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Professor Dukes selected to lead Purdue Climate Change Research Center


Purdue University forestry and natural resources and biological sciences professor Jeffrey Dukes has been selected as the new director of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center in Discovery Park.

Jeffrey Dukes (Matt Thomas/Purdue University)

Dukes, a Purdue faculty member since 2008, succeeds Otto Doering, who has served for the past year as the center's interim director. Dukes' appointment to lead Purdue's interdisciplinary effort focusing on research and education in global climate change is effective immediately.

"Professor Dukes has a demonstrated commitment to collaboration and interdisciplinary research, which is at the very heart of the climate change issue facing our world today," said Alan Rebar, director of Discovery Park and Purdue's senior associate vice president for research, in announcing the director. "With the breadth of his research and its impact, we're excited about the team he will lead and its role within Purdue's Global Sustainability Institute."

Rebar also thanked Doering for his service. "Otto has done an outstanding job in this interim role, and Discovery Park is extremely grateful to him," Rebar said.

Fifty-four Purdue faculty members and research staff are collaborating in the Purdue Climate Change Research Center, which was established in 2004 to support and promote research and education on global climate change and to examine its impact on agriculture, natural ecosystems and society. The center has generated more than $20 million in research funding since its inception.

"The basic science of climate change is now well understood, and it is clear that the disruption of our current climate will continue to provide many challenges for society over the coming decades," Dukes said. "Purdue has a fantastic group of faculty and students researching many aspects of climate change and its implications for society and the natural world.

"The PCCRC helps those researchers to communicate with each other and with outside stakeholders, such as farmers, city planners and policymakers. We want to understand stakeholder needs and develop useful products for them, while also providing an exceptional academic experience for our students and a dynamic and exciting environment for our faculty."

In his research, Dukes has a particular interest in understanding how changes in climate and the atmosphere will affect the success and impact of invasive species.

He leads the INTERFACE research coordination network, which brings together experimentalists and modelers from around the world to advance global environmental change research. The network is facilitating the incorporation of realistic biological responses into Earth system models (ESMs), and the design of field experiments and computer simulations that are best suited for improving the performance of ESMs.

Dukes also directs the Boston-Area Climate Experiment (BACE), which characterizes ecosystem responses to gradients of climate change.

He joined the Purdue faculty in 2008 after serving as a biology professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where he still holds an adjunct appointment. He received his undergraduate degree in biology from Brown University and his doctoral degree in biological sciences at Stanford University.

Discovery Park launched the Global Sustainability Institute (GSI) to coordinate Purdue's research efforts in sustainability challenges such as climate change, energy, food security, the environment and water. In addition to the Purdue Climate Change Research Center, GSI includes the Center for the Environment, Energy Center, Purdue Water Community and the Purdue Center for Global Food Security.

Discovery Park is Purdue's hub for large-scale interdisciplinary research and innovation, building on the university's strengths in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In its 14-year history, Discovery Park research projects have generated more than $1 billion in research awards and gifts.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133,

Sources: Alan Rebar, 765-496-6625,

Jeffrey Dukes, 765-494-1446,


Original article published in Purdue Today, October 20th.

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