Innovation & Entrepreneurship Ambassadors
Christian Butzke Ph.D.
Professor Butzke is an expert in the commercial production of fermented beverages and foods. 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 been Purdue's first Innovation & Entrepreneurship Fellow.
Theresa Casey Ph.D.
John Couture Ph.D.
Professor Couture combines research in plant chemical and physiological ecology with vegetation spectroscopy to explore the influence of variation in plant chemistry and physiology on trophic-level interactions across multiple spatial scales. A goal of his research group is to understand the factors driving ecosystem functioning and to produce solutions to better manage natural and agricultural resources.
Scott Downey Ph.D.
Professor Downey is the director of the Center for Food and Agricultural Business, and is a frequent speaker and consultant for agribusiness industry sales teams on professional development topics like precision selling, sales management and competitive sales strategies.
Klein Ileleji Ph.D.
Professor Ileleji is the co-founder, CEO and CTO of JUA Technologies International LLC, a startup company that develops solar dehydration technologies and mobile off-grid power generators for everyday use on small and mid-size farms. The company has launched one product to the market, a portable solar food dehydrator that has been sold in 28 states and shipped to more than 10 countries. He serves as I&E Ambassador for both the College of Agriculture and the College of Engineering.
Jian Jin Ph.D.
Professor Jin is the creator of LeafSpec, the world’s first handheld hyperspectral leaf imager and the 2021 David Prize winner. This device scans a leaf within seconds for unprecedented quality of plant nutrients and stresses measurements on the spot. Dr. Jin's LeafSpec LLC is commercializing this technology with a license from Purdue.
Neil Knobloch Ph.D.
Maria Marshall Ph.D.
Professor Marshall is the director and founder of the Purdue Institute for Family Business, and the director of the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development. Her outreach and teaching programs seek to increase economic development through entrepreneurship and firm growth.
Dharmendra Mishra Ph.D.
Professor Mishra is a Processing Authority for manufacturing of shelf-stable food products. He works with commercial food manufacturers and provides them operational guidance and training for the workforce. He is a co-founder of Thermetrics Inc., engaged in developing a thermal property measurement device.
Krishna Nemali Ph.D.
Professor Nemali develops affordable and reliable smart (IoT) sensors with AI power for automated plant monitoring and optimizing plant growth and nitrogen availability to crops grown in greenhouses and vertical farms.
Bryan Pijanowski Ph.D.
Professor Pijanowski is the director of Purdue’s Center for Global Soundscapes where his team uses acoustic sensors, AI (artificial intelligence) tools, and big data mining techniques, to understand how humans impact biodiversity around the world. In 2019, he completed the NSF iCorps program that led to the creation of a Foundry-supported startup company, Digital Nature Enterprises, LLC., which focusses on incorporating sounds into informal learning exhibits in museums and science centers.
Torbert Rocheford Ph.D.
Professor Rocheford’s research focuses on the nutritional composition of maize grain. His work pioneering more nutrient-dense Orange Corn pairs old-fashioned, hands-on plant-breeding with modern science for a more well-fed world.