Leadership Team

Laura Bowling


Laura Bowling serves as a co-convener of the Water Challenges Signature Area at C4E. A Professor in Agronomy, she also serves as the Co-Director of the Natural Resources and Environmental Science interdisciplinary undergraduate program, and has a courtesy appointment in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Bowling serves a member of the Center’s Leadership Committee as well as being on the Executive Committee of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center. She also represents Purdue to the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science and the University Council on Water Resources. Her research interests include quantifying the hydrologic and water quality impacts of agricultural drainage practices, the investigation of edge-of-field and watershed-scale conversation measures to mitigate impacts, and the evaluation of water resources sustainability, with emphasis on agricultural water use. She is currently leading the Nexus Arequipa Institute’s project, A Framework for Sustainable Water Management in the Arequipa Region. Bowling enjoys observing water in natural environments, whether from kayak, innertube, snowmobile or paddle board.

Laura Bowling profile picture

Abby Engelberth

Agricultural And Biological Engineering

Abby Engelberth is the convener of the Circular Economies research cluster. She is an Associate Professor in Agricultural and Biological Engineering and the Environmental and Ecological Engineering. Her research focuses on the recovery of valuable co-products from underutilized biological sources and the design of the recovery process to obtain an economic assessment of potential value. The overall goal of her research is to identify and characterize ancillary products from renewable resources (e.g. biofuels, industrial wastes) to determine how much additional revenue the products could contribute to a given industry. Her professional engagements comprise memberships in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Society of Biological Engineers, and the Society of Industrial Microbiology. A day on Venus takes longer to complete than a year on Venus.

Abby Engelberth profile picture

Jennifer Freeman

Health Sciences

Jennifer Freeman joined the C4E leadership team as the founding convener of the Chemical Exposures signature research area in 2017. She is an associate professor in the School of Health Sciences at Purdue University and received an Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in Memory of Charles B. Murphy in 2019. Freeman’s research aims to define the underlying genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of toxicity of environmental stressors with a current focus on pesticides, metals, radiation, and emerging contaminants. Her studies investigate the developmental origin of health and disease pathogenesis with a specific focus on neuroendocrine and reproductive dysfunction, neurological disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer to understand the role of exposure to the environmental stressors in these adverse health outcomes. She is a standing member of the NIH/NIEHS Environmental Health Sciences Review Committee and has held various leadership positions in the Society of Toxicology. She also currently works on the Integrated Sensing Systems for Detection of Heavy Metal Contamination Across Food-Water- Environment Nexus in Arequipa project, part of the Nexus Institute. Freeman recently served on a National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committee to develop a scientific scoping plan to assess the hazards of organohalogen flame retardants and the potential application of a chemical class system for hazard assessment.

Jennifer Freeman profile picture

James Garrison

Aeronautics And Astronautics

James Garrison leads the Ecological and Environmental Sensing Research Cluster at C4E. He joined the leadership team from the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, College of Engineering, where he is a Professor. His research interests lie in the development of new instruments, algorithms, and missions for Earth remote sensing, utilizing Global Navigation Satellite Systems and other "Signals of Opportunity” (SoOps). Garrison works closely with the Earth science and applications community at Purdue and internationally. He is on the executive committee for the Purdue Climate Change Research Center and a faculty affiliate of the Ecological Sciences and Engineering program. He is the principal investigator for the NASA SNOOPI mission, which will evaluate key physical principles for satellite remote sensing of root-zone soil moisture and snow water equivalent, and validate a prototype instrument. He also serves as Editor in Chief of the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Magazine and is a fellow of the Institute of Navigation. In his free time, Prof. Garrison likes to read about history and philosophy and takes advantage of opportunities to travel the world.

James Garrison profile picture

Zhao Ma

Forestry and Natural Resources

Zhao Ma profile picture

Victor Maqque

Arequipa Nexus Institute
Victor Maqque profile picture

Sara McMillan

Agricultural And Biological Engineering

Sara McMillan is a co-convener of the Water Challenges signature research area and serves on our leadership team. She is an Associate Professor in Agricultural and Biological Engineering and faculty affiliate in Environmental and Ecological Engineering, the Purdue Climate Change Research Center, and the Arequipa Nexus Institute. Her research program focuses on how humans impact water quality and how interventions can restore ecosystem function. She is currently working throughout the US and Arequipa, Peru on the factors and dynamic feedbacks that create resilient cities. Her research in agricultural watersheds is focused on optimizing design and placement of conservation practices and floodplain reconnection to improve ecological function and downstream water quality. She frequently collaborates with social scientists and ecologists on these projects to create environmental sustainable solutions that provide co-benefits to all members of society, particularly vulnerable populations. She also leads the Nexus Arequipa Institute’s project, Plant-microbe interactions in agricultural soils with heavy metals contamination. Sara loves books and traveling with her family to experience new cultures and environments.

Sara McMillan profile picture

Bryan Pijanowski

Forestry and Natural Resources

Bryan Pijanowski is Director of Center for Global Soundscapes at Purdue University and a Professor in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources. Pijanowski represents Purdue University at NEON, Inc., and holds memberships in the Global Land Project, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Association of Geographers, the American Geophysical Union, and the American and African chapters of International Association of Landscape Ecology. His research concentrates on the use of soundscape ecological approach to study ecosystem health and affects from disturbance, sustainable land-use systems, invasive species modeling in forested ecosystems, and use of decision support systems for natural resource management at local to regional scales.

Bryan Pijanowski profile picture

Richard Voyles

School Of Engineering Technology

Head of the Collaborative Robotics Lab at Purdue and director of the Robotics Accelerator, Richard Voyles serves the Center as the convener of the Cyber Animal Systems research cluster. He is a Professor of Engineering Technology in the Purdue Polytechnic. Voyles' research interests include novel robotic mechanisms, sensors, artificial intelligence, self-adaptive software, real-time control, agRobotics, and gesture-based human/robot interaction. He studies infrastructure tools for self-adaptation in real-time and embedded systems and directs research in miniature robotics for agriculture and search and rescue, including small crawling ground robots for penetration into rubble, hybrid serpentine robots for moving over rubble, and high-precision UAVs for inspecting rubble and structures from the air. He previously led the National Robotics Initiative at the National Science Foundation and served as Assistant Director for Robotics and Cyber-Physical Systems at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. His industrial engagements include memberships in the NSF Center on Robots and the Sensors for Human Well-Being in addition to professional affiliations with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, American Society for Mechanical Engineers and American Society for Engineering Education. Prof. Voyles has stood at the farthest point from the center of the Earth: Mt. Chimbarazo in Ecuador.

Richard Voyles profile picture

Laura Zanotti

Anthropology Department

Laura Zanotti joined the Center as the Associate Director in January of 2019 and has served as convener of the Building Sustainable Communities signature research area since its founding in 2017. She is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology, and, in addition to her connections with the Center, has affiliations with the Purdue Climate Change Research Center, the EEE program, the American Studies program, the Latin American and Latino Studies program and the Nexus Institute. Zanotti is an environmental anthropologist and interdisciplinary social scientist whose research program partners with Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples to better understand how local, mostly rural, livelihoods and well-being can be sustained for future generations. Zanotti loves to read climate science fiction and watch films made by woman and indigenous cinematographers.

Laura Zanotti profile picture