July 2013

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From the Dean

jay akridgeSummer is moving quickly – STAR has wrapped up (a great group of new students will be joining us this fall!), county fairs are in full swing, much activity is underway at our Purdue Ag Centers, dissertations are being finalized to make August graduation, and the State Fair and Boiler Gold Rush are just around the corner.  On July 1, we were very excited to welcome Dr. Brian Farkas, our new Head of the Department of Food Science, to Purdue Agriculture. Several more faculty will be joining us in the coming weeks and we will introduce them to you in August. Among the many things that have happened this summer, two research initiatives that will play an important part in Indiana’s economic development strategy have been moving forward. These initiatives are the focus of this month’s message.

I have written here before about the first, the Indiana Food and Agriculture Innovation Initiative. The general ideas for this initiative were outlined in a report authored by IceMiller’s Beth Bechdol (a Purdue Agriculture Distinguished Alumna). You can find the report here.  The report identifies the key industry, government, and academic players in the Indiana food and agriculture innovation space and, as you would assume, Purdue Agriculture features prominently in the report. The report also outlines some next steps for a more coordinated and strategic approach to expanding Indiana’s position as a center for innovation in food and agriculture. With firms such as Dow AgroSciences, Elanco, Beck’s Hybrids, AgReliant Genetics, JBS United, Maple Leaf Farms, Rose Acre Farms, and Fair Oaks Dairy, among others; the state’s production agriculture sector and supporting farm/commodity organizations; the research strength of Purdue and Indiana University, as well as Notre Dame; and a supportive administration in the State House; the pieces are in place for a robust plan to move Indiana food and agriculture research and innovation forward.

What might this mean?  A successfully implemented plan could mean that Indiana food and agriculture firms would choose to invest more in the state, new firms would locate here, we would see more start-up activity, more strategic research partnerships for our faculty, and more jobs for our students. We in Purdue Agriculture have been involved in this project from the early stages and will keep you apprised as it moves forward.

The second initiative is the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute. This Institute is a collaboration of industry, academe, and government with a specific focus on human health issues/metabolic disorders including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity, and nutrition. The working model for the Institute is centered on a group of ‘Indiana Fellows’: high profile scientists who will lead teams addressing specific research issues. The Institute will provide a vehicle to collaborate with industry and academic researchers, as these Fellows will hold faculty appointments at the state’s research universities. The State of Indiana has committed $25 million to help launch the program and the Lilly Foundation has invested another $10 million. The ultimate goal is to secure $300 million in support for the Institute. Some of our key industry partners are involved, specifically Dow AgroSciences and Elanco. We will stay close to this new entity as it comes together to see what opportunities emerge for our faculty, staff, and students.

It is exciting to see the state’s focus on life sciences broadly and food and agriculture innovation specifically. And, our College’s research portfolio aligns very nicely with the kinds of issues these initiatives will tackle.

At our core, Purdue Agriculture research is about bringing some of the very best minds in the country to bear on some of our society’s most pressing problems. Sometimes our research contributions focus on fundamental science. At other times, our research contributions are directly communicated to a decision-maker through Purdue Extension.  Sometimes our research contributions involve commercialization. Mitch Tuinstra’s new sorghum varieties; Andy Tao’s start-up company, Tymora Analytical Operations, which is focused on novel methods for cancer detection; and Cate Hill’s emerging work on development of new insecticides are all illustrations of where commercialization is helping put discoveries in the hands of those who can use them. All of these forms of research contribution are critical as we continue to work to make Purdue Agriculture one of the world’s leading sources of innovation in the agriculture, food, life, and natural resource sciences.  

All the best,


Purdue Agriculture People


Ag Research Spotlight: Matthew Ginzel

matthew ginzelThe Ag Research Spotlight shines each month on an individual whose work reflects our commitment to the six strategic themes that guide Agricultural Research at Purdue. March's spotlight is on Matthew Ginzel, Entomology and Forestry and Natural Resources, whose work underscores the theme “Strengthening ecological and environmental integrity in agricultural landscapes.”​ 

Full story: https://ag.purdue.edu/arp/Pages/Spotlight.aspx



Graduate Research Spotlight: Carmen Blubaugh

carmen blubaughThe Graduate Research Spotlight highlights graduate students and their work. This month’s spotlight is on Carmen Blubaugh, Entomology; advisor Ian Kaplan.

Full story: https://ag.purdue.edu/arp/Pages/Graduate-Student-Spotlight.aspx



Science on Tap in July to feature Purdue expert on food safety efforts


bruce applegateBruce Applegate, associate professor of food science, an expert in food security and the developer of techniques to improve the safety of fresh produce, will deliver the next Science on Tap talk. He will speak at 6 p.m. on July 25 as part of the Science on Tap informal lecture series. The event, which is free and open to those 21 and older, is in the upstairs of the Lafayette Brewing Company, 622 Main St., Lafayette. His talk, titled "Illuminating Produce Safety: The Use of Bioluminescence for Increasing the Safety of Fresh Produce," is sponsored by the Purdue College of Agriculture, the Department of Food Science and Discovery Park.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2013/Q3/science-on-tap-in-july-to-feature-purdue-expert-on-food-safety-efforts.html  


Governor selects Beck for Purdue's Board of Trustees

sonny beckLawrence “Sonny” Beck, BS ’62, MS ’64, has been appointed to a three-year term on the Purdue University Board of Trustees. Gov. Mike Pence made the announcement on June 26. “Sonny Beck is an extraordinary Hoosier whose character, business experience in the agriculture industry and commitment to excellence make him the perfect choice to serve on the Board of Trustees of Purdue University,” Pence said. Beck’s term will begin at the conclusion of the board’s July meeting. He will replace Keith Krach, who is stepping down from the board after two terms.

Full story: http://www3.ag.purdue.edu/Connections/NOW/Pages/Beck_Board_Trustee.aspx


Staff Benefits information sessions scheduled

Janine Gulbranson, Benefits Outreach Specialist from Purdue Human Resources, will provide an update on Purdue’s 2014 medical plan options and premiums at three one-hour sessions on Tuesday, July 23 at 9:00 a.m., Noon, and 2:00 p.m. in the Deans Auditorium in Pfendler Hall. Faculty and staff are encouraged to attend one of the three sessions. An Adobe Connect session will be offered for Extension field staff on August 22 at 10:00 a.m..


Awards and Recognitions


jason hovermanJason Hoverman, Forestry and Natural Resources, and his former postdoc advisor, Pieter Johnson (University of Colorado, Boulder), received the George Mercer Award from the Ecological Society of America for their 2012 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper.  Their study demonstrates how an ecological approach can contribute deeper understanding of biomedical questions.  The Mercer Award recognizes an outstanding and recently-published ecological research paper by a young scientist. 



marisol sepulvedaMarisol Sepúlveda, Forestry and Natural Resources, was selected as this year’s Western Region in Excellence Multistate Research winner for her project entitled “Agrochemical Impacts on Human and Environmental Health: Mechanisms and Mitigation” The awards ceremony will be held on July 17 during the Western Region Joint Summer meeting in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.



Service Award winnersJennifer Spitznagle, Forestry and Natural Resources (left), Barbara Wireman, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture (center), and Samantha McFarland, Agronomy (right) are the 2013 winners of the College of Agriculture Business Office Service Award. The award, which was presented at a luncheon on July 1, was established to recognize the significant efforts of business office staff members who consistently exert effort above and beyond expectations to help accomplish the College's strategic goals.



The Department of Biochemistry won the Arthur G. Hansen Recognition Award for “fostering retiree involvement.” The award, sponsored by the Purdue University Retirees Association and the Office of the President, was presented to Dean Jay Akridge and Clint Chapple, distinguished professor and department head. The Department of Biochemistry will receive a trophy and be listed on a plaque in the corridor of the Purdue Memorial Union. The award, named for a former Purdue president, also includes $2,500. Biochemistry professors emeriti Karl Brandt and Mark Hermodson nominated the department for the award.


Purdue Agriculture students earned the two top undergraduate student awards during the recent Joint Animal (ASAS) and Dairy (ADSA) Science National Meetings held in Indianapolis during the week of July 8:  Sara McCullough, a senior in Animal Sciences, received the 2013 ADSA Outstanding Undergraduate Paper—Oral Presentation—of Original Research Award, and Emily Erickson, a sophomore in Biochemistry, received the 2013 ADSA Outstanding Undergraduate Paper—Poster Presentation—of Original Research.  Sara’s faculty mentor is Dr. Tamilee Nennich and Emily is mentored by Drs. Karen Plaut and Mike Schutz.


Purdue Agriculture in the News


Nominations sought for Purdue Agriculture's top awards

Purdue Ag logoNominations are now being accepted for the top two annual awards of the Purdue College of Agriculture and its Agriculture Alumni Association recognizing achievement and service to the agricultural profession. The Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award recognizes mid-career alumni of the College of Agriculture who have a record of outstanding accomplishments, have made significant contributions to their profession or society in general and exhibit high potential for professional growth. The alumni association's Certificate of Distinction recognizes those who have contributed to agriculture through professional accomplishments, activity in organizations, community service and other activities that make the nominees a credit to their profession. Nomination deadlines are Aug. 30 for the Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award and Oct. 1 for the Certificate of Distinction.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2013/Q3/nominations-sought-for-purdue-ags-top-awards.html


Butterflies to be counted, appreciated at annual Encounter

butterfly encounterPeople of all ages can celebrate the beauty of butterflies and learn about identifying, protecting and attracting them at the annual Tippecanoe County Butterfly Encounter. The Encounter will be held July 20 from 1-4 p.m. at the Evonik Corp. Tippecanoe Laboratories Wildlife Habitat Area, 1650 Lilly Road, Lafayette. "No previous butterfly knowledge is necessary, and everyone from the novice to the expert is welcome and encouraged to attend," said Jon Neal, associate professor of entomology. Neal will begin the program with a brief introduction to Indiana butterflies. Entomologists then will help participants identify and record species of butterflies and discuss their biology, habitats, conservation and protection. Participants will tabulate their records at the end of the program.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2013/Q3/butterflies-to-be-counted,-appreciated-at-annual-encounter.html



USDA reports bearish; Indiana, Ohio producers could still benefit

chris hurtCorn and soybean crops in Indiana and Ohio are in the best shape among the nation's leading production states, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Crop Progress report released on June 28. The condition ratings are welcome news for growers in both states amid falling grain prices after the release of the latest USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service acreage report. The report showed an increase in U.S. acres from 2012 for both corn and soybeans. "The real surprise in this report is that we didn't see the shift we expected from corn acres to soybean acres because of delayed planting," said Chris Hurt, Purdue Extension agricultural economist. The USDA reported national corn acreage is estimated at 97.4 million, up slightly from 2012. Estimated soybean acreage is 77.7 million, up 1 percent from last year.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2013/Q2/usda-reports-bearish-indiana,-ohio-producers-could-still-benefit.html


Asian carp called a 'threat' to Wabash River

reuben goforthAsian carp thrives in the Mississippi River basin, including the Wabash and Ohio rivers, but in its native rivers and streams in China, it struggles to survive. “It’s a grand irony,” Reuben Goforth, an aquatic ecologist and professor of forestry and natural resources. In Asia, carp numbers have dwindled because of a loss of habitat and overharvesting, Goforth said. But here, the carp are too big for natural predators, are not harvested in great numbers and are undesirable for food. “This is an environmental threat,” Zoeller said, “and we’re going to need to address it through whatever means government can bring. ... There may be some things the public can do to help us in the future.”

Full story: http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/in_focus/2013/July/AsianCarp.html


Indiana CCA Days return to Purdue, offer latest agronomic updates

cca logoIndiana's Certified Crop Advisers will have three chances to hear the latest information on agronomic topics and earn continuing education credits during Indiana CCA Days in August. The one-day workshops will be Aug. 6 at the Northeast-Purdue Agricultural Center in Columbia City and Aug. 7-8 at Purdue's Agronomy Center for Research and Education in West Lafayette. All three workshops will focus on fertilizer regulations, cover crops, weed resistance, soybean yield management, corn and soybean fungicides and insect seed traits. Speakers include both Purdue Extension and industry experts.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2013/Q3/indiana-cca-days-return-to-purdue,-offer-latest-agronomic-updates.html


Amphibians continue to disappear, and not just in the Celery Bog

frogAccording to a recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey, populations of frogs, salamanders and toads have been vanishing from places where they live at a rate of 3.7 percent a year.At that rate, they will disappear from half of their inhabited sites nationwide in 20 years. Habitat loss, changing environments and population growth may add to the decline, according to Jason Hoverman, assistant professor in vertebrate ecology, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources. Rob Chapman, Extension forest wildlife specialist also with FNR, says one of the most important things people can do to slow the declines is to be mindful of the substances and animals brought into the wild.

Full story: http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/in_focus/2013/July/AmphibiansDisappear.html


Palmer amaranth confirmed in 17 Indiana counties

palmer amaranthPalmer amaranth now has been confirmed in 17 Indiana counties and is no longer confined to the northwestern part of the state. The weed grows quickly and creates seeds rapidly, making it hard for farmers to control. Populations earlier were found in northwestern counties in Indiana. Since then, more have been confirmed in Benton, Porter, St. Joseph and White counties; Adams, Kosciusko, Huntington and Noble counties in other northern areas; Henry in the east-central area; Clay in the west; and Posey and Vanderburgh in the extreme southwest. "Palmer amaranth is potentially the most aggressive agronomic weed Indiana producers have ever dealt with and must be managed with an aggressive control program," said Bill Johnson, Purdue Extension weed scientist. "Seed bank populations will increase quickly in fields where Palmer amaranth is not correctly identified or managed, leading to several years of expensive control programs."

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2013/Q3/palmer-amaranth-confirmed-in-17-indiana-counties.html

University News


4th Annual Conference for Pre-Tenure Women

Purdue’s  4th Annual Conference for Pre-Tenure Women will be held September 26-27, 2013.  The conference helps women identify strategies and goals towards tenure and realize their potential in careers in higher education.  It is designed for pre-tenure women from all disciplines, as well as postdocs and advanced graduate students.  The two day event features national speakers from across higher education, sessions on leadership development, informal discussions, and networking with peers from around the country.  Speakers for 2013 include Yolanda Flores Nieman (Senior Vice Provost, University of North Texas) and Kathy L. Guthrie (Assistant Professor of Higher Education, Florida State University).  More information is available at:  www.purdue.edu/butler/pretenure


Trustees committee reviews 2014 medical plans, premiums

The Purdue University Board of Trustees' Audit and Insurance Committee on July 15 reviewed the university's 2014 medical plan options and premiums, which are now slated to go before the full board for approval at its July 19 meeting. Recommendations brought to the committee by Purdue Human Resources call for replacing the university's current plans with three new options: two high-deductible plans that qualify for a tax-free health savings account (HSA) and one lower-deductible plan that does not include an HSA. Human Resources developed the medical plan recommendations in consultation with Purdue's Health Care Strategy Committee, a group of faculty and staff charged with bringing forward short-term and long-term solutions for rising health-care costs.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2013/Q3/trustees-committee-reviews-2014-medical-plans,-premiums.html


Purdue names interim vice provost for faculty affairs

Purdue on July 1 announced that S. Laurel Weldon will serve as the University's interim vice provost for faculty affairs following the July 12 departure of Beverly Davenport Sypher. Davenport Sypher left to serve as the University of Cincinnati's chief academic officer. A committee is being formed to begin a national search for a permanent replacement, says Timothy Sands, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. "Laurel brings a wealth of Purdue knowledge and experience and a strong disciplinary and interdisciplinary background to her new role," Sands says. "Her interim appointment allows us to move forward seamlessly as we begin the national search for a permanent replacement for Beverly. I look forward to working with her during the next several months."

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/purduetoday/releases/2013/Q3/purdue-names-interim-vice-provost-for-faculty-affairs.html


Krannert, Veterinary Medicine offer management program for veterinarians

Purdue's Krannert School of Management and College of Veterinary Medicine are teaming up to offer veterinarians and their staffs graduate-level business skills. The Veterinary Practice Management Program (VPMP) provides 72 hours of instruction to help veterinary professionals manage the business side of their practices. "Veterinarians and their staffs face an increasingly competitive business environment," said Willie Reed, dean of veterinary medicine. "Changes range from new and expensive advances in surgical equipment and medical treatments to practice consolidations, and pet superstores. VPMP is designed to help them meet these challenges." The program is held at Purdue's West Lafayette campus. Courses draw upon Krannert faculty and resources as well as guest faculty selected for their academic credentials and experience in management.

Full story: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2013/Q3/krannert,-veterinary-medicine-offer-management-program-for-veterinarians.html


Report Hate and Bias

report hate cardPurdue 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.