March 2015

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From the Dean

Jay AkridgeMuch has been going on behind the scenes with the creation of our 2015-2020 strategic plan. Over the last couple of months, 27 listening sessions were held around the state involving hundreds of stakeholders. A big, big thanks to all of the Extension Educators, Extension Specialists, and Dr. Jason Henderson’s team for the work they did to plan and deliver these sessions. We were able to hear from individuals from across our state and they provided insight on what we are doing well, and even more importantly, where we can get better. Urban agriculture/work with small farms; ‘science communications’ and helping the public understand contemporary agricultural technology; and strengthening research-Extension linkages were just a few of the themes that emerged from these conversations. In addition, multiple surveys of faculty, staff, and students have been conducted to capture the thoughts of those inside the College.

Our Strategic Plan Task Force has been hard at work since last fall and hit a key milestone on March 6 when they submitted a draft of the ‘Making it happen’ section of the plan. This section, which will be our roadmap over the next five years, contains goals for our College to achieve, as well as initiatives and actions to support those goals. The group has also been working to identify metrics to help us measure our progress. I can’t say thanks enough to this group (listed below) for the energy and creativity they have brought to this activity. Some of the ideas they have put forward address supporting innovation in the College; building a truly welcoming and inclusive climate; becoming ‘the’ place that industry comes for talent and a place that provides an extraordinary foundation for graduate and professional school; and fully exploiting our land-grant status by integrating activities across research-teaching-extension in world-leading ways. Based on the group’s work, we will also have a separate theme for international activities in the 2015-2020 strategic plan.

The group has done a real service for the College – but they are not yet finished with their work! We will be working to pull the ideas of five teams together over the next few weeks into a draft of the full strategic plan. In April, we will begin vetting the plan with the College. A number of listening sessions have been scheduled: April 16, 9:00-10:00 a.m.; April 20, 8:30-9:30 a.m.; April 29, Noon-1:00 p.m. All sessions will be in the Deans Auditorium, Room 241 Pfendler Hall.

I hope you will join us if your schedule allows. We need your feedback and ideas on the strategic plan as we develop the final version. Obviously, you will be able to provide feedback electronically as well if you can’t make a listening session. Thanks in advance for helping us craft a bold and ambitious agenda for the next five years. And, have a great Spring Break!

All the best,



Strategic Plan Task Force:
Teaching Team
Mike Gunderson, AGEC (Chair)
Cale Bigelow, HLA
Haley Oliver, FS
Shelby Swain, AGEC
Mark Russell, ANSC
LeeAnn Williams, AGEC
Marcos Fernandez, OAP

Research Team
Barb Golden, BCHM (Chair)
Todd Applegate, ANSC
Ian Kaplan, ENTM
Joseph Irudayaraj, ABE
Songlin Fei, FNR
Ron Turco, AGRY
Ben Gramig, AGEC
Cliff Weil, AGRY
Karen Plaut, ARP

Extension Team
Steve Wagoner, Extension (Co-Chair)
Rod Williams, FNR (Co-Chair)
Jon Leuck, ARP/PAC
Becky Theller, Ag Comm
Kiersten Wise, BTNY
Curt Emanuel, Extension
Jason Henderson, Extension

International Team
Suzanne Nielsen, FS (Chair)
Heather Fabries, IPIA
Cherise Hall, Business Office
Klein Ileleji, ABE
Phillip Owens, AGRY
Jess Lowenberg-DeBoer, IPIA

Climate/Community Team
Linda Prokopy, FNR (Chair)
Brittini Brown, YDAE
Bernie Engel, ABE
Joan Fulton, AGEC
Leanne McGiveron, AgIT
Mark Tucker, YDAE
Kris Parker, Extension
Pam Morris, OMP

Purdue Agriculture People



Graduate Research Spotlight: Alencar Xavier 

Alencar XavierThe Graduate Research Spotlight highlights graduate students and their work. This month’s spotlight is on Alencar Xavier, Agronomy; advisors Katy Rainey (AGRY) and Bill Muir (ANSC).

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Jess Lowenberg-DeBoer to step down in International Programs in Agriculture

Jess Lowenberg DeBoerDr. Jess Lowenberg-DeBoer, Associate Dean and Director of International Programs in Agriculture, has decided to return to his faculty position in Agricultural Economics on January 1, 2016. "What Jess and IPIA have accomplished over the past ten years is a real point of pride for our College," said Dean Jay Akridge. "Large scale and high impact engagement projects, growth in study abroad, and increased visibility for our international efforts on campus and around the world – it has been an exciting time for international work in our College. I believe his voice here has made us a much more internationally engaged College." A national search will be conducted for a new Associate Dean and Director of International Programs in Agriculture. Dean Akridge will chair the committee and the following faculty and staff members have agreed to serve:

  • Corinne Alexander, Ag Economics
  • Laura Bergdoll, Ag Business Office
  • Paul Ebner, Animal Sciences
  • Heather Fabries, International Programs in Agriculture
  • Peter Hirst, Horticulture & Landscape Architecture
  • Klein Ileleji, Ag & Biological Engineering
  • John Lumkes, Ag & Biological Engineering
  • Amanda Mosiman, Purdue Extension
  • Suzanne Nielsen, Food Science
  • Ragu Raghothama, International Programs in Agriculture
  • Jerry Shively, Ag Economics
  • Jeff Stuart, Entomology
  • Linda Vallade, International Programs in Agriculture


Howard Buffett to visit for Presidential Lecture Series

Howard BuffettHoward Buffett will be part of the Spring 2015 Presidential Lecture Series, an ongoing series of diverse lectures on policy, leadership, culture and society. The series features prominent experts and practitioners from various fields of interest for both academics and the community at-large. Connected with each public presentation, speakers are integrated into relevant curricular activities on the West Lafayette campus during their visits. Howard Buffett will speak on "Challenges and Solutions to Achieving Global Food Security" on March 12 at 6:30 p.m. Stewart Center's Fowler Hall. Along with President Mitch Daniels, Buffett will discuss challenges and solutions to achieving global food security as well as his book "40 Chances." In addition to managing the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Buffett oversees farms in central Illinois and Nebraska and oversees three foundation-operated research farms in Arizona, Illinois and South Africa. He has traveled to 130 countries and authored eight books on conservation, wildlife, and the human condition.

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Finalists set for Youth Development and Agricultural Education Department Head

Three candidates have been invited to interview for the Youth Development and Agricultural Education Department Head position. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend the seminar presentations of the candidates, which will be streamed and archived on the department head search site linked to the department home page.  The candidate credentials and feedback forms will also soon be available via this site.

Finalists are:

Dr. Mark Russell, Purdue University
Interview:  Wednesday and Thursday, April 1 & 2
Seminar: Wednesday, April 1, 9:00 a.m. in Deans Auditorium, Pfendler Hall

Dr. Matthew Kaplan, Pennsylvania State University
Interview:  Monday and Tuesday, April 6 & 7
Seminar: Monday, April 6, 9:00 a.m. in Deans Auditorium, Pfendler Hall

Dr. Anna Ball, University of Missouri
Interview:  Thursday and Friday, April 9 & 10
Seminar: Thursday, April 9, 9:00 a.m. in Deans Auditorium, Pfendler Hall


Purdue ABE graduate program rated best seventh year in row

US NewsThe Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering has been selected by U.S. News & World Report for the seventh consecutive year as offering the best such graduate specialty program in the nation. The complete rankings of what U.S. News & World Report considers the best agricultural and biological engineering graduate programs is available on the magazine's website at The magazine also rated Purdue's undergraduate ABE program No.1 last fall for the third consecutive year.


Spring Learning from Leaders Program set

Beth BechdolFaculty, staff and students are invited to join us for the Spring 2015 Learning from Leaders talk presented by Beth Bechdol on Monday, March 23 at 3:30 pm in the Pfendler Hall Deans Auditorium. Ms. Bechdol is Director of Agribusiness Strategies at IceMiller LLP and President and CEO of AgriNovus Indiana. She will speak on the topic "Your Professional Network: Who You Know Does Matter!"

More information:


Distinguished Agriculture Alumni to be honored April 3

Agriculture faculty, staff and students are invited to meet and celebrate the 2015 Distinguished Agriculture Alumni on Friday, April 3. The college reception begins at 2:30 p.m., followed by the Distinguished Agriculture Alumni convocation at 3:30, both in the North Ballroom of the Purdue Memorial Union.

More information on the 2015 Distinguished Agriculture Alumni:



Turco appointed director of Purdue Global Sustainability Institute in Discovery Park

Ron TurcoAgronomy professor Ronald Turco, who has served as director of the Purdue Water Community since its inception in 2011, has been selected as the new director of the Purdue Global Sustainability Institute in Discovery Park. Turco will serve two years as the director of GSI, guiding its mission to advance research and education for supporting the sustainability goals of communities, states and nations. He also has been appointed assistant dean of agricultural and environmental research for the College of Agriculture. The appointments are effective immediately. In his role as assistant dean for the College of Agriculture, Turco will work with faculty to address critical challenges for Indiana in water quality and soil health. He will utilize the statewide network of extension educators to serve statewide needs and help improve water and soil health in local communities.

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Carroll named director of Phenomics for Purdue Agriculture

April Agee CarrollPlant geneticist April Agee Carroll has been named director of Phenomics for the Purdue University College of Agriculture under the Plant Sciences Research and Education Pipeline initiative. Karen Plaut, senior associate dean for research and faculty affairs for Purdue Agriculture, announced the appointment this month. Carroll started the position remotely and will arrive on the West Lafayette campus June 1. Carroll, whose résumé includes a number of research awards, most recently served as the Controlled Environments Research and Technology Development Lead for DuPont Pioneer in Johnston, Iowa. In her new role, she will work with researchers to enable them to take advantage of new high-throughput technology developed for plant phenotyping, or identifying and measuring plant characteristics. Purdue Agriculture is expanding its capacity in this area through new laboratory and greenhouse facilities and a new Automated Field Phenotyping and Seed Processing building at the college's Agronomy Farm for Research and Education.

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New 'Boiler Bytes' segments on YouTube showcase Agriculture work

Global SoundscapesTwo new installments in the video news series "Boiler Bytes" have been posted on Purdue's YouTube site, furnishing fresh glimpses into the ways Purdue makes a difference in lives and knowledge. The segments, each about six to nine minutes in length, feature forestry and natural resources's Bryan Pijanowski's work on global soundscapes and horticulture researchers who are working to restore the century-past Midwest tradition of growing hops.

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Purdue Parents Network a resource for Purdue employees with kids

kidsThe Purdue Parents Network (PPN) is a resource created by parents (and their concerned friends) for parents. The group's goal is to provide an avenue for parents within Purdue University to network, share information, and find support within the Purdue community. All Purdue employees with families (and those thinking of starting a family) are invited to join the Purdue Parent Network.

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Training modules available for faculty and staff

Risk Management, in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance and the Office of the Vice President for Human Resources, announces the availability of the Risk Management Employment Claims Initiative education program. The program helps employees and supervisors understand employment-related issues such as discrimination, harassment, disability awareness and accommodations, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), overtime rates, and other university leave policies. Participants will complete four training modules and corresponding certification quizzes: 1) Equal Opportunity; 2) Americans with Disabilities Act; 3) Wage and Hour Issues for Employees and Supervisors; and 4) Family and Medical Leave Act and University Leave Policies.

The training modules and instructions for accessing the certification quizzes are located on the Purdue Employee Portal. Each training module is approximately 20 to 25 minutes long. Training on the Americans with Disabilities Act and Equal Opportunity will also fulfill College of Agriculture requirements for civil rights training as required by the USDA. All faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to complete these training modules. Faculty and staff participation in these training modules impacts the College's share of insurance costs.

Awards and Recognitions


Joseph IrudayarajJoseph Irudayaraj, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, received a 2015 College of Engineering Faculty Award of Excellence in recognition of excellence in research. The award recognizes impact of research; national and international recognitions of the research; interdisciplinary activities; and research output (publications, citations, patents, etc.)




Jenna RickusJenna Rickus, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, received a 2015 College of Engineering Faculty Award of Excellence in recognition of excellence in the advising and mentoring of students. The award recognizes nurturing students to successful professional careers with especially cogent personal or academic advising; and leadership in an engineering student organization(s) to create and/or sustain a climate that empowers the organization’s members to effectively team and to develop leadership and communication skills for their professional careers.


Jim BeatyJim Beaty, superintendent of the Purdue University Agronomy Center for Research and Education since 1986, has received the Research Center Administrators Society's Distinguished Service Award. The award, given for service, leadership and outstanding contributions to RCAS over an extended period, was presented Feb. 3 during the group's annual meeting. RCAS is the national society for administrators of field stations, research and education centers or other branch research facilities of state agricultural experiment stations. 



Allie AbneyAllie Abney (right) was presented the Outstanding Sophomore in Agricultural Communication Award by Ann Hinch (left) of Farm World. The $500 award and plaque recognize a rising sophomore for his/her contributions to the public understanding of agriculture, outstanding academic performance, and involvement in professional and community activities.



Cameron MannCameron Mann (right) was presented the Outstanding Junior in Agricultural Communication Award by Courtney Schafer (left) of The Farmers Exchange. The $500 award and plaque recognize scholarship and involvement, as well as outstanding journalistic performance and potential.



Purdue Agriculture in the News


Drug combo suppresses growth of late-stage prostate cancer tumors

Xioqi LiuLow doses of metformin, a widely used diabetes medication, and a gene inhibitor known as BI2536 can successfully halt the growth of late-stage prostate cancer tumors, a Purdue University study finds. Prostate cancer causes the second-highest number of cancer-related deaths in men in the U.S., and methods of treating advanced prostate cancer are limited. Xiaoqi Liu (pronounced zhow-CHEE' LEE'-oo), associate professor of biochemistry and cancer research, and fellow researchers found that the drugs metformin and BI2536 can work together to suppress the spread of prostate cancer that resists all other available treatments, potentially prolonging patients' lives. "We've found a promising way to treat late-stage prostate cancer," Liu said. "By combining low levels of two well-tolerated drugs, the progression of this disease could be significantly delayed. Completely curing the cancer at the advanced stage is pretty much impossible, but this treatment might manage it for a while - that's exciting."

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Purdue Ag researcher in project to lessen impact of soybean plant disease

SoybeansA team composed of Dr. Kiersten Wise, Botany and Plant Pathology, and others from several Midwest universities and Canada is studying soybean sudden death syndrome to help farmers better protect their crop from the recurring disease. Most Indiana soybean fields had some level of the disease last year, the most severe since 2010, noted Wise, an associate professor of plant pathology. Even though the disease reduced yields, Indiana soybean farmers still produced a record crop last year, at 307.4 million bushels. Wise and other researchers from Iowa State University, Michigan State University, the University of Illinois and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture have been looking for answers beyond typical production practices, which include crop rotation and planting disease-resistant varieties. That hasn't been enough to stop the disease. "We wanted to look at how a combination of various production practices affected SDS to determine a better management strategy," she said.

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Purdue Agriculture seeking applicants for student research programs

Amy JonesThe College of Agriculture is accepting applications for the 2015 Molecular Agriculture Summer Institute undergraduate and pre-college programs. The MASI programs, which launched in 2014, were created by Purdue Agriculture's Office of Academic Programs. They are part of the college's Plant Sciences Research and Education Pipeline, an initiative under the Purdue Moves campaign. Pre-College MASI applications are open to Indiana high school sophomores and juniors (at the time of application) with grade-point averages of at least 3.0. Applications are due April 15. The MASI Fellows program is available to current Purdue undergraduates. Applications are due by April 1. Applications for both programs can be accessed at According to Amy Jones, plant sciences recruitment and outreach coordinator, the pre-college program runs June 14-20. It offers participants the opportunity to spend a week on Purdue's West Lafayette campus, working with faculty, exploring research facilities and participating in tours and discussions with industry leaders.The MASI Fellows program runs May 25 through July 31. It allows undergraduates to pursue summer research projects broadly related to the plant sciences. Participants can select their own faculty mentors or submit a project for program coordinators to try to match them with faculty mentors based on interest. They also will attend faculty and industry seminars and tours.

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Purdue Extension partners to offer grant writing workshops

Farmers MarketSix grant writing workshops are being offered in Indiana to help potential applicants understand, develop and submit their federal grant applications for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program. The Purdue Extension Local Food Program, in collaboration with the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, is partnering with theU.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service and National Institute for Food and Agriculture to conduct the grant writing workshops. Jodee Ellett, Purdue Extension's local foods coordinator and Indiana state coordinator for the project, said the grant programs will award $30 million in 2015 to local food system projects. The workshops are part of the Agricultural Marketing Service Technical Assistance Project.

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Causes of Great Lakes smelt population decline are complex

Great Lakes SmeltThe reasons for the dwindling population of smelt prey fish in the Great Lakes to near historic lows are more complicated than previously believed, new research from Purdue University and collaborators suggests. Although results of the 2014 study show that the number of smelt surviving their first few months actually has been rising since 2000, the increase in hatchlings isn't producing more adults. Whatever the cause, the loss of adult rainbow smelt is keeping the population on a downward trend even as offspring survival improves. Perhaps the most surprising finding is that offspring survival is on the rise in Lake Michigan despite the fact that their parents are on average about 2 inches shorter now than what they were in the 1970s, dropping from about 6.5 inches in length to about 4.5. "We were expecting to see a decrease in productivity because the adults are maturing at smaller sizes, which should mean fewer eggs and less healthy hatchlings," said lead author Zach Feiner, a Purdue doctoral student of Tomas Höök, associate professor of fisheries and aquatic sciences. "This raises a lot of questions about how well we understand rainbow smelt fisheries."

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Hydrogel baits offer novel way to manage invasive ants

Grzegorz BuckzkowskiWater-storing crystals known as hydrogels can effectively deliver pesticide bait to invasive Argentine ants, quickly decimating a colony, a Purdue Entomology study finds. Pesticide sprays and baits are common tactics for managing pest ants. But sprays can have little long-term impact and carry environmental costs such as chemical contamination of soil and water sources. Baits also present challenges: Ants prefer liquid food to solids, rendering granular baits less appetizing. But liquid baits can be difficult and costly to dispense, maintain and clean up. Associate professor of entomology Grzegorz Buczkowski  and fellow researchers tested the ability of hydrogels - crystals that can absorb 300 times their dry weight in water - to deliver liquid bait to invasive ants. They found that hydrogels saturated with a small amount of the chemical thiamethoxam dissolved in sugar water reduced the Argentine ant population in an orchard by about 94 percent in two weeks. "When you drop hydrogels on the ground next to a colony, the ants really go crazy. It's like a big party," Buczkowski said. "This has great potential for managing invasive ants in other agricultural systems and natural environments. You could treat a whole vineyard using hydrogels."

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Purdue Extension offers training in rainscaping

rain scapePurdue Extension is starting a program that will provide training and resources on "rainscaping" practices used in residential gardens or small-scale public spaces to reduce pollution from runoff. The Purdue Rainscaping Education Program will begin in April with pilot workshops focusing on planning, installing and maintaining rain gardens. The workshops will train Purdue master gardeners, personnel in conservation agencies and organizations, storm water professionals, and landscape professionals and consultants. Rainscaping uses landscape design and management practices - at both the household and community scales, such as at schools, community centers and fairgrounds - that enable plants and soils to absorb storm water, reducing runoff from fertilizers and other pollutants that eventually reaches lakes, streams and rivers. The program consists of five three-hour training sessions and educational service opportunities for volunteers in the Purdue Master Gardener Program. The workshops include classroom instruction through online learning and field trips to community rainscaping projects. Participants will create a demonstration rain garden with community partners in a public space.

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Genome reveals how Hessian fly causes galls in wheat

Jeff StuartA team of researchers from 26 institutions around the world has sequenced the Hessian fly genome, shedding light on how the insect creates growth-stunting galls in wheat. Hessian fly larvae can destroy entire wheat fields by injecting seedlings with potent saliva that "hijacks" the plants' biochemistry, irreversibly halting development and forcing the seedlings to produce a leaky tissue that contains nutrients for the larvae. But how the insect is able to slip past plant defenses to create these galls - that is, the plant's stunted growth - has not been well understood. "The Hessian fly is basically a plant pathogen in the shape of an insect," said Jeffrey Stuart, co-author of the study and professor of insect molecular genetics in the Department of Entomology. "If we have a deeper understanding of how the insect is attacking the plant and how it avoids detection, we may be able to develop new ways of making resistant wheat more durable and better advise growers on which varieties to plant."

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Economic models provide insights into global sustainability challenges

Tom HertelUsing models that blend global economics, geography, ecology and environmental sciences is essential to understanding how changes in trade and natural systems in one part of the world affect those in another, a review concludes. Tom Hertel, distinguished professor of agricultural economics, collaborated with an interdisciplinary team of experts led by Jianguo Liu of Michigan State University to determine how systems integration - using holistic frameworks to model many components of both human and natural systems - could shed insights on how activities in one part of the world can have significant impacts on distant regions. Hertel said these multivariable models could help policymakers make better-informed decisions, further scientists' understanding of the links between trade and the global environment, and aid natural resource managers in making management choices that will sustain resources such as clean water and air for future generations.

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Purdue partners with Indiana zoos for hellbender conservation

Rod WilliamsPurdue is partnering with three Indiana zoos and the state in a conservation program that will involve raising year-old hellbender salamanders and then a few years later returning them to their southern Indiana habitat to be tracked. Rod Williams, associate professor of wildlife science and leader of the university's hellbender effort, approached officials at Columbian Park Zoo in Lafayette, Fort Wayne Children's Zoo and Mesker Park Zoo in Evansville about joining the program, which also includes the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. North America's largest salamander is in decline nationally and is most vulnerable to predators when young. Williams and his team collected 300 eggs from the Blue River in southern Indiana, currently the only location in the state where the salamander is found, and they were hatched at Purdue's Aquaculture Research Lab.

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Spero Energy, Guarders take top spots at 28th annual Purdue Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition

Business Plan CompetitionThe business plan presented on Spero Energy Inc. by Ian Klein, Chemistry (left), and Barron Hewetson (right), a graduate student in agricultural and biological engineering, took the $30,000 top prize in the Gold Division for graduate students at the 28th annual event, which was held in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship in Discovery Park. Spero is developing a one-step selective lignin conversion technology that could revolutionize the biorefinery industry. "This is one of my favorite days of the year to see these 10 student-led teams present their business ideas for how they hope to change the world one company at a time," said Joseph Pekny, interim director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. "I'm amazed at the quality of the business plans and the caliber of the presentations."

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Study yields insights into how plant cells grow

plant cytoskeletonA study by Purdue University plant scientists and University of Nebraska-Lincoln engineers advances our understanding of how plants control their shape and development at the cellular level. Their findings could help researchers engineer better cotton fibers, improve plant defense against insects, alter plant architecture and toughen root response to drought. "This collaboration enabled us to learn more about what really controls plant cell shape in one year than we had in the previous 10," said Daniel Szymanski, professor of botany and plant pathology and leader of the research team. "The degree to which our discoveries linked interacting systems and provided clear explanations for cell shape control was great. The opportunities to apply this knowledge are limitless." The team used a combination of experimental data from live plant cells and computational modeling to gain new insights into how plant cytoskeletons - intricate networks of protein fibers and tubes within cells - cooperate to produce complex cell shapes.

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Precision ag company launches new Web and mobile app to control pests, disease and improve soil nutrients

spensa logoSpensa Technologies Inc., a precision agriculture company in Purdue Research Park, has launched a new Web and mobile enabled application to help growers and consultants more efficiently scout insects, weeds and disease, identify agronomic issues and nutrient deficiencies. The new application, called "OpenScout," helps field and crop advisers to more easily identify and document the locations of insects, weeds, disease, nutrient deficiencies and general agronomic issues and assign a severity in a more precise manner so growers can strategically mitigate problems before they spread.OpenScout also tracks the scout's route through the field as a record when no observations are recorded.

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Purdue, Vincennes renew student transfer program

Vincennes UniversityThe Purdue College of Agriculture and the Vincennes University College of Science, Engineering and Mathematics have signed a transfer agreement to both continue and expand a cooperative agricultural education program that has been in place for nearly six decades. Students in the VU-Purdue Cooperative Agriculture Transfer Program who complete an Associate of Science degree in agriculture or a related science degree at VU can move to Purdue for the final two years to complete a bachelor's degree. In February 1957, then-presidents Frederick L. Hovde of Purdue and Isaac K. Beckes of VU agreed to a one-year trial. The program has been offered continuously since, making it one of the oldest such agreements in the nation. Agreement provisions allow VU students to be treated the same as resident Purdue students entering their junior year in the College of Agriculture. Lower tuition costs, being close to home and attending a smaller university are among the top reasons students choose to begin at VU.

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University News

Purdue to keep current leave program in place for additional year; recommend enhancements to bereavement, parental leave now

Purdue University announced March 9 that its current leaves program will remain in place for the 2015-16 fiscal year, which runs through June 30, 2016, in order to provide time to further assess the program and its effect on faculty and staff. William Sullivan, Purdue treasurer and chief financial officer, made the announcement after meetings over the past week with four groups of university employees and after reviewing emails provided following the sessions. Sullivan notified faculty and staff via all-campus email of the plan to hold off on changes to the overall leaves program. He did announce, however, that he is recommending to the Executive Policy Review Group two components of the proposed program take effect as of July 1, 2015. Bereavement leave would be extended to five days, and all parents across all categories would be provided six weeks of parental leave.

Full story:,-parental-leave-now.html



$40 million Lilly Endowment grant to power high-tech transformations at Purdue

The biggest cash donation in Purdue University’s history will fund initiatives designed to foster groundbreaking research, expand high-tech job growth throughout Indiana as well as nationally and globally, and enhance opportunities for students. Lilly Endowment Inc. announced Feb. 18 a $40 million grant to support five transformational projects in the colleges of Engineering and Technology as well as Purdue Libraries. “This is an important moment in Purdue history,” President Mitch Daniels said. “It’s now our duty to turn it into a significant event in Indiana history by delivering even more world-class engineers, technologists and leaders of all kinds, along with the discoveries, innovations and new jobs that great research produces.” Sara B. Cobb, vice president of education for Lilly Endowment, said, “These projects hold great promise to be real game-changers. With its considerable strengths in engineering and technology, Purdue is poised for significant impact in research, education and economic development.”

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McCuskey named vice provost for student life

Beth McCuskey has been named vice provost for student life, effective immediately. McCuskey, who had been serving as interim vice provost, will report directly to Deba Dutta, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. She will work closely with Frank Dooley, vice provost for teaching and learning, and Pam Horne, dean of admissions and associate vice provost for enrollment management, to integrate programs and initiatives for the Division of Student Academic Affairs. McCuskey's responsibilities will include fostering program initiatives and providing guidance related to the following areas: Arts, Culture and Ideas, Dean of Students, Purdue University Student Health Center/Counseling and Psychological Services, Leadership Development, Recreational Sports, Student Activities and Organizations, Purdue Dining and Catering, Purdue Memorial Union, and University Residences/Residential Life. McCuskey also will provide leadership for the Purdue Moves initiative to increase the opportunity for students to live on campus by working to add 25 percent more beds to University residences.

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Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center to open at Purdue

Purdue University's Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center will open soon. "We are excited to bring this new center on board," said G. Christine Taylor, vice provost for diversity and inclusion. "The AAARCC will provide support to our Asian American and Asian students and provide opportunities for education and awareness for our entire campus community." Victoria Loong, who was appointed interim director of AAARCC in January, has guided the center's development by working with several departments and individuals. She is a recent Purdue graduate who received a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology. "There has been a long history of concerted efforts to establish this new resource on campus and it has been thrilling to see those efforts realized," Loong said. "I am honored to have been a part of this undertaking as a student and to now have the opportunity to return as an alumna to help the center become a reality."

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Human Resources encourages supervisors to use new employee orientation

The Office of the Vice President for Human Resources implemented University-wide orientation for new employees in 2012. The goal of this program is to support new staff members in assimilating quickly and successfully into the Purdue culture and to offer a foundation of knowledge regarding mission, organizational structure and functions. New employee orientation is offered weekly on Mondays. Supervisors should register new employees for orientation at the time an open position is filled. The success of this program depends on supervisors' registering employees to take part. Participation is highly encouraged, and feedback is welcome. To register for new employee orientation or new supervisor training, go to Additional tools, including onboarding assistance, an agenda for orientation, parking information and upcoming dates and locations, are available online at Questions about new employee orientation may be directed to Teresa Rohler at 49-41679 or