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The Purdue Institute of Inflammation, Immunology, and Infectious Disease welcomes your comments or questions.


Dr. Richard Kuhn - Krenicki Family Director

Richard Kuhn received his B.S. in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the State University of New York at Stony Brook as well as his Ph.D. 1986 studying poliovirus. He then joined the Department of Microbiology where he did graduate research studying poliovirus replication in the laboratory of Dr. Eckard Wimmer. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1986 he joined the laboratory of Dr. James Strauss at the California Institute of Technology where he studied the replication of alphaviruses using molecular genetic approaches. He was recruited to Purdue University as an assistant professor in the Markey Center for Structural Biology. His research at Purdue has focused on the replication and assembly of the alphaviruses and the flaviviruses. Together with his structural biology colleagues including Michael Rossmann, he has been involved in many fundamental studies examining the structure and assembly of enveloped viruses, including the first structure of dengue virus. His focus continues to be in virus replication, virion assembly, pathogenesis, and host cell interactions using biochemical, genetic, and structural techniques. In 2007 he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was an American Society for Microbiology lecturer. He is the chair of the U.S. Panel on Viral Diseases of the US-Japan Cooperative Medical Sciences Program at NIAID. Purdue honors include selection as a University Faculty Scholar from 2004-2009 and the Herbert Newby McCoy Award for Outstanding Research Contributions in 2008. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Virology (1996-present), Virology (2002-present), Viruses (2009-present), and is an editor (2012-2017) of Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews and associate editor of PLoS Pathogens. He is the author of over 175 publications. His current positions are Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and Krenicki Family Director, Purdue Institute of Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Diseases. He served as Department Head of Biological Sciences from 2005-2016. He has served the ASV as Chair of the Education and Career Development Committee (2004-2006) and as Vice Chair (2012-2013) and Chair of the Program Committee (2014-2015).

Dr. Tommy Sors - Assistant Director


Thomas (Tommy) Sors joins PI4D as the Assistant Director, where he will work closely with director Richard Kuhn to drive the strategic direction and manage the daily operations of the Institute. Dr. Sors will be responsible for forming research teams and helping them translate their research goals. Dr. Sors will continue to support the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI), where he has established a reputation for connecting investigators from across the region to core facilities and research collaborators at Purdue. Dr. Sors comes to PI4D after serving in the Bindley Bioscience Center since 2010, first as Center Project Manager, and then as Chief Scientific Liaison. He received his Ph.D. degree in Plant Physiology and Molecular Biology from the Department of Horticulture at Purdue University in 2008 and remained at Purdue to complete his post-doctoral research in the Department of Biochemistry. Dr. Sors can be found in Discovery Learning Research (DLR), RM 436, or you can contact him by phone at (765) 494-1678 or by email at

Ms. Rebecca Fulk - Research Administrative Coordinator

Rebecca Fulk

Rebecca (Becky) Fulk began her career at Purdue University the fall of 1987. Over the past thirty-one years she has worked in various offices on campus. For the last twenty years she has worked for the College of Science in the undergraduate office and then in the Biological Sciences main office. In January 2018, she was hired the Purdue Institute of Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Disease and the Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) as a Research Administrative Coordinator. With her many years of experience and high proficient in navigating the complexities of academic research administration and education in life sciences she will be able to coordinate and bridge the institutes’ activities and help to ensure the success of both. She is married to Brad, they have a son, Brandon and a daughter, Bridgette plus four wonderful grandchildren. Brandon and Bridgette graduated from the College of Engineering. Their granddaughter, Jordan will become a Boilermaker next fall, followed by her brother Payton in two years. The other grandsons are too young to determine where they will attend college but grandma is rooting for Purdue. After working full time, the grand kids keep her busy on the weekends with sports and motor cross riding.

She is located in Discovery Learning Research Building (DLR) Room 425 feel free to contact her at 765-494-1902 or by email at Go Boilers!

Ms. Melanie Lindsay - Research Administrative Coordinator


Melanie was hired at Purdue in 1994, while working she continued to take classes and received her B.A. in 1996. Over the last 20 plus years, she has worked in the College of Science Counseling office, Women in Science Program, The Computing Research Institute, The George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation, Biological Sciences Main office and now the Purdue Institute of Inflammation, Immunology and infectious Disease. With all these different groups, she has a large knowledge of people from across campus and disciplines.

She is married to Drake, and they have two beautiful daughters. Nicole and Jessica. Nicole is attending Purdue University, and Jessica is at Harrison High School. Along with working full time the girls keep her busy with after school activities. The entire family loves to tailgate at Purdue Football games and have high hopes of the team improving (fingers crossed!). Her hobbies are reading, scrapbooking and being with family and friends socializing. She is located in Discovery Learning Research (DLR), RM 425; feel free to contact her at 494-0238 or send an email to

Dr. Raluca Ostafe - MEPEP Facility Director


Raluca was born in Romania and did her PhD in Aachen University, Germany. After finishing a post doctoral fellowship at Harvard University, she became group manager in directed evolution and high-throughput screening at Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology in Germany. Her research career has been focused on molecular evolution of different enzymes, development of high-throughput screening systems based on flow cytometry and microfluidic devices, development of new enzymatic assays and production and purification of recombinant proteins from multiple host systems. She has extensive experience in molecular biology, creation of protein libraries, biochemical characterization of proteins, protein expression and purification, microbiology, cell biology, patient sample handling, blood cell types isolation, microfluidic chip development and production and cell compartmentalization methods. Dr. Ostafe also worked in the fields of vaccine development, protein crystallization and metabolic engineering. Dr. Ostafe can be found in Discovery Learning Research (DLR), RM 431, or you can contact her by phone at (765) 494-4012 or by email at

Faculty Leadership Team:

Dr. Richard Kuhn, Director

Dr. Suresh Mittal, Infectious Diseases Leader

Dr. Harm HogenEsch, Inflammation and Immunology Leader

Dr. Ed Delp, Imaging and Diagnostics Leader

Dr. Julia Laskin, Imaging and Diagnostics Leader

Dr. Qing Jiang, Prevention and Intervention Leader


Graduate Ambassadors:

Ken Onyedibe -

Ken is a third year PhD candidate inthe Purdue University Interdisciplinary Life Sciences (PULSe) program. He received is medical degree from the University of Ilorin in Nigeria, a master’s degree from University of Jos and completed his residency training in medical microbiology and infectious diseases.  His research interests is in the discovery of novel compounds against cancer, drug resistant infections and for immunotherapy as well as understanding immunological responses to various stimuli. Ken’s career goals as a physician-scientist would only become accomplished when he has contributed scientific solutions that would have a global impact in the field of medicine. He enjoys adventures (scientific, social or outdoors!) and in his spare time, he loves to travel, meet new friends and watch movies. Swimming or a game of tennis calms his nerves.



Craig Sweet -

Craig Sweet is a graduate student in Chemistry Department having joined through the PULSe program. His research primarily focuses on the developments of tools to delivery therapeutic cargo to bladder cancer as well as enhance detection. These nanoparticle delivery vehicles are aimed to elicit an immune response in bladder cancer with the aim to reduce the high recurrence rates. His research demands an interdisciplinary approach to science calling on concepts from chemistry, biology and even engineering all with the intention of maximizing its impact on human disease. 


Ben Watson -

Ben Watson is a second year graduate student in the Biological Sciences Department studying cell and molecular biology. He completed his Bachelor's of Science right here at Purdue, and is looking forward to getting married this August. Ben is passionate about microbiology and furthering our understanding of how cellular stress impacts key regulatory proteins that may be future therapeutic targets. To this end, he has joined the Mattoo lab located in Lilly hall, who study Fic proteins and their role in disease. Outside of lab, Ben enjoys hiking, cooking, video games, and the thought of graduating in just four short years.



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