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Source: Purdue Univ. news release

Bob Pruitt
Purdue University professor of botany and plant pathology Bob Pruitt has been named director of the university's new Center for Molecular Agriculture.

The appointment was announced by Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of the College of Agriculture. Pruitt's position took effect this month.

The center is integral to the basic biological research portion of Purdue's Plant Sciences Research and Education Pipeline - an initiative intended to enhance the university's position as a world leader in plant research to help feed a rapidly growing world population. The initiative also will help recruit and train the next generation of plant scientists.

Pruitt, who also holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Food Science and is a member of the Purdue Center for Food Safety Engineering, has been a member of the agriculture faculty since 2000. His research has focused primarily on molecular mechanisms of inheritance, molecular mechanisms controlling development and human pathogen-plant interactions.

Akridge said Pruitt's research resume would serve him well as center director.

"Bob has a strong record of research that puts the tools of plant biology to work on applied problems," he said. "The Center for Molecular Agriculture is a key component of the Plant Sciences Research and Education Pipeline Initiative - one of the Purdue Moves initiatives - and we are excited about the leadership Bob will bring as inaugural director."

Purdue Moves is a range of initiatives introduced by President Mitch Daniels to broaden the university's global impact and enhance educational opportunities for its students.

Pruitt said the center is an opportunity for plant scientists at Purdue - one he's excited to facilitate.

"My hope is that we can pick some grand-challenge problems to address," Pruitt said. "A big part of the center's mission is to create a common sense of purpose among Purdue's plant biologists. It also will provide great opportunities to train students and staff and to develop science that's critical to the future of agriculture."

Karen Plaut, senior associate dean for research and faculty affairs, said Pruitt's enthusiasm for research and plant sciences would help get the center up and running.

"Bob's enthusiasm for and dedication to plant research and our mission of solving food insecurity challenges for a growing world population make him well-suited to develop the Center for Molecular Agriculture," she said. "We look forward to seeing the great work that comes from the center under Bob's leadership."

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