Purdue Agriculture InFocus
Spring New Faculty Welcome
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Welcome to these faculty members who have joined us in recent months:
Christian Cruz
Christian Cruz, Assistant Professor, Botany and Plant Pathology. Christian earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from The Pan-American Agricultural University in Honduras and his master’s and doctorate in plant pathology from The Ohio State University and Kansas State University. He was a postdoctoral researcher and Research Assistant Professor with the Blast Integrated Project group at Kansas State University, where he conducted and coordinated research on the intractable wheat blast disease. His research focuses on the integration of fungal ecology, epidemiology, and host resistance for plant disease management. On a broader scale, his research program is aimed at developing effective management strategies for crop diseases. His specialties include plant pathology, crop biosecurity, risk assessment, plant disease resistance, epidemiology, and remote sensing applications.
Haohua Betty Feng
Yaohua “Betty” Feng, Assistant Professor, Food Science. Betty earned her bachelor’s degree in food engineering from the Southern China University of Technology and her master’s in sensory science and doctorate in food science from the University of California, Davis. She did postdoctoral research at UC Davis and was also a lecturer at California State University, Sacramento. Before coming to Purdue, she also worked in the nutraceutical industry as a sensory scientist in Grand Rapids, Michigan. At Purdue, Betty is an Extension Specialist in food safety microbiology, focusing on pre- and post-harvest interventions to enhance microbial safety of food. She uses interdisciplinary tools to investigate gaps in food safety practice compliance and develop food safety strategies for food handlers and consumers.
Xing Liu
Xing Liu, Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Purdue Center for Plant Biology. Xing earned her bachelor’s degree in Bioscience and Biotechnology from Beijing Normal University  and her Ph.D. in Plant Biological Sciences from the University of Minnesota. Before joining Purdue, she worked as a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology, as a research fellow of the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research. Her research is focused on understanding biochemical mechanisms underlying protein ubiquitination and degradation. Her goal is to advance knowledge of how proper cellular activities and plant growth are controlled by protein modification and degradation, which are important for both agriculture and human health.
Mohit Verma
Mohit Verma, Assistant Professor, Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Mohit earned his bachelor's of applied science in nanotechnology engineering at the University of Waterloo in 2012 and his doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Waterloo in 2015. He completed a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship (2015-2017) in Professor George Whitesides' Laboratory in Harvard University. During his undergraduate and doctorate work, he utilized nanotechnology to develop solutions for problems in drug delivery, biosensors, and agriculture. As a postdoctoral fellow, he broadened his research to the fields of low-cost diagnostics, soft robotics, and the gut microbiome. As a faculty member, Dr. Verma’s goal is to engineer human microbiomes for improving health.
Purdue Agriculture InFocus
Editor: Dinah L. McClure (dmcclure@purdue.edu)
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