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Purdue Agriculture dean appoints new food science department head

simsek portraitWEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Karen Plaut, Purdue University’s Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture, has appointed Senay Simsek as head of the Department of Food Science.

"We are excited to welcome Dr. Simsek home to the department, where she earned her doctorate. She has had an incredible career at North Dakota State University, rising to her current position of an endowed professor and earning an outstanding reputation as a researcher in food chemistry and carbohydrates," Plaut said. "She brings proven experience as a leader, researcher and teacher to the food science department and the college leadership team."

Simsek said, "I am truly honored to have the opportunity to lead Purdue’s food science department. During my graduate education at Purdue, I was trained by the best professors in the world and worked with outstanding colleagues. The food science faculty, staff and students have the extraordinary ability to bring together cutting-edge research and education across multiple disciplines to address national and global challenges. I look forward to working with the members of the department to advance our global impact."

After completing a bachelor's degree in chemistry and a master's in biochemistry from universities in Turkey, Simsek traveled to Purdue to pursue her doctorate in food science. After her graduation, she began her career at North Dakota State University in 2007 and has spent the ensuing 14 years there. She has received numerous awards for research and teaching and published more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles. Simsek currently is the Bert L. D'Appolonia Cereal Science and Technology of Wheat Endowed Professor.

Simsek describes the vision that inspired her to apply for and accept the position of food science department head.

"Food encompasses many areas of society. It is power; it is essential; it is personal; it is cultural; it is science, and no one can survive without it,” she said. “Currently, the food industry is going through a revolution. We have challenges and opportunities. Emerging technologies provide us a range of opportunities to transform our food and agriculture systems. We must develop a strong vision to enhance food science at Purdue with a focus on being at the forefront of research, training students and providing the best service to the scientific community and the citizens of Indiana, the United States and the world." 

Writer: Maureen Manier, mmanier@purdue.edu 

Source: Karen Plaut, kplaut@purdue.edu

Agricultural Communications: 765-494-8415;

Maureen Manier, Department Head, mmanier@purdue.edu

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