Purdue University

Leadership Team

Abby Engelberth 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.

James Garrison 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.

Zhao Ma profile picture

Zhao Ma

Forestry and Natural Resources


Sara McMillan profile picture

Sara McMillan

Agricultural And Biological Engineering

Sara McMillan is a 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.

Bryan Pijanowski 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.

Richard Voyles 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.