New Agriculture Faculty
Shannon Amberg, assistant professor, Forestry and Natural Resources. Shannon adds to the department’s growing expertise in natural resource social science. She received her Ph.D. from University of Idaho. Her research will emphasize the roles of communication and information processing in affecting attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of humans towards natural resources.
Tameshia Ballard, assistant professor, Food Science. Tameshia comes to Purdue from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, where she completed her Ph.D. in biological systems engineering. Teaching is her primary appointment, and her area of interest is in food processing and engineering.
Jeff Dukes, assistant professor, Forestry and Natural Resources. Jeff has a joint appointment (25%) with the Biological Sciences Department. He joins Purdue as part of an initiative of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center. Prior to coming to Purdue, he was an assistant professor at University of Massachusetts. His research will focus on impacts of climate change on the physiological ecology of terrestrial plant ecosystems.
Ben Gramig, assistant professor, Agricultural Economics. Ben joined the department in February 2008 after completing his Ph.D. in agricultural economics at Michigan State University. Ben's teaching and research activities are focused primarily on environmental and natural resource economics. He has a strong interest in the interface between agriculture and the environment, and his work is motivated by public policy and the role of human activity in environmental change. Ben is also interested in applied micro-economic theory and inter-disciplinary research that integrates economics with natural or physical sciences to analyze applied problems.
Ann Hildner, assistant professor of landscape architecture, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. Ann comes to Purdue from the landscape architecture firm of Rundell Ernstberger Associates, Indianapolis, where she was an associate and senior designer. Ann brings a wealth of professional experience in planting design and in developing sustainable practices for landscape and habitat restoration that focus on the stability and diversity of plant species.
Tomas Höök, assistant professor, Forestry and Natural Resources. Tomas’ appointment strengthens the department’s capacity in fisheries and aquatic sciences. Tomas comes from the University of Michigan, where he received his Ph.D. and had served as a research investigator since 2005. His research will focus on applied issues related to the conservation and management of aquatic resources in freshwater systems.
Mike Jenkins, assistant professor, Forestry and Natural Resources. Mike comes to Purdue after 10 years as an ecologist with the National Park Service. His research will examine ecological processes in temperate forests, with emphasis on the Central Hardwood Region, and human influences on ecological interactions associated with factors such as site disturbance, landscape fragmentation, and introduction of invasive species.
T. Joseph Kappock, assistant professor, Biochemistry. Joseph came to Purdue from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where he was an assistant professor of biochemistry. He earned his Ph.D from Yale University in 1996. Joseph’s areas of research interest are resistance strategies in acetic acid bacteria and enzyme mechanisms.
Torbert Rocheford, Professor of Agronomy and F.L. Patterson Endowed Chair in Translational Genomics for Crop Improvement. Torbert comes to Purdue from the University of Illinois, where he was a professor in the Crop Science Department. His research interests are in maize genetics and genomics.
Fernanda San-Martin-Gonzalez, assistant professor, Food Science. Fernanda came to Purdue from the Food Science and Technology Department at the University of Tennessee, where she had been a research associate. Prior to that, she was an associate professor in the Department of Food and Chemical Engineering at Universidad de las Americas Puebla in Puebla, Mexico. Her area of interest is food processing and technology development, particularly nonthermal food processing and encapsulation of highly hydrophobic compounds.
David Umulis, assistant professor, Agricultural and Biological Engineering. David received his BSE in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. For postdoctoral studies, he completed a joint appointment in Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development and in the School of Mathematics, also at the University of Minnesota. His primary research interests include delineating mechanisms of early embryonic development and using multi-dimensional models to predict the expression of genes in response to dynamic extracellular signaling molecules called morphogens.
Kiersten Wise, assistant professor, Botany and Plant Pathology. Kiersten received her PhD from North Dakota State University, where she worked on disease control in chickpea. She also conducted extension programs on chickpea for North Dakota farmers. Her area of specialty is in the area of pathology of agronomic crops. She has a major extension program as well as research on the management and control of crop diseases.
Steven Wu, associate professor, Agricultural Economics. Steven will be joining the department in October, coming from The Ohio State University. His research and teaching interests are in the areas of Applied Contract Theory and Incentive Systems, Applied Microeconomics, Experimental Economics, Regulation and Public Policy related to Agricultural Contracting. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of California Berkeley in Agricultural and Resource Economics in December 2001.