February 2, 2017

Hirst, Kannan and Pastakia named as Jefferson Science Fellows

Peter Hirst Peter Hirst
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Three Purdue faculty members have been selected as Jefferson Science Fellows. Peter Hirst (Horticulture), Karthik Kannan (Management) and Sonak Pastakia (Pharmacy) have been named to the 2017-18 class of Jefferson Science Fellows, an initiative of the Office of Science and Technology Adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State. The program is administered by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine with the goal of engaging the academic community in providing science and technology advice in the process of formulation of U.S. foreign policy.

The JSF program was established in 2003 to further build capacity for science, technology and engineering expertise within the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development. The JSF program is supported through a partnership between the U.S. academic community, professional scientific societies, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Peter Hirst is a professor of horticulture at Purdue, where he has served on the faculty since 1997. His research focuses on the physiology, genetics and management of fruit trees, particularly the apple. In recent years, his research has concentrated on understanding and manipulating flowering initiation and on fruit development. His other areas of emphasis include the application of robotics and sensing technologies to fruit orchards and the development of predictive computer models of growth and fruiting for educational and research applications. In his position as a state extension specialist, Hirst translates research data into strategies that growers can apply. He is a guest professor at the Northwest Agricultural and Forestry University in China and has communicated research results and recommendations to scientists and growers in many countries. He also has been involved in addressing capacity building and food security in both Africa and Asia.

Karthik Kannan Karthik Kannan
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Karthik Kannan is a professor in Purdue's Krannert School of Management. He has served the academic director for MBA programs, academic co-director for the MS in Business Analytics and Information Management program and co-director of the Business Information and Analytics Center. Kannan studies how different aspects of information technology may be used to exploit human instincts and biases in order to nudge or manipulate behavior. He has applied related ideas in pricing using auctions of information goods, pricing of data networks and the economics of information security. His papers have been accepted in several leading conferences and journals in the information systems area. He is a member of AIS and INFORMS. He is also a CERIAS Fellow and Krannert's Faculty Fellow.

Sonak Pastakia Sonak Pastakia
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Sonak Pastakia serves as an associate professor at Purdue and since 2007 has been spending most of his time each year on site in Kenya. In Kenya, he has implemented a wide variety of programs, including a rural diabetes care program that currently serves over 8,000 patients, a portable care system linked to microfinance groups that provide chronic disease management services, a pharmacy distribution system which provides antiretroviral medications to over 150,000 HIV-infected patients, a large multi-country gestational diabetes study in low- and middle-income country settings and an anticoagulation monitoring program with a focus on rheumatic heart disease. He teaches in diverse faculty positions at North American and Kenyan universities. He also has ongoing research and care efforts focused on diabetes and population health in India. Pastakia is interested in the design and implementation of community health delivery models which combine economic support, agricultural assistance and comprehensive health care into one integrated delivery system.

To date, the JSF program has named 141 Fellows from U.S. institutions of higher learning. Including this year, Purdue has had nine faculty named as Jefferson Fellows, more than any other institution. Previous Jefferson Fellows from Purdue were Melba Crawford, Alexander King (no longer at Purdue), Suresh Garimella, Jay Gore, Charles Santerre and Barrett S. Caldwell. 

Writer: Kelsey Schnieders, kschnied@purdue.edu 

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