Purdue Agriculture - In Focus

August 22, 2012

Special Welcome Issue


Welcome to these faculty members who have joined us since the spring:


Mary Catherine AimeMary Catherine Aime, Associate Professor, Botany and Plant Pathology. Cathie earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in biology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She did postdoctoral research at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. She moved back to the U.S. to work as a research molecular biologist with the USDA-ARS, Systematic Botany and Mycology Lab. She later joined the faculty at Louisiana State University in plant pathology and crop physiology. Cathie’s primary area of research focuses on the systematics, evolution and biology of rust fungi. These fungi are all obligate plant pathogens, many of which cause major diseases in crop plants. Cathie is the director of the Arthur and Kriebel Herbaria. She is also teaching a class titled “The Microbial World.”



Dieudonne BaributsaDieudonné Baributsa, Research Assistant Professor, Entomology. Dieudonné received his bachelor’s degree in crop production from the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences in Kisangani, D.R. Congo and his master’s and doctoral degrees in cropping systems and crop physiology from Michigan State University. Dieudonné worked for the National Agricultural Research Institute - ISAR (currently part of the Rwanda Agricultural Board - RAB) - as a maize agronomist and head of a research station. For the last seven years, he has worked on integrated pest management (IPM) research and capacity building programs in Central Asia and Africa. Dieudonné’s interests include international IPM research and extension/outreach activities to reduce crop losses and improve technology dissemination and utilization. Dieudonné’s recent activities have focused on post-harvest losses of major crops in developing countries, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa and Afghanistan.


Abigail BorronAbigail Borron, Assistant Professor, Youth Development and Agricultural Education. Abigail earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Indiana University-Purdue University in Fort Wayne. She also earned a master’s and doctorate in youth development and agricultural education, both from Purdue. Her research interest is in communication with emphases in culture, low-income and marginalized audiences, university engagement and risk communication. She is teaching the Agricultural Communication Seminar and Interactive Web Strategies in Agriculture courses in the department. She is also co-developing a written and oral communication program and competition to be offered to students across all disciplines in the College of Agriculture.



michael delgadoMichael Delgado, Assistant Professor, Agricultural Economics. Michael received his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of the Pacific and his doctorate in economics from the State University of New York in Binghamton. His expertise is in semiparametric and nonparametric econometric modeling, environmental economics, and economic growth. He is interested in developing and applying generalized nonparametric regression models and tests to economic policy issues. This work helps refine policies that are being developed to better manage the environment and to improve economic growth rates in developing countries. His research focuses on instrumental variables regression estimators to issues that include evaluating the success of voluntary pollution abatement programs, consumer demand for hybrid cars, and the effects of education and institutions on economic growth rates.


michael gundersonMichael Gunderson, Associate Professor, Agricultural Economics. Mike earned a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness, farm and financial management from the University of Illinois and his master’s in agricultural economics from Cornell University. After earning his doctorate in agricultural economics from Purdue, Mike spent six years in the Food and Resource Economics Department at the University of Florida. His research focuses on understanding the factors that influence the financial success of agribusiness firms. In addition to his undergraduate and graduate teaching responsibilities, Mike leads a quantitative methods course in the MS-MBA in Food and Agribusiness Management, a dual-degree, online program for working agribusiness professionals. He is also heavily involved in designing, developing and delivering non-credit, professional development programs through the department’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business, where he serves as the associate director of research.


jason hovermanJason Hoverman, Assistant Professor, Forestry and Natural Resources. Jason earned his bachelor’s degree in biology and doctorate in ecology and evolution from the University of Pittsburgh. He conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Colorado, University of Tennessee, and Pennsylvania State University. His research investigates the mechanisms through which environmental stressors, both natural and anthropogenic in nature, affect the outcome of species interactions and the function of biological communities. He focuses on three topics: 1) the ecological and evolutionary importance of inducible defenses in prey; 2) the direct and indirect effects of anthropogenic chemicals on communities; and 3) the ecology of emerging infectious diseases. He is teaching Wildlife in America and an interdisciplinary capstone course.



maja makagonMaja Makagon, Assistant Professor, Animal Sciences. Maja earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Virginia, a master’s degree in psychology from Cornell University and a doctorate in animal behavior from the University of California, Davis. Maja comes to Purdue from Michigan State University, where she completed post-doctoral training in the Animal Behavior and Welfare Group. Her research interests are in the ways in which animals perceive and interact with features of their environments and the implications these interactions have on the management, well-being and productivity of animals in commercial settings. Her current projects center on understanding social interactions in commercially housed poultry; understanding the effects of an animal’s physical and social environment on its behavior and welfare; and development of valid and reliable measures of welfare. Maja is a member of the Poultry Science Association and is the current U.S. Regional Secretary for the International Society for Applied Ethology.


farzad taheripourFarzad Taheripour, Research Assistant Professor, Agricultural Economics. Farzad, received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Shiraz University, a master’s degree in economic systems planning from Isfahan University of Technology, and his doctorate in agricultural economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research activities are primarily in the areas of energy, agriculture, natural resource, macro and micro economic modeling, and econometrics. His current research focuses on developing macro and micro economic models to analyze and quantify economic and environmental consequences of biofuel production and policy. His research activities in these areas have been recognized nationally and internationally. He is also an associate of the Center for Global Trade Analysis (GTAP).



vikki weakeVikki Weake, Assistant Professor, Biochemistry. Vikki earned her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and physiological and molecular plant biology and her doctorate in genetics from Massey University in New Zealand. She conducted post-doctoral research at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, Missouri. Her research involves the analysis of the genome-wide localization of the Drosophila SAGA complex in different cell types, colocalization with RNA polymerase II, and involvement in polymerase pausing.






jennifer zaspelJennifer Zaspel, Assistant Professor, Entomology and Director of the Purdue Entomological Research Collection (PERC). Jennifer earned her bachelor’s degree in science in agriculture with an emphasis in entomology from the University of Minnesota, a master’s in entomology from the University of Minnesota and her doctorate in entomology and nematology from the University of Florida. Jennifer’s research explores microbial associations and the evolution of adult feeding behaviors in moths of the family Erebidae, and she uses morphological, molecular, and behavioral data to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships within this moth lineage. Her responsibilities include research, curation and teaching courses in insect taxonomy and systematics.


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