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Biotechnology Experts


Bill R. Baumgardt
Director, Purdue Agricultural Research Programs

Associate dean, School of Agriculture

Professor, animal sciences

(765) 494-8362


Administers all research programs in the Purdue School of Agriculture. Is a past president of the National Agricultural Biotechnology Council, the Agricultural Research Institute and past chair of ESCOP, the coordinating body for the state agricultural research system for land-grant universities. Oversees 295 faculty who devote about 40 percent of their time to research with annual outlays of $47 million.

Peter E. Dunn
Director, Purdue Biotechnology Institute

Assistant vice president for research

Professor, insect biochemistry

(765) 494-4596/494-6200; home: (765) 463-4363


Is an international leader in the research of exploiting insect immune systems for insect control. Was the first U.S. scientist to develop a comprehensive program in modern cellular and molecular biology to investigate immune responses of insects.


Nicholas A. Peppas
Showalter Distinguished Professor of Bioengineering

(765) 494-7944


Has developed a number of biomaterials, polymers and drug-delivery systems to introduce medicines or artificial devices into the human body, including artificial vessels, cartilage, vocal chords and hydrogels for the controlled release of drugs. Is a founding fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. Was the 1994 A.A. Potter Engineering Teaching Award winner. Wrote or co-wrote 19 books.

Bernard Y. Tao
Associate professor, agricultural and biological engineering

(765) 494-1183; home: (765) 447-5179


Has expertise in engineering process design, thermodynamics and protein biocatalysis. Research involves using biotechnology to create enzymes; the study of catalytic mechanisms; and the development of biomaterials from renewable resources. Has received numerous teaching awards and frequently speaks on the ethics of biotechnology and engineering.

Richard A. Vierling
Director, Indiana Crop Improvement Genetics Laboratory

Assistant professor, genetics

(765) 474-3494; home: (765) 448-1904


Has conducted research on developing soybean lines to produce peroxidase, a soybean derivative. Peroxidase can be used to replace formaldehyde in some industrial processes, and can also have food, medical and bioremediation applications.


John D. Axtell
Lynn Distinguished Professor of Agronomy

(765) 494-8056; home: (765) 463-5966


Extensive research in developing new varieties of crops, especially sorghum. Is past chairman of the Agricultural Sciences Section of the U.S. National Academy of Science, 1987-90. Was recognized for Scientific Achievement by World Cultural Council, 1987. Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy. Received the Certificate of Appreciation from the U.S. Agency for International Development for improving the nutritional value of sorghum, 1975.

Thomas K. Hodges
Joseph C. Arthur Distinguished Professor of Plant Physiology

(765) 494-4657; home: (317) 83-0953


Leader of a research team that developed a commercially viable method to target genes on chromosomes and to excise unwanted genetic material from chromosomes. Is working to apply this method to create new hybrids of rice, corn, soybeans and wheat.

Gregory B. Martin
Associate professor, plant genetics

(765) 494-4790; home: (765) 497-7503


Has expertise in plant disease resistance and mapping plant genes. Has applied scientific techniques developed for Human Genome Project to crops in order to develop disease-resistant plants.

Herbert W. Ohm
Professor, plant genetics

(765) 494-8072


Has expertise in plant genetics and breeding, and in grains such as wheat and oats. Received the 1989 Meritorious Service Award from the Organizations of African Unity for research in grains in the semi-arid regions of West Africa.


William R. Woodson
Head, Department of Horticulture

Professor, horticulture

(765) 494-1337; home, (317) 43-3450


Was the first to show that flowers undergo intentional senescence, or wilt, because of a specific genetic response. Has created cut flowers that last for weeks instead of days after being cut. Research has applications in all areas of crop agriculture because all plants produce flowers of some type.


Christopher A. Bidwell
Associate professor, animal sciences

(765) 494-8037


Has expertise in molecular genetics, transgenic animals and genetic engineering of fish and mammals. Researches fish reproduction and muscle chemistry. Teaches course on impact of patenting.


Bill R. Baumgardt
For biography, see "Biotechnology"

Peter E. Dunn
For biography, see "Biotechnology"

Marshall A. Martin
Director, Center for Agricultural Policy and Technology Assessment

Professor, agricultural economics

(765) 494-4268; home: (765) 463-9359


Is the author of book chapters and journal articles on the socioeconomic implications of new agricultural technologies, including genetic engineering. Has expertise in international agricultural trade agreements. Has extensive media experience. Lived in Bolivia for four years. Is an expert on U.S. food and farm policy. Has traveled and worked professionally in more than 20 countries.


Peixuan Guo
Associate professor, molecular virology

(765) 494-7561; home: (765) 463-5540


Is an expert on viruses, viral diseases, genetic engineering and vaccine development. Also is studying virus assembly to understand ways to construct a system for gene delivery for cancer therapy. Editor of international journal Seminars in Virology. Is chairman of international workshops. Reviews national grants.

Sue Loesch-Fries
Associate professor, botany

(765) 494-4624; home, (765) 497-0043


Is working to make plants self-immune to viruses by incorporating a small portion of the coat of the virus in the plant tissue. This is significant because pesticides, like antibiotics, do not work on viruses.