diversity awareness each year. Rather than mandate a specific training, we ask that you attend any training that fits your needs and interests and enhances your knowledge and understanding of diversity or civil rights. Please use our Qualtrics survey tool to report training activities.
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Awards and Recognitions

Eileen Kladivko Liz Karcher
Eileen Kladivko, Agronomy, received
the Corinne Alexander Spirit of the
Land-Grant Mission Award
. The annual
award recognizes a faculty member in
the colleges of Agriculture, Health and
Human Sciences, and Veterinary 
Medicine whose work exemplifies the
three pillars of the land-grant mission.
Liz Karcher, Animal Sciences, received the Charles B. Murphy Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, which is the university's highest undergraduate teaching award.
Faculty Scholars
Dean Karen Plaut surprised four College of Agriculture faculty members with the news they were selected as University Faculty Scholars. From top left clockwise, Kingsly Ambrose, Agricultural and Biological Engineering; Steve Lindemann, Food Science; Patrick Zollner, Forestry and Natural Resources; and Nicole Widmar, Agricultural Economics. 

Haley Oliver Betty Feng Changemaker Award
Haley Oliver, Food
Science, received the
James M. May Diversity
in Food Safety Award from
the International Association
for Food Protection.
Yaohua Feng, Food
Science, received the
Larry Beuchat Young
Researcher Award from
the International Association
for Food Protection.
Lauren Murfree, Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication, received the Boiler Changemaker Award from the Purdue Graduate School.
Senay Simsek Elana Ianchovichona
Senay Simsek, Food
Science, received the
2021 Distinguished
Women Scholars Award.
She earned her PhD in
food science from Purdue
and is a professor and
head of the Department of
Food Science at Purdue.
Elena Ianchovichina, Agricultural Economics, received the 2021 Distinguished Women Scholars Award. She earned her PhD in agricultural economics from Purdue and is deputy chief economist, Latin America and Caribbean, at the World Bank.
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Purdue Ag in the News

Harpur Lab Bee Purdue capitalizes on state legislature's investment with 2022 AgSEED grants

The Purdue College of Agriculture has awarded more than $800,000 in grants to support 15 research projects. 
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Purdue ABE Logo Ag & Biological Engineering program earns #1 ranking

Purdue University's Agricultural and Biological Engineering Graduate Program has ranked #1 in its category in the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings of best graduate schools.
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Michael Langemeier Indiana farmers watch Russia-Ukraine conflict as crop, fertilizer markets remain volatile

Michael Langemeier, Agricultural Economics, comments on the effects of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on agricultural markets.
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Natalia Dudarva New & improved cherry flavor courtesy of petunia flower

The cherry flavor you enjoy in candy and soda is likely a combination of aromatic and flavor compounds discovered through the study of plants in laboratories.
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Darrin Karcher Cage-free housing from a hen's perspective

With a $1 million USDA grant, Darrin Karcher, Animal Sciences, and a team of researchers will reconstruct the environment for cage-free hens through the bird's eyes.
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Fruit Flies and Glasses Circadian clock may protect aging eyes

Fruit flies give insight into age-related changes in human vision. A team of researchers discovered the circadian clock plays a significant role in protecting eyes from retinal degeneration.
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In the Woods
View the Photo Gallery.
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Purdue Next Moves: Plant Sciences 2.0

Consumer Food Insights Feb 2022 Consumer Food Insights Report details consumer reaction to inflation

The Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability released the February 2022 Consumer Food Insights Report earlier this month.
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DIAL Cohorts

Purdue's Digital Innovation in Agri-food Systems Laboratory (DIAL), also known as the DIAL Venture Studio, welcomed its first cohort of three Innovation Fellows recently. A part of the Purdue Applied Research Institute, DIAL is an entity focused on building startups in quick succession that bring digital innovation to the food and agriculture industry. From left, Innovation Fellows Travis Douce, Shane Steinl and Craig Zamary.
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Dates and Deadlines

May 11: Lowell S Hardin Award for Excellence in International Activities and D. Wood Thomas Awards Ceremony and Reception in Deans' Auditorium, Pfendler Hall
Fish Fry 2022

The Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry returns on Saturday, April 30, at the Indianapolis State Fairgrounds. Tickets are still available here. If you would like to volunteer as a server and attend at no cost to you, please fill out this form. Purdue Ag Avenue - presented by Can-Am will be open from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. and feature exhibits from College of Agriculture departments and other organizations. Register as an exhibitor here. Hope you can join us!
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University News

Program would welcome visiting scholars from Ukraine who have been displaced by war 
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Boiler Up Against Hate and Bias logo Report Hate and Bias

Purdue University is a community where diversity is valued and incidents of hate and bias are not tolerated. Students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors who feel that they have been the victim of a bias related incident (or who have witnessed a bias related incident) are encouraged to report it online at www.purdue.edu/report-hate or to contact the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities at 765-494-1250. Your report can remain anonymous if you wish. Remember, if it is an emergency situation that requires immediate medical or emergency services attention, please call the Purdue University Police Department at 911 or 765-494-8221.
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