sealPurdue News

September 22, 2000

Purdue receives $6.75 million for agriculture,
health research

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University has received $6.75 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund three research projects. The grants are part of $113 million in competitive funding to scientists and researchers looking for science-based solutions to challenges in genomics, biotechnology and natural resource management.

"These projects bring scientists together on critically important issues that affect a large number of people," said Vic Lechtenberg, dean of agriculture at Purdue. "Thanks to the farsightedness of Congress, researchers can tackle the highest priorities and build a brighter future for agriculture."

The grants, announced Sept. 13 by Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, were awarded under the Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems program.

• A grant for $3.75 million over the next four years will help Carol Boushey pinpoint behaviors that could keep adolescents' bones healthy and prevent diseases like osteoporosis. Osteoporosis alone affects 35 million Americans for an annual cost of $13 billion. Boushey and Dennis Savaiano, professors of foods and nutrition in the School of Consumer and Family Sciences, will work with researchers from universities in Nevada, Utah, Illinois, New Mexico, Hawaii, California, Ohio and Washington.

• Purdue researchers from the schools of agriculture and science will use a two-year grant for $500,000 to develop statistical methods for analyzing the vast amounts of genetic information scientists uncover as they unravel the gene sequences of plants and animals. Their work may help fight animal and plant disease, grow better crops and develop environmentally friendly industrial processes.

"Through this grant, we're also training people for industry," said Rebecca Doerge, a professor of statistics with a joint appointment in agronomy. "Students will graduate with a degree in statistics or agronomy with an emphasis in bioinformatics. Industry representatives have come looking for more people with these skills."

• The third Purdue-based grant for $2.5 million over four years focuses on helping small- to medium-size beef operations improve profitability by producing more high-quality, tender beef. Researchers will develop a vertically coordinated beef production and marketing system that integrates genetics, source verification, quality assurance, environmental stewardship and animal well-being. Purdue animal scientist Ron Lemenager heads up this project, which involves the School of Agriculture, cattlemen's associations, departments of agriculture in several states, two livestock marketing organizations, a packer, a purveyor and farm bureaus in five states.

Purdue researchers will work with other universities and institutions on five additional grants that fund work on winter hardiness in alfalfa, functional foods, biomass pretreatment technologies, phosphorus management in animal agriculture and guaranteed lending to farmers.

Sources: Vic Lechtenberg, (765) 494-8391

Rebecca Doerge, (765) 494-6037;

Writer: Rebecca J. Goetz (765) 494-0461;

Other sources:
Carol Boushey (765) 496-6569;
Ron Lemenager (765) 494-4817;

Related Web sites:
USDA News Release
Purdue Agricultural Genomics Initiative

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