From the Chair

Welcome to our updated e-newsletter from the MSU Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering (BAE), highlighting the impactful work that our faculty, staff, and students continue to do to improve quality of life in the areas of foodenergyenvironment, and health.  
This summer, our former department chair, Darrell Donahue, transitioned to a dean position at West Virginia University, and I agreed to step into this role as Department Chair. Although 2020 has presented some extraordinary challenges for everyone, we remain focused on elevating BAE. I’m incredibly proud of what our department has achieved during this tough year. 
As detailed below, our undergraduate program was ranked No. 5 in the country by U.S. News and World Report. Our graduate students are earning multiple national fellowships. We have significantly-funded projects from the most diverse portfolio of agencies in the history of our department. Our newest faculty member, Narendra Das, recently joined us from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His expertise in remote sensing and citizen science adds to our already strong water group and our newly formed Center for Intelligent Water Resources Engineering. 
The future for MSU BAE is bright, as we continue to strengthen and expand our teaching, research, and outreach programs in foodenergyenvironment, and health. Please feel free to drop me a note anytime if you want to connect or discuss ideas or opportunities to engage. 

Go Green!
Bradley Marks, Ph.D., P.E.
Professor and Department Chair
MSU Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering
MSU ranked No. 5 undergraduate biological/agricultural engineering program in U.S.
According to the latest rankings from U.S. News and World Report, the MSU Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering is the No. 5 program of its kind in the country.

Bradley Marks awarded $9.8 million grant to improve low-moisture food safety
Bradley Marks, BAE professor and chair, is the director of a five-year, $9.8 million project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA) that takes a holistic look at reducing threats of pathogens in low-moisture foods, like flour, cereals, dried fruit and nuts.

Jade Mitchell receives $2.5 million grant to develop risk assessment training program
Jade Mitchell, BAE associate professor, will lead a five-year, $2.5 million National Institutes of Health grant focused on increasing knowledge and availability of quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) models. Some of this work will center on the novel coronavirus.

MSU and U.S. Army partner for $1.3 million project to improve wastewater treatment on military bases
Wei Liao, BAE professor and director of the the MSU Anaerobic Digestion Research and Education Center (ADREC), will co-lead a $1.3 million grant to convert blackwater and organic food wastes into potable water and renewable energy on army bases.

Ehsan Ghane receives USDA grant to develop improved drainage systems for farms
Ehsan Ghane, assistant professor and Extension specialist in BAE, will lead a three-year, $614,000 USDA grant to implement drainage systems that will improve water quality on farms in Michigan and Iowa.

Ajit Srivastava named 2020 International Academy of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Fellow
BAE professor Ajit Srivastava has been named a 2020 Fellow of the International Academy of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, one of the field’s top honors.

Former NASA scientist joins two MSU departments

Associate Professor Narendra Das will teach and lead research in the departments of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, and Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Jade Mitchell to deliver keynote at Society for Risk Analysis Annual Meeting
BAE researcher Jade Mitchell and John Besley, science communication researcher in the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences, will speak at the Society for Risk Analysis Annual Meeting on December 13. The meeting will take place virtually.

Improving food safety for immunocompromised patients

People with weakened immune systems are typically instructed to avoid eating fresh produce. BAE Ph.D. student Carly Gomez is working to change that.

BAE Ph.D. candidate earns NIFA predoctoral fellowship

Kaitlyn Casulli is one of 57 students nationwide — and one of three Spartans — to be awarded a predoctoral fellowship from USDA NIFA.

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