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Management

Core Staff

Arvind Raman

Arvind Raman, Ph.D.

Director

Senior Associate Dean of the Faculty (Engineering),
Robert V. Adams Professor in Mechanical Engineering,
Professor of Materials Engineering (by Courtesy)

Bio
Dr. Arvind Raman is the Robert V. Adams Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. His research focuses on exploiting nonlinear dynamics for innovations in diverse interdisciplinary areas such as nanotechnology, biomechanics and appropriate technologies for sustainable development. His work on the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) has helped the scientific and industrial community recognize and exploit nonlinear effects to better and more rapidly measure properties of complex materials at the nanoscale.Via the cyberinfrastructure of nanohub his AFM simulation tools are used by thousands of researchers worldwide. He is the co-founder of the Shah Family Global Innovation Lab in the College of Engineering and the PI of LASER PULSE. Raman has mentored twenty-four PhD students, co-authored more than a hundred and forty peer-reviewed journal articles, held visiting positions at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Spain), University of Oxford (UK), and Technical University Darmstadt (Germany), and secured funding from the NSF, NIH, NASA, NNSA, and several national and international industrial sponsors. He is an ASME fellow, an ASME Gustus Larson Memorial Award recipient, Keeley fellow (Oxford), College of Engineering outstanding young investigator awardee, and a NSF CAREER awardee. He currently serves as the Sr. Associate Dean of the Faculty in the College of Engineering.
Yuehwern Yih

Yuehwern Yih, Ph.D.

Academic Director

Associate Director of Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering
Director of the Smart Systems and Operations Laboratory
Professor of Industrial Engineering at Purdue University

Bio
Dr. Yuehwern Yih is the Academic Director of LASER PULSE Consortium, Associate Director of Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering, and Professor of Industrial Engineering at Purdue University. Her research area focuses on system engineering for developing strategies to optimize and manage complex systems/operation performance. Dr. Yih translates and implements her research work as system models, evaluation tools, designs and solutions in health systems, humanitarian relief operations, supply chains, and global development areas. Examples include an integrated nutrition support system for HIV patients in Kenya, jointly developed with AMPATH, an emergency response supply chain management system (E+TRA), jointly developed with Catholic Relief Services, an integrated demand sensing health supply chain (E+TRA Health) in Uganda, joint effort with Makerere University and Management Science in Health, and spatial redesign for Kangaroo Mother Care in Malawi, joint effort with Save the Children. Dr. Yih is an IISE Fellow and ELATE Fellow.
Andrea Burniske

Andrea Burniske

Program Director
Bio
Andrea Burniske has more than 24 years of experience (including 16 years overseas) providing leadership and managing development projects as Chief of Party, Country Representative, and other leadership positions for US universities, US NGOs, the UN system, and as a technical advisor for a foreign government donor. Ms. Burniske excels in strategic leadership with national university, government and NGO teams with strategy that responds to sectoral and cross-cutting needs identified through participatory processes. She has held Chief of Party and Country Office leadership positions for more than 20 years, supervising as many as 25 staff. Ms. Burniske was embedded as COP in a Russian university for a USAID-funded business development project, and later again as program manager and head of the Russian regional office working with and through two Far Eastern Universities and the Russian Academy of Sciences. She has managed applied research grant programs, and led and facilitated research teams in collaboration with NGOs, universities, government leaders, and private sector partners in international development research to translation solutions. Besides USAID, Ms. Burniske had led projects funded by the US Department of State, the US Department of Education, the European Commission, UNICEF, Irish Aid, the World Bank, the Nike Foundation, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
 
Betty Bugusu

Betty Bugusu, Ph.D.

Technical Director
Bio
Prior to joining LASER PULSE, Betty served as the Managing Director of Purdue’s International Food Technology Center housed in the Department of Food Science and the Director for the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Processing and Post-Harvest Handling working in Kenya and Senegal. She also worked as a Research Scientist with the Institute of Food Technologists and as Program Associate for SUSTAIN (a non-profit organization), both based in Washington DC. Dr. Bugusu obtained her B.S. degree in Agriculture from Egerton University, Kenya and M.S. and Ph.D. in Food Science from Purdue. Her research focused on cereal chemistry.
 
Meghan Armistead

Alexandra Towns, Ph.D.

Research Translation Strategy Lead
Bio
Dr. Alexandra Towns is the Research Translation Strategy Lead with Catholic Relief Services (CRS), focusing on developing and implementing LASER’s research translation strategy, with an emphasis on practitioner engagement. Alexandra has worked for CRS since 2015, advising on research and university collaborations to improve the programming in the 100+ countries where CRS works. Dr. Towns has also led assessments on African indigenous vegetables for CRS food security programs in Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Uganda, and Zambia and teaches as an adjunct professor at Towson University. Prior to joining CRS, Alexandra worked at Naturalis Biodiversity Center, researching West African plant markets and African plant-based medicine for maternal and infant health. Alexandra holds a PhD from Leiden University and a MS from the University of California, Davis.
 
Frederick Rossi

Frederick Rossi, Ph.D.

Knowledge Mgt. & Performance Monitoring Specialist
Bio
Dr. Rossi is an Agricultural and Natural Resource Economist with experience spanning international development (in Asia and Africa) and academia with regard to research, project management, and monitoring and evaluation. He has expertise in compiling and analyzing quantitative and qualitative primary and secondary data and information, particularly survey data with thousands of observations and hundreds of variables; and experience with the strategic development of monitoring and evaluation results frameworks, performance monitoring plans, and supporting surveys for a USAID Feed the Future project. He leads the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning team for LASER PULSE. He holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of Florida and Colorado State University, respectively, and a B.Sc. in Geology from Michigan State University.
 
Christopher Rice

Christopher Rice

Research Translation Communication Lead
Bio
Christopher A. Rice, MPA/MA is the Research Translation Communication Lead with the LASER PULSE Consortium. He is a passionate international development professional with experience in international programming on research translation, human rights, entrepreneurship, monitoring and evaluation, and communications. He has worked in nonprofit and university settings to implement U.S. government grants. Chris graduated from the #1-ranked Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs and holds degrees in international development and communications.
 
Christopher Rice

Jane Okwako, Ph.D.

Grants Administrator
Bio
Jane Okwako is a Grants Administrator for LASER at Purdue University. Her expertise in multi-country research and grant seeking spans sectors in institution building, democratic governance, public health, workforce development, and environmental governance. Jane has extensive training in probing how interests, identities, and institutions affect program outcomes including for broader impacts extending to sustainability and resilience. She has successfully collaborated with diverse peers in preparing proposals that enabled millions in awards. She earned her Ph.D. in Political Science specializing in Comparative Politics and American Institutions at Western Michigan University and a Master of Development Administration at the same institution.
 
Jeff Goecker

Jeff Goecker

Communication Specialist
 
Marcy Wilson

Marcy Wilson

Administrative Assistant
 

 

Consortium Leads

  • Purdue: Arvind Raman, Yuehwern Yih
  • CRS: Sarah Ford
  • Makerere: Roy Mayega, Dorothy Okello
  • Notre Dame: Michael Sweikar, Tom Purekal
  • Indiana: Teshome Alemneh, Kara Wools-Kaloustian

Topical Leads

  • Innovation Science: Joe Sinfield
  • HEIN MEL: Willie Burgess
  • Food Security: Gary Burniske

Advisors

  • GEPP: George Chiu