Innovation & Entrepreneurship FELLOWS

Christian  Butzke

Christian Butzke Ph.D.

College of Agriculture
Senior University Fellow for Innovation & Entrepreneurship – Office of Research | Innovation & Entrepreneurship Fellow – College of Agriculture | Professor of Food Science & Enology – Department of Food Science

Professor Butzke is an expert in the commercial production of fermented beverages, especially wine. He is co-founder and chief enologist of the Purdue-based start-up VinSense LLC, a software company that provides perennial crop management decision-support through real-time, high-resolution functional soil maps, modeling of soil and climate effects on fruit composition and quality, and powerful data analytics and visualization tools.  He has served as the College's first Innovation & Entrepreneurship Fellow since 2021, and was appointed Purdue’s first Senior University Fellow for Innovation & Entrepreneurship in 2023.

Joshua Alexander

Joshua M. Alexander Ph.D., CCC-A

College of Health and Human Sciences
Associate Professor, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
Joshua Alexander, CCC-A, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Purdue University. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Audiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also researched speech perception as a post-doctoral scientist. Additionally, he completed clinical and post-doctoral fellowships at Boys Town National Research Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska.

Dr. Alexander is dedicated to advancing speech understanding and reducing listening effort for hearing aid users. He has developed a sophisticated hearing aid simulator that replicates the features of commercial hearing aids. This tool has been instrumental in at least 14 peer-reviewed articles, 5 NIH grants, and the discovery of significant new knowledge, resulting in four U.S. patents.

His research is further supported by funding from major hearing aid manufacturers and his role as a consultant on an NIH SBIR grant for Creare, LLC. This grant supported the development of the Tympan open-source audio processing platform, initially conceived as an open-source hearing aid, which is now being expanded into a comprehensive audiological test suite with Purdue serving as the primary test site.

Dr. Alexander is part of a team that has expanded hearing research at the 16 Tech Innovation District in Indianapolis, with sponsorship from Purdue’s Provost’s Office and the Office of Research. This initiative places them at the forefront of innovative health initiatives within a cutting-edge 50-acre community, fostering collaboration with other universities and medical industries.
Mike Atallah

Mike Atallah Ph.D.

College of Science
Distinguished Professor of Computer Science

Professor Atallah's research interests are in information security and algorithms. A Fellow of both the ACM and IEEE, his work on key management received the 2015 CCS Test of Time Award, and his work on multi-party computation received the 2021 ACSAC Test of Time Award. He was the 2017 recipient of the Arden L. Bement Jr. Award, the most prestigious award Purdue bestows in pure and applied science and engineering. He was the 2016 recipient of the Purdue Sigma Xi Faculty Research Award, and the 2013 recipient of the Purdue Outstanding Commercialization Award. He was a speaker ten times in the Distinguished Lecture Series of top Computer Science Departments, and was keynote and invited speaker at many national and international meetings, and has served on the editorial boards of top journals and on the program committees of top conferences and workshops. He was selected in 1999 as one of the best teachers in the history of Purdue University and included in Purdue's Book of Great Teachers, a permanent wall display of Purdue's best teachers past and present. In 2001 he co-founded Arxan Technologies Inc, to commercialize a software protection technology developed jointly with his doctoral student Hoi Chang (in 2019 Arxan reported that applications secured by it were running on over a billion devices, and in 2020 it reported 5+ billion deployed instances on protected applications "across many industries including financial services, mobile payments, healthcare, automotive, gaming, and entertainment"). He was CTO of Arxan Technologies and Chief Scientist for its defense subsidiary, Arxan Defense Systems. Arxan Defense Systems was acquired in 2010 by Microsemi Corporation, and Arxan Technologies was acquired in 2013 by private equity firm TA Associates.

Jo Davisson

Jo Davisson Ph.D.

College of Pharmacy
Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
765.418.5558 (cell)
V. Jo Davisson, Ph.D (Jo) is a Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology in the Purdue University College of Pharmacy, where he teaches courses on the process of drug discovery, mechanisms of drug action, and quantitative pharmacology His formal education includes a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Utah and postdoctoral training at the University of California San Francisco. He has over 40 years of research experience in pharmaceutical sciences across a broad range of areas, including the basic science of target discovery and evaluation, computational structure-based and mechanism-based drug design, high throughput and high content assay platform development and data analysis, and natural products drug action. His research activities have contributed to over $30 M in sponsored research and patented technologies. His current academic research focus area includes several early-stage drug discovery projects for antivirals, anticancer, and cyanide countermeasures. He is a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science. He has been involved in various consulting endeavors within the chemical and pharmaceutical industry his entire career. Among his leadership accomplishments is being a founding Director of Purdue Discovery Park, a major innovation hub and growth enterprise spanning the public and private sectors. Outside of his academic research, Jo has efforts in early-stage, start-up ventures for technology commercialization. He is currently a co-founder and CSO of Amplified Sciences, a clinical diagnostics platform company based upon a novel biosensing technology for which he is an inventor and continues to develop a novel diagnostic platform technology. A list of publications can be found at
Nathalie Duval-Couetil

Nathalie Duval-Couetil Ph.D.

Purdue Polytechnic Institute
Director of University Entrepreneurship Education Initiatives - Office of the Provost | Professor in the Department of Technology Leadership and Innovation - Polytechnic

Nathalie Duval-Couetil is the Director of University Entrepreneurship Education Initiatives (Office of the Provost) and a Professor in the Department of Technology Leadership and Innovation at Purdue University (Polytechnic). She is founding director of the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program, which enrolls over 2000 students each year, and serves as co-PI and Research Lead for the NSF-funded Great Lakes I-Corps Hub. Her administrative and research activities focus on entrepreneurship education; program evaluation; academic entrepreneurship; and gender and entrepreneurship. Prior to academia, Nathalie worked in the field of market research and strategy consulting in Europe and the U.S. with Booz Allen and Hamilton and Data and Strategies Group.  She received a BA from UMass Amherst, an MBA from Babson College, and MS and PhD degrees from Purdue University.

Wanju Huang

Wanju Huang Ph.D.

College of Education
Director of Online Learning and Evaluation for SCALE | Clinical Associate Professor of Learning Design and Technology, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Dr. Wanju Huang is a Clinical Associate Professor of Learning Design and Technology at Purdue University. Her research focuses on online learning, professional development in STEM, augmented reality/virtual reality, and the integration of artificial intelligence in education. She has received awards for teaching and instructional design, and has published and presented at national and international conferences. Dr. Huang has contributed to several NSF-funded projects as Co-PI and key personnel and is currently serving as the Director of Online Learning and Evaluation for the Scalable Asymmetric Lifecycle Engagement (SCALE) funded by the Department of Defense.
Stephen Leitch

Stephen Leitch Ph.D.

College of Health and Human Sciences
Clinical Assistant Professor, White Lodging-J.W. Marriott, Jr. School of Hospitality and Tourism Management | Director of Undergraduate Programs and Student Engagement | Assistant Director for The Center for Hospitality and Retail Industries Business Analytics
Stephen Leitch, a Clinical Assistant Professor at the White Lodging-J.W. Marriott, Jr. School of Hospitality and Tourism Management is seasoned entrepreneur. With a wealth of experience spanning multiple industries, including hospitality, e-commerce, retail, and technology, Stephen brings a unique perspective to the field of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Stephen has been involved in several start-ups with his expertise lying in crafting compelling market strategies, products, and experiences that drive growth and profitability. In addition, Stephen has a passion for innovation where he actively engages with industry leaders, startups, and aspiring entrepreneurs to foster a culture of creativity and forward-thinking.
Zhan Pang

Zhan Pang Ph.D.

Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business
Cullman Rising Star Professor of Supply Chain Management | Purdue Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fellow | Purdue Experiential Education Champion
Zhan Pang is Lewis B. Cullman Rising Star Professor of Management in the area of Supply Chain and Operations Management at Daniels School of Business.
He directs the Supply Chain and Operations Management (SCOM) Ph.D. program. He is also a Purdue’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fellow and Experiential Education (ExEd) Champion. His research interests include statistical learning and decision analytics, healthcare delivery systems, supply chain finance and risk management, and pricing and revenue management. He is a senior editor for Production and Operations Management (Healthcare Operations Management) and a founding editor of Journal of Blockchain Research.
He has rich industry experience as entrepreneur and management consultant.
Torsten Reimer

Torsten Reimer Ph.D.

College of Liberal Arts
Director of the College of Liberal Arts Research Academy (CLARA) and of the Communication and Cognition Lab in the College of Liberal Arts | Professor of Communication, by courtesy of Psychological Sciences

Dr. Torsten Reimer directs the Communication and Cognition Lab in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA). Current projects of the lab focus on the role of AI in decision making, the adoption of new technologies, and human-machine interactions (e.g., interactions with Alexa). Research studies in the lab utilize a variety of social scientific methods, including experiments with human participants as well as computational methods and agent-based simulations. Dr Reimer’s research program has the overarching goal to develop and test theories about the interplay of communication and decision making in socio-technological contexts.

Dr. Reimer obtained a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the Free University of Berlin and a Habilitation degree in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Basel in Switzerland. Before moving to the US, he worked as a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin (Germany). For his research and teaching, he received several awards including the College of Psychology's Award for Excellence in Research from the University of Basel in Switzerland, the Golden Anniversary Monograph Award from the National Communication Association, and the Dennis Gouran Award from the Group Communication Division of NCA. Dr. Reimer served on the Board of Directors of INGRoup and served as chair of the Group Communication as well as the Social Cognition Division of the National Communication Association. In 2021-2023, he was selected for the Ann and Charles Redding Faculty Scholar Award of the Brian Lamb School, which is given to a tenured faculty member in recognition of research productivity and impact. In 2023, Dr. Reimer was appointed associate editor of the APA journal Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice.

Dr. Reimer has collaborated on a variety of NSF-funded grants with Purdue faculty across the colleges of engineering, science, business, and health and human sciences. Since summer 2024, he has been directing the newly founded College of Liberal Arts Research Academy (CLARA). CLARA has the main goal to facilitate and support research endeavors in CLA and to leverage interdisciplinary initiatives of CLA faculty involving cross-college activities.

Shi Riyi

Shi Riyi Ph.D.

College of Veterinary Medicine
Mari Hulman George Endowed Professor of Applied Neuroscience | Professor of Basic Medical Sciences | Director, Center for Paralysis Research

Dr. Riyi Shi is the Mari Hulman George Endowed Professor of Applied Neuroscience in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences and Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University. Dr. Shi is also the Director of the Purdue Center for Paralysis Research. He obtained his MD from Jiao-Tong University School of Medicine (China), and his PhD from Purdue University.  He completed Postdoctoral training at the University of North Carolina. Dr. Shi specializes in uncovering the mechanisms of central nervous system trauma and diseases, as well as instituting new treatments through innovative experimentation and pioneering new strategies in the field. His research contributions include originating the use of the double sucrose gap technique for recording action potential conduction, establishing the methods of neuronal membrane resealing by polyethylene glycol (PEG), identifying acrolein as a key pathological factor in neuronal trauma and degenerative diseases, and establishing novel animal CNS trauma injury models. Three of his therapies have gone to clinical trials, treating patients with spinal cord and head trauma and multiple sclerosis, and one of these (Fampridine), where Dr. Shi made critical contributions, has gained FDA approval as a treatment for CNS degenerative diseases.  He has published more than 190 peer reviewed articles and holds thirteen patents. 

Cagri Savran

Cagri Savran Ph.D.

College of Engineering
Professor of Mechanical Engineering, by courtesy in Biomedical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering
David Zwicky

David Zwicky Ph.D.

Libraries & School of Information Studies
Associate Professor | Chemical Information Specialist

Dave Zwicky is an Associate Professor and Chemical Information Specialist in the Purdue University Libraries & School of Information Studies.  He is Purdue’s representative to the USPTO’s Patent & Trademark Resource Center Program and is a former president of the PTRC Association.  He works with members of the Purdue community, among others, to teach inventors about the patent process and patent searching.  Professor Zwicky teaches courses in Chemistry and Information Studies and is a member of Purdue’s Teaching Academy.  He received a BS and an MLS from University of Wisconsin – Madison and an MS from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.