McCoy lecture to lead off day celebrating Purdue researchers

October 21, 2010

A day in praise of outstanding researchers at Purdue is set for Nov. 2, starting with the annual McCoy Distinguished Lecture and concluding with the Excellence in Research Awards Dinner.

David Salt, whose work in ionomics as part of the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture shaped a new field of study, will present the McCoy lecture at 3:30 p.m. in Fowler Hall, Stewart Center. It is free and open to the public. A reception open to those attending the lecture will follow in the Stewart Center Gallery.

President France A. Córdova will present the Herbert Newby McCoy Award, Purdue's most prestigious award for research, to Salt during the Excellence in Research Awards Dinner.
Richard Buckius, vice president for research, and Tim Sands, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, also will recognize research accomplishments by Purdue investigators during the dinner program, which is by invitation.

"These gatherings make for a great day celebrating Purdue's remarkable people and the amazing discoveries and knowledge they are contributing in all fields," Buckius says. "Some breakthroughs lay the groundwork for valuable efforts to come, and others provide immediately practical applications. The quality and range of research at Purdue is inspiring."

Salt's lecture is titled "Ionomics: A New Approach in Bridging the Gaps Between Genomes, Organisms, and Their Geographical Distribution." Ionomics -- a term still new enough not to appear in many dictionaries -- is the study of the mineral and trace element composition of an organism, as well as changes in it.

His nominators described not only his advancement of basic knowledge but also his linkage of it to the genome and his work in spreading the information. His laboratory used high-throughput elemental profiling and genome-wide association analysis to establish ionomics as a field based on a systems biology approach. He also has developed and deployed a computational hub as a key tool, and he has created award-winning educational resources for scientists and the public.

In the evening program, Sands will recognize a number of research awards bestowed by colleges, schools and other units at Purdue. Buckius will recognize fiscal year 2010 recipients of Purdue's Seeds for Success awards, given to investigators who garner grants of $1 million or more. Those surpassing that threshold for the first time receive a bronze acorn, symbolic of how small seeds can grow into great things.

"At Purdue, in concert with our strategic plan, we've been taking steps to build our research program based on our historic strengths as they connect to the global grand challenges of this era," Buckius says. "To enhance this, we've bolstered our research infrastructure to recognize, shape and seek opportunities more effectively. Especially, we have become more able to pursue large-scale and interdisciplinary proposals."

The McCoy award was established in 1964 through a bequest from Ethel Terry McCoy in memory of her husband, who was an alumnus in the College of Science. Along with a certificate, the award carries a cash prize of $4,000 and a gift of $7,000 to support the recipient’s research.