the view ahead - winter 2023

Dean Karen Plaut

The broad range of discovery, innovation and outreach that happens every day in Purdue Agriculture is inspiring. It also can be surprising.

The wildlife area in Forestry and Natural Resources is one of those gems. In this issue, you’ll learn more about the sense of wonder that wildlife researchers bring to their work — from modeling virtual ecosystems to analyzing dietary clues. As different as their concentrations might be, these researchers agree collaboration is key.

Sometimes you meet forces of nature in forests, and sometimes in Food Science labs. That’s definitely how I would describe the team of faculty who work on local and global food safety issues. As Haley Oliver, 150th Anniversary Professor of Food Science, puts it, “I like the scary side of food.” Together with Purdue colleagues Amanda Deering and Yaohua Feng as well as colleagues from Cornell University, Oliver is implementing a $10 million USAID Feed the Future Food Safety Innovation Lab grant to improve food safety in Nepal, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nigeria, Kenya and Senegal.

In this issue featuring world-class Purdue researchers, we also share the journeys of several undergraduate researchers. Some of our students know research is what they want to do, while other students are completely surprised by the home they find conducting research in a lab, forest, river or field. I’ve experienced our students’ enthusiasm firsthand through those working in my lab. It’s been incredible to see them discover, as my student colleague Kirsten Senn said, “Wow, research is fun; research is cool.”

On a personal note, this is my last column as I move into my new role as the university’s executive vice president of research. It’s been an honor to be a part of leading the College of Agriculture over the last 12 years. I know the college will continue to innovate in research, teaching and Extension.

Karen Plaut, PhD
Executive Vice President for Research
(Former Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture)

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