The College of Agriculture welcomes six new faculty members this semester. Join us in welcoming the college’s newest professors and learn about their research interests.
Kajal Gulati, assistant professor, agricultural economics
Before receiving her doctorate from University of California Davis, Kajal Gulati worked with the International Food Policy Research Institute in India on issues of food security and technology adaption. These research interests continue to steer her current academic work, which focuses on developmental and labor economics, gendered labor markets, agricultural mechanization and human capital formation. Gulati’s research focuses on understanding and measuring the implications of programs designed to develop agricultural economies and alleviate poverty.
Yiwei Haung, assistant professor, horticulture and landscape architecture
Yiwei Haung recently graduated from the University of California Davis’ geography program where she investigated how urban design can support underrepresented metropolitan communities and offer a more inclusive cityscape. She has worked on a number of influential projects including a reimagining of Boston’s Back Bay district with green infrastructure and Greenway site selection along the Silk Road. Haung’s work exists at the intersection of landscape ecology, social and environmental justice and community engagement t. Her research seeks to realize modern, inclusive spaces that reflect 21st century ideals.
Eun Joong Oh, assistant professor, food science
Eun Joong Oh joins the Department of Food Science as a fermentation expert. He received his doctorate from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and recently completed post-doctoral research at the University of Colorado Boulder. While fermentation is an important process for many consumables, from beer to sauerkraut, it is also essential to disciplines outside food production, including pharmaceuticals and fuels. Oh’s experience in the biotechnical production of fuels and value-added chemicals expands the expertise of the department and enhances the scope of its fermentation sciences program.
Lizhi Shang, assistant professor, agricultural and biological engineering (ABE)
A graduate of Purdue’s ABE doctoral program, Shang will continue with his work as an assistant professor with a dual ABE and mechanical engineering appointment. Shang’s area of research focuses on fluid mechanics processes with major applications within transportation fields. Before accepting a professorship at Purdue, Shang completed his postdoctoral research at Maha Fluid Power Research Center in Lafayette, Ind, where he investigated fuel delivery applications and optimization of piston machineries.
Tor Tolhurst, assistant professor, agricultural economics
Tor Tolhurst’s research focuses on applied microeconomics and food and agriculture policy analysis. Tolhurst recently received his doctorate. from the University of California Davis, where he studied agricultural and environmental economics, climate induced volatility in the food market, and agricultural import economies among other topics. Tolhurt’s dissertation focused on detecting an economic bubble in wine markets without the use of an economic model.
Lei Zhang, assistant professor, botany and plant pathology, entomology
Lei Zhang’s research examines how insects impact plant species and how plant species can develop better pathways of resistance. His research has taken him from the Amazon forest, where he developed new bio-pesticides, to the Pacific Northwest, where he received his doctorate (Washington State University) and worked on a grant to help build potato crop’s resistance against the insect Meloidogyne chitwoodi, a type of nematode. Zhang’s joint appointment to botany and plant pathology and entomology enables him to optimize his research program and further the interdisciplinary work of both departments.
The assignment for Purdue Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences professor Laura Bowling’s last field trip of the semester, was to collect and count invertebrates in a section of Burnett’s Creek, just north of campus. Note the reaction of students (left to right) Avery Fess, Ireland Beebe and Eva Curtis when the inch-long cranefly larvae show a little more mobility than expected.Read Full Story >>>
Founded in 2018, the Unsung Diversity Hero Award is presented annually to a faculty member, staff member and student for their efforts to create an inclusive environment within their department and the college as a whole, going out of their way to lead others by setting a positive example.Read Full Story >>>