Purdue Agriculture InFocus
June 2018
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From the Dean
Karen Plaut

Looking Forward.

By now, most of you know that I was offered and accepted the position of Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture. I am honored and humbled to be your dean and am excited about the opportunity to Look Forward. It is exciting to be at the helm of the College of Agriculture as we begin the celebration of Purdue’s 150th anniversary.  As part of that celebration over the next year, we will be focusing on innovation across the land grant mission. What does this mean? In each of our mission areas, we will be asking ourselves, how can Purdue prepare our students to be the best in the world as we move forward? What innovations will enhance their learning and their opportunities to make a real difference in society?  Purdue Extension will continue to provide science-based information to address issues in both rural and urban communities; how can Extension be innovative in the ways they engage with their audiences? What forms will innovation take in the research that our scientists do to address our world’s pressing problems?

Over the last 150 years, the world has changed greatly. As we embark on the next 150 years, how do we innovate to adjust to the changes that are happening in society? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker currently holds ten different jobs before age forty, and this number is projected to grow in the future. And the jobs of the future will likely be in areas we have not even heard of!  Just think of the recent big changes: Apple released the iPhone in June of 2007 – only 11 years ago. Tools such as Facebook and Twitter are less than 15 years old. Today, we use our mobile devices for everything we do--from booking taxi rides through Uber, to using AirBnB to find a place for vacation, to grocery shopping online from Walmart or Payless, to ordering meals from McDonald’s, Panera and more.  All of these services require the use of data for smart decision-making. There is no doubt that the ability to use, process, and analyze data will be critical for the next generation of students, for productive community engagement, and for advancing research in agriculture and the life sciences. 

Data science is truly the “next big thing” and it will play a prominent role in everything we do in the future. We are moving to revise our undergraduate curriculum to make sure all of our students are data literate. We are using these data and digital tools to work in our local communities in new and novel ways, including enhancement of our online course offerings and program delivery methods. We have developed Internet of Things (IoT) testbeds at our research farms that make it possible for our researchers to put together different types of data, such as images, weather, soil characteristics, and animal behavior to understand animal or cropping systems. Our basic science researchers are capturing data on genomes and marrying that with phenotyping data to make inferences that were never before possible, both in the lab and at the farm. As we move into Purdue's next 150 years, it is not just about meeting the land grant mission; it is about meeting the land grant mission with innovations that enhance our impact--and data science is one of the tools that can help us do that. We will continue to encourage and empower people to think in new, innovative ways—from the undergraduate classroom, to the county Extension office, to the laboratory and the farm. As Associate Dean Marcos Fernandez says, it’s an exciting time to be part of Purdue Agriculture!

All the best,

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Purdue Ag People
Joshua Craver

Graduate Research Spotlight, May

The Graduate Research Spotlight highlights graduate students and their work. The May spotlight is on Joshua Craver, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.

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Sushant Mehan
Graduate Research Spotlight, June
The June Graduate Research Spotlight is on Sushant Mehan, Agricultural and Biological Engineering.
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Gebisa Ejeta

Gebisa Ejeta named Chair of World Food Prize Laureate Selection Committee

The World Food Prize Foundation announced today that Gebisa Ejeta, 2009 World Food Prize Laureate, has assumed the position of Chair of the Laureate Selection Committee. As chair, Dr. Ejeta will direct the annual selection of the World Food Prize Laureate. Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation, said that Dr. Ejeta’s remarkable achievements have prepared him to assume this prestigious role.

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Haley Oliver

Haley Oliver named to federal food safety committee

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has appointed Haley Oliver, Food Science, to the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF).  The panel provides scientific advice, peer reviews and impartial expertise to federal food safety agencies on public health issues related to the wholesomeness of domestic, imported and exported foods. 

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Linda Mason
Mason chosen to lead Purdue Graduate School

Linda Mason, Professor of Entomology and Purdue Graduate School administrator, was named dean of the Graduate School on May 24. Dr. Mason has been at Purdue since 1991 as a faculty member in Entomology and joined the Graduate School in 2010 as associate dean, becoming interim dean in August 2017. She succeeds Mark J.T. Smith.

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College Walk/Run Program going full speed

More than 60 people are participating in the Purdue Agriculture Walk/Run Program, launched in May to promote activity and healthy living. The program runs through August 3 and still welcomes new participants. To sign up or ask questions, contact Becky Rice at rdr@purdue.edu.

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Awards and Recognitions
Marcos Fernandez
Marcos Fernandez, Associate Dean and Director of Academic Programs, received a Distinguished Educator Award from NACTA, North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture, for meritorious service to NACTA and higher education.
Liz Flaherty
Elizabeth Flaherty, Forestry and Natural Resources, received a Teacher Educator Award from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) at the group's 2018 conference.
Reuben Goforth
Reuben Goforth, Forestry and Natural Resources, received a Teacher Educator Award from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) at the group's 2018 conference.
Douglass Jacobs
Douglass Jacobs, Forestry and Natural Resources, has been named recipient of the 2018 Corinne Alexander Spirit of the Land Grant Mission Award. The award will be presented at a seminar and recep-tion in the fall.
Elizabeth Karcher
Elizabeth Karcher, Animal Sciences, received a 2018 Teacher Scholar Award from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA).
Pamala Morris
Pamala Morris, Assistant Dean and Director of the Office of Multicultural Programs, received a 2018 Teacher Scholar Award from the North Amer-ican Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA).
Kathryn Orvis
Kathryn Orvis,    Agricultural Sciences Education and Com-munication, received a 2018 Teacher Educator Award from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA).
Marisol Sepulveda
Marisol Sepúlveda, Forestry and Natural Resources, has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Purdue Agricultural Research Award.  Dr. Sepúlveda will give a seminar and receive the award during the Fall 2018 semester.
Sarah Mueller and Ota Akane
Sarah Mueller, Agronomy, and Akane Ota, Forestry and Natural Resources, won first and second place respectively in the Purdue Graduate School’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition in April. 
Emma Allen, Kami Knies, Jaclyn Leeuw, Elise Lofgren, all in Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication, and Shalyse Iseminger, Curriculum and Instruction, received 2018 NACTA Graduate Student Teacher Awards.
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Purdue Agriculture in the News
Tomas Hook and microplastics

Analysis: Most microplastic harm done at lowest levels of food web

Tomas Höök, Forestry and Natural Resources, led a comprehensive analysis of research concerning the effects of microplastics on aquatic life, with the results showing widely different impacts among different types of animals. Results of the study show serious potential consequences that could ripple throughout the food web.
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Extension food safety specialist: Consumers can be confident about Indiana melon crop

Following the recall of pre-cut melon products sold in eight states - including Indiana - due to possible Salmonella contamination, Scott Monroe, Purdue Extension, and Amanda Deering, Food Science, are reassuring consumers about the safety of the state’s melon crop.

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Urban path photo

Warmer, wetter weather will alter Indiana’s forests, urban greenspaces

Indiana’s forests and urban green infrastructure could look dramatically different over the next century due to warmer temperatures and changed precipitation patterns brought on by climate change, according to the latest two reports by the Purdue University-based Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment.
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Purdue CAB logo

CAB program focuses on developing resilient managers, teams

The Center for Food and Agricultural Business will host a seminar August 23-24 to help managers understand their own strengths, adapt through changes and empower their teams to become more resilient. The seminar will focus on ways teams can grow in the face of challenges brought on by constant change.

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Jian-Kang Zhu

CRISPR-edited rice plants produce major boost in grain yield

A team of scientists led by Jian-Kang Zhu, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, has used CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology to develop a variety of rice that produces 25-31 percent more grain and would have been virtually impossible to create through traditional breeding methods.

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Dr. Narsimhan

Simulations show how beta-amyloid may kill neural cells

Ganesan Narsimhan, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, has shown through computer simulations that beta-amyloid peptides, the protein fragments that form naturally in the brain and clump into plaques in Alzheimer’s disease patients, may accumulate to kill neural cells by boring holes into them. The work suggests targets that could offer new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.

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Farmers drop organic labels over certification process, access to markets, study says

Midwestern fruit and vegetable farmers are more likely than their counterparts in other regions to give up federal organic certification, according to a study co-authored by Ariana Torres, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture and Agricultural Economics, and Maria Marshall, Agricultural Economics.

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Soybean Oil graphic

New website provides essential information about high oleic soybeans

A new website produced by Purdue University is designed to help dieticians, educators, farmers, food industry professionals and consumers better understand the benefits of high oleic soybean oil, an emerging heart-healthy alternative to traditional cooking oils that are high in trans-fats.

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Plant Science Symposium

Plant Science symposium to focus on food security

Purdue University graduate students will discuss the “Future of Food Security” at the third annual Purdue Graduate Student Plant Science Symposium Aug. 2. The event is part of the Plant Science Symposia series organ-ized by graduate students in the plant sciences and sponsored by Corteva Agri-science, the agriculture division of DowDuPont.

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Dates and Deadlines

August 3-19: Indiana State Fair

August 8-9: New Faculty Tour

August 13: Academic Council Summer Retreat

August 13-17: Boiler Gold Rush

August 20: Fall Semester begins

For more dates and deadlines, check the Purdue Agriculture calendar.
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University News

Purdue’s pleasant surprise: Largest, most well-prepared class in history expected

Purdue University has once again overachieved its enrollment expectations — this time by a wide margin. The models used by the university’s admissions staff had projected a freshman class of 7,800 students, but it now appears 500 more students than anticipated will arrive for the fall semester. 

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Purdue ranks 17th among worldwide universities granted U.S. utility patents, marking fourth straight year in top 20

Purdue University is ranked 17th in the world among universities granted U.S. utility patents, marking the fourth straight year the university is in the National Academy of Inventors and Intellectual Property Owners Association’s list of top 20.

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Accomplished Clerical Excellence program accepting applications

The Accomplished Clerical Excellence program is accepting applications through July 13 for those interested in enhancing clerical knowledge, skills and abilities. ACE is available only to clerical staff members who have at least one consecutive year of Purdue service and have been in their current position at least six months. 

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Increased campus activity expected as summer STAR program kicks off with record attendance

More than 6,800 incoming students and about 10,000 of their guests will visit Purdue during the next few weeks for the Summer Transition, Advising and Registration orientation program, which will result in a higher volume of cars and an increase in pedestrian activity on central campus.

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Report Hate and Bias
Purdue University is a community where diversity is valued and incidents of hate and bias are not tolerated. Students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors who feel that they have been the victim of a bias related incident (or who have witnessed a bias related incident) are encouraged to report it online at www.purdue.edu/report-hate or to contact the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities at 765-494-1250. Your report can remain anonymous if you wish. Remember, if it is an emergency situation that requires immediate medical or emergency services attention, please call the Purdue University Police Department at 911 or 765-494-8221.
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Purdue Agriculture InFocus
Editor: Dinah L. McClure (dmcclure@purdue.edu)
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