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Rainey appointed new director of Purdue Soybean Center

Karen Plaut, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of the College of Agriculture, has appointed Katy Martin Rainey as the new director of the Purdue University Soybean Center. Rainey, an associate professor of agronomy, specializes in soybean genetics and plant breeding.        

In making the appointment, Plaut acknowledged the contributions of Marshall Martin, professor of agricultural economics and senior associate director of agricultural research for the College of Agriculture. Martin was appointed founding director of the Purdue University Soybean Center in August 2014.

“Dr. Martin has done an extraordinary job identifying industry needs and opportunities for soybean related research and educational programs and building collaborative relationships among Purdue and other Midwest soybean centers,” Plaut said. “We look forward to the contributions that Dr. Rainey will make in her new role.

“She is an internationally recognized expert in soybean seed quality improvement. She will be seeking innovative ways to link the resources of our Controlled Environment Phenotyping Facility and Corn and Soybean Innovation Center to future collaborative and research opportunities.”
“Soybean is critical to global food security in terms of protein consumption,” said Rainey, who has been breeding soybeans for over 12 years with funding from farmers, the seed industry and federal agencies. Rainey plans to establish several working groups of Purdue faculty focused on areas of mutual interest with the objective of impacting the value chain nationally and globally.


Katy Rainey. (Purdue University photo). Katy Rainey. (Purdue University photo).

“Soybean is the fastest growing crop globally in terms of cultivated acres and there are many gaps in our understanding of environmental adaption. I hope to get more people focused on these topics,” Rainey said.

She also sees the Purdue Foundry entrepreneurism training and industry changes from recent seed company mergers as an opportunity to connect Purdue working groups with public-private partnerships and strategies to commercialize innovations.

“I believe my recent experience co-founding a company will be helpful to assist multidisciplinary teams,” she said.

Rainey has been a Purdue agriculture faculty member since 2012. She was previously on the faculty of Virginia Tech. She earned her undergraduate degree in botany from the University of Georgia and her Ph.D. in plant breeding from Cornell University.

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