Hall of Fame, 2006 Inductees

Virginia Hartmuller, PhD, RD

We are pleased to honor the accomplishments of Virginia Hartmuller. She is currently Program Director, Diet and Nutrition Epidemiology Research, Analytic Epidemiology Research Branch, Epidemiology and Genetics Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute in the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. She is also a diabetes educator in the Diabetic Care and Education Center in Pikesville, MD.

Dr. Hartmuller studied for a Master’s degree at Purdue in 1971 after she finished her BS from St. Joseph College in Maryland and dietetic internship with the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital in Staten Island, NY. She went on to do an additional Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1988, then completed a PhD in Health Education at the University of Maryland in 1999. In 1987 she became a Certified Diabetes Educator and in 1988 a Licensed Dietitian.

She spent three years with the U.S. Naval Hospital in Naples, Italy as an outpatient diet counselor and as a Red Cross volunteer immediately after completion of her Master’s degree at Purdue. She then spent eight years as a research nutritionist at Johns Hopkins University Lipid Clinic. In 1984, she moved to the Johns Hopkins Diabetes Center as a nutrition educator and chief nutritionist. In 1987 she moved back to the Lipid Clinic as chief nutritionist. In 1992 she became an instructor in Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University Medical School. She was also a consultant dietitian during much of this period.

In 1995, her dietetics and health education experience made her a natural candidate for a position as a public health educator with the Office of Cancer Communications at the National Cancer Institute, NIH. In 1998 she moved to the USDA as Coordinator of the Food and Nutrition Information Center. In 1999 she was made Research Policy Officer in the Office of Research on Women’s Health at NIH, while she was also adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Maryland. In 2001 she assumed her current position as Program Director for Diet and Nutrition Epidemiology Research and Small Grant Program at NIH.

Dr. Hartmuller has had numerous professional affiliations over the years. Currently, she is in the Society for Epidemiological Research and American Society of Preventive Oncology, Society for Nutrition Education and the American Public Health Association. She is also currently part of four American Dietetic Association practice groups. In 1997, she was named to Phi Alpha Epsilon Honor Society in the College of Health and Human Performance at the University of Maryland. In 1995, she was honored as the Maryland Outstanding Dietitian of the Year and was made a Fellow of the American Dietetic Association. She has several publications and extensive presentations to her credit.


Karen S. Jamesen, MS, RD

We take great delight to honor the career of Karen Jamesen because she is both an alumni and one who has significantly contributed to the Department of Nutrition Science and the students who matriculated through it for 38 years. The last class she taught (as sophomores) graduates this spring. Dedication, hard work, ingenuity and insight have been hallmarks of her career.

After completion of her BS and Master’s degrees in this department, she started her career as an instructor in 1966 and was promoted to tenure-track faculty in 1970. She taught tirelessly in the Department of Nutrition Science with a heavy teaching load and the students were the benefactors of her commitment. She received numerous teaching awards, including the Amoco Teaching Award, the Mary L. Matthews Teaching Award, the Phi Tau Sigma Award, the Gamma Sigma Delta Award of Merit and was been placed on the permanent list of Outstanding Teachers in CFS. She had consistently high student evaluations with students highlighting her clarity, knowledge of course content, interesting presentation of material, and accessibility for help. She was inducted into the Teaching Academy in 1997 and her name was put on the Book of Great Teachers in 1999.

Alumni attest to career-shaping conversations with Karen. She watched her students carefully and pointed them directions they might never have considered. At the same time, she shaped opportunities for them through this department. She was very active in promoting the programs and students of this department with industry contacts. As Coordinator of Cooperative Education and Summer Internships in Food Science and Nutrition Science in Business, she secured placement for students in companies such as Nabisco, General Foods, Lipton, Central Soya, Kraft, Bristol Myers, and M&M Mars. In later years, she innovated an externship experience for our Food Science & F&N in Business students during Christmas and spring vacations. The response from industry was so favorable that some years we had more placements than we had students to fill them. She was also very active in identifying eligible students for scholarships, honoraries and awards. At alumni events, Karen Jamesen is sought out by past students. This reflects the warmth and dedication and creative thinking that she has consistently given to them over the years.

Karen Jamesen was an innovator in the Department. She promoted an increase in the quality of food science teaching in high schools by training high school teachers in food science content through a state educational grant. Though her academic appointment is as ten-month faculty, she has come in during the summer to administer this program and others without complaint or compensation. She developed new courses and chaired the committee to develop the Nutrition, Fitness and Health major.

She served with this same dedication as an elder on Session at Central Presbyterian Church. She also served as a trustee. in her personal life,Karen was a tireless support to several elderly relatives. Somehow, in spite of the long hours she spent at Purdue and serving in her private life, she found the creativity and stamina with her husband Ward to be an entrepreneur in local real estate properties.

In her “retirement,” she has started a new entrepreneurial adventure with her brother, a visionary plan to develop their family farm. In the same way she looked at students and envisioned their potential, she now envisions a broader use for their farm than just “development.” She sees a community that would maximize quality of life for those who will live there. She faces this project with the same work ethic and dedication that were hallmarks of her career at Purdue.


Judith B. Roepke, PhD, RD

It is our privilege to honor Dr. Judith Roepke as member of the Foods & Nutrition Hall of Fame. She is Dean Emerita of the School of Continuing Education and Public Service and Professor Emerita of Family and Consumer Sciences at Ball State University. Her area of expertise is nutrition during pregnancy, lactation and infancy. She is also an international expert in breastfeeding education. Since 2003, she has served as the American Dietetic Association representative to the United States Breastfeeding Committee. She is also the ADA liaison to La Leche League International.

Dr. Roepke is currently on the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, Cardinal Health Systems First Call Home Health and Hospice advisory committee, Delaware County Board of Health, Indiana Perinatal Network, International Lactation Consultant Association, Delaware County Healthy Mothers/Healthy Babies Coalition, La Leche League International Health Advisory Council of the Professional Advisory Board and the Program Committee for Physicians Seminar. She is part of two dietary practice groups, Pediatric Nutrition and Women’s Health & Reproductive Nutrition.

In her community she is on the Delaware County Board of the American Heart Association and has leadership in the Associate of Adult Learners. She is also a member of the Muncie Municipal Band.

Dr. Roepke earned her BS degree at the University of Manitoba and her Master’s at Ball State University. She did her PhD with Avanelle Kirksey at Purdue. In 1989 she graduated from the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University.

She has 25 publications in peer-reviewed journals, plus many other publications. She has been in high demand to make presentations to professional groups. She was awarded Honor Dietitian from the Indiana Dietetic Association in 2000.

Her expertise has given her a national and international reputation. We are pleased to induct her into the Foods & Nutrition Hall of Fame.


James N. Thomas, PhD

James N. Thomas is working in the cutting edge industry of gene expression and molecule therapeutics. Since 2002 he has been Vice President of Process and Analytical Sciences for Amgen Corporation where he currently oversees process and analytical development of all three molecule therapeutics at Amgen from research to commercial stage. Over 450 scientists and engineers in nine departments and three sites are under his responsibility.

He received both his BS and Master’s degrees from Texas Tech before he came to Purdue to study with Jon Story for a PhD. Upon completion of his PhD, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Cell Science Center at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

From there, in 1983, he took a position in cell culture research and development at Genentech, Inc., where he contributed to the development of various cell culture processes for the manufacture of proteins like rt-PA (Activase) and Factor VIII. Within four years he was group leader. At Genentech, he contributed to over 20 early stage projects and several technology projects ranging from metabolic engineering of the expression host to improved gene selection and amplification systems. He had significant responsibility in technology transfer from basic research to application processes.

In 1990, Jim took a staff scientist position with Immunex Corporation, where he initiated stable expression using mammalian cells and developed initial processes for several receptor and Fc fusion molecules, including Enbrel. He was with Immunex for 12 years, the last four years as vice-president of process science. He managed a diverse group of 175 development scientists and engineers responsible for moving product candidates from discovery to commercialization.

Jim holds three patents for the expression augmenting sequence elements (EASE) for eukaryotic expression systems and is well-published in peer-reviewed journals. He has participated in several process transfers, including transfers to companies in Japan, England and Germany. He has made multiple presentations at scientific meetings, at the FDA and in short courses. He has managed matrix style project teams and participated in joint steering committees on three projects with corporate partners.

Jim is a man who quietly does his work and does not seek for attention or publicity. It is our privilege to honor him, as one of our graduates, who is quietly doing an outstanding job moving basic science discoveries to commercial applications.


Connie M. Weaver, PhD

Department Head of Foods & Nutrition

We honor Dr. Connie Weaver, not as an alumna, but as one who has moved the Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue to a new position of national and international respect and prominence. Her energetic service to this department as an administrator, researcher and ambassador are without peer.

Connie M. Weaver, Ph.D., is Distinguished Professor and Head of the Department of Foods & Nutrition at Purdue University. Her early accomplishments were in the area of nutrition research and mineral bioavailability. Dr. Weaver’s unique approach to the study of calcium metabolism in teens uses stable non-radioactive isotope methodology. This approach along with Camp Calcium has provided insight into factors affecting development of peak bone mass during growth, which determines risk of osteoporosis in women. The results of these studies by her research team are being used to set recommendations for calcium for populations around the world. She was appointed to the National Academy of Sciences Food and Nutrition Board Panel to develop new recommendations for requirements for calcium and related minerals. The level of 1300 mg/day for teens was based on research done in Camp Calcium.

In 2000, she envisioned a Botanicals Center at Purdue University. It became a reality when the National Institutes of Health supported the center focusing on polyphenols and their effects on age-related diseases.

Dr. Weaver is past-president of American Society for Nutritional Sciences and is on the Board of Trustees of the International Life Sciences Institute. For her contributions in teaching, Dr. Weaver was awarded Purdue University's Outstanding Teaching Award. In 1993, she was honored with the Purdue University Health Promotion Award for Women, and in 1997, she received the Institute of Food Technologists Babcock Hart Award. In April 2003, she received the United States Department of Agriculture A.O. Atwater Lecture Award at the annual Experimental Biology meeting. Dr. Weaver served on the 2005 US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. In 2005, she was honored with the Centennial Laureate Award, Florida State University and the American College of Nutrition Career Award. In 2006, she was the McGovern Award recipient from Ball State University and was the first woman to be awarded the Sigma Xi Outstanding Researcher Award at Purdue.

Dr. Weaver serves on numerous advisory boards for industry, as well as numerous NIH study sections, including chair of the nutrition study section from 2001-2003. She has published over 170 research articles. Dr. Weaver received a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in food science and human nutrition from Oregon State University. She received a Ph.D. in food science and human nutrition from Florida State University and holds minors in chemistry and plant physiology.

Under her direction the Department of Nutrition Science has grown their research support to multi-million dollars. Today, the department is ranked at Purdue as having the highest research dollars per faculty FTE. Dr. Weaver leads by example. She is a true scholar, having achieved outstanding recognition in Learning, Discovery, and Engagement.

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