Purdue Agriculture InFocus
Fall New Faculty Welcome
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Welcome to these faculty members who have joined us in recent months:
Jason Ackerson
Jason Ackerson, Assistant Professor, Agronomy. Jason earned a bachelor's degree in natural resources and environmental science from the University of Illinois and both his master's and doctorate in soil science from Texas A&M University. He spent a year as a postdoctoral research associate at Texas A&M before joining the Purdue faculty. Jason's PhD research focused on in-situ applications of Visible-near infrared (VisNIR) spectroscopy for proximal sensing of soil properties. He is a member of the Soil Science Society of America, the American Society of Agronomy, the american Geophysical Union, and the International Union of Soil Science.  
Jackie Boerman
Jacquelyn Boerman, Assistant Professor, Animal Sciences. Jacquelyn earned a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences from Cornell University with an emphasis on dairy health and management. She received a master's degree in animal sciences from the University of Illinois, and the Ph.D. in animal science from Michigan State University, where she researched lipid metabolism in lactating dairy cattle. Following the Ph.D., she spent two and a half years working in technical support and new hire training for Cargill Animal Nutrition.  Her research interests include nutritional strategies to influence energy partitioning and in-crease component efficiency in lactating dairy cattle. Her research and extension goals are to improve profitability of dairy farms by more pre-cisely feeding nutrients to maximize milk components and feed efficiency.   
Tim Johnson
Timothy Johnson, Assistant Professor, Animal Sciences. Tim earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental soil science from Brigham Young University and a doctorate in crop and soil science from Michigan State University. He also served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Infectious Disease Research at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, and at the USDA National Animal Disease Center. His research program will focus on understanding the diverse impacts of antimicrobial use in agriculture on microbial communities and antibiotic resistant genes and the sustainability of these impacts. He will also study how the microbiome influences nutrition and health in food animals, largely poultry and swine. This semester, he is co-instructing ANSC 660, Intestinal Microbiology & Immunology.
Jayson Lusk
Jayson Lusk, Distinguished Professor and Head, Department of Agricultural Economics. Jayson received his bachelor’s degree in food technology from Texas Tech University and his PhD in agricultural economics from Kansas State University. His first academic appointment was as an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Mississippi State University. He then joined the Purdue Department of Agricultural Economics as an associate professor from 2003 to 2005, followed by a move to Oklahoma State University. He is a food and agricultural economist who studies what we eat and why we eat it. He has published on a wide assort-ment of topics ranging from the economics of animal welfare to consumer preferences for genetically modified food to the impacts of new technologies and policies on livestock and meat markets to analyzing the merits of new survey and experimental approaches eliciting consumer preferences. 
Scott McAdam
Scott McAdam, Assistant Professor, Botany and Plant Pathology. Scott earned a bachelor’s degree and doctorate in plant evolutionary physiology from the University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia. He followed his doctorate with an Australian Research Council Early Career Fellowship. Scott's research focuses on revealing the major evolutionary steps that occurred over the past 400 million years as the common ancestor of land plants crawled from the water and radiated into the diverse modern  flora around us today.  A central focus of his current research is understanding the evolutionary origin of drought tolerance and diversity in land plants.  By understanding the evolutionary history of the traits that make plants successful at surviving on land today, Scott's research program provides a new way of identifying targets for improving agricultural species as well as building predictions for plant survival into the future.
Kranthi Varala

Kranthi Varala, Assistant Professor, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. Kranthi earned his bachelor’s degree from Osmania University, India. He earned a doctoral degree in crop sciences from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a focus on bioinformatics and genomic applications in crop species. At New York University, he conducted postdoctoral research in the systems biology of nitrogen assimilation and using phylogenetic approaches to discover gene-to-trait associations. His research at Purdue focuses on how plants perceive abiotic stress and alter their transcriptional programs as a response to the specific stress. His lab aims to capture genetic variation and the resultant transcriptional states leading to plant resilience by using a combination of genomic, systems biology and phylogenetic tools.

Jennifer Wisecaver

Jennifer Wisecaver, Assistant Professor, Biochemistry. Jennifer earned her BS in Biology from Humboldt State University in Arcata, California and her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona in Tucson. As an NSF National Plant Genome Initiative Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Vanderbilt University she developed a high-throughput approach using gene co-expression networks to identify the genes that form secondary metabolic pathways in plants. Her research involves studying the birth, evolution, and death of ecologically specialized metabolic pathways in plants, fungi, and microbial eukaryotes using comparative genomics, coexpression networks, and phylogenetics. By integrating findings across diverse lineages, she aims to evaluate the timing, consequence, and generality of different genetic mechanisms underlying the evolution of novel traits in organisms.

Mitch Zischke

Mitchell Zischke, Clinical Assistant Professor, Forestry and Natural Resources. Mitchell earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in tropical marine science and a doctorate in fisheries science, both from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. In 2007/08 and 2014, Mitchell worked for federal and state fisheries management agencies in Australia. He came to Purdue in 2014 as a postdoctoral research associate focusing on fish recruitment and habitat assessment in the Great Lakes. In 2016, Mitchell transitioned to a research and Extension fishery scientist position with Purdue and the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant. His Extension program has focused on anglers, scientists and fishery managers in the Great Lakes and will expand to include private landowners, lake associations and other stakeholders throughout Indiana and Illinois. Mitchell will continue to contribute to the Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences curriculum in FNR, teaching undergraduate courses on marine biology, fish ecology and fisheries management.

Purdue Agriculture InFocus
Editor: Dinah L. McClure (dmcclure@purdue.edu)
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