sealPurdue Story Ideas, Events

JOURNALISTS: Here are story ideas and a list of selected Purdue events during the next two weeks.

January 27, 2003


Purdue research helps feed Africa
Pet owners part of pain management plan
Purdue first to transmit data to INS tracking system


Jan. 27 – University Senate meeting
Feb. 5 – Acclaimed author Maya Angelou to speak
Feb. 14 – Board of Trustees to meet
Feb. 14 – Strategic innovation author to speak at Krannert
Feb. 24-26 – Heartland Wine School to take place in Bloomington


Purdue research helps feed Africa

Purdue University agriculture researchers are among those trying to make sure that all the planet's people have access to adequate food. Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug will talk about his work to nourish the world during this year's Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry on Feb. 8. Purdue efforts to improve nutrition worldwide include:

  • Purdue sorghum a hot commodity in Africa – Over the next two years, some 400,000 African families may enjoy a variety of sorghum developed at Purdue. Purdue researchers distributed the striga-resistant sorghum to 1,000 farm families in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Striga is a parasitic weed estimated to cause sorghum crop losses of more than $7 billion annually. Subsistence farmers in semi-arid regions cannot afford costly chemical controls for the weed. The farmers who received the seeds are operating demonstration plots, multiplying the seed and redistributing the harvested seed to other communities. Sorghum is the primary food source for hundreds of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa. CONTACT: Gebisa Ejeta, professor of agronomy, (765) 494-4320,

  • Purdue develops easier to digest sorghum – Although sorghum is consumed by people and animals alike, it is not as easily digested as other cereals. Typical protein in sorghum is 46 percent digestible compared to the protein in corn, which is 73 percent digestible. A Purdue food scientist found that protein bodies inside sorghum seed are surrounded by a tough inner protein wall. Stomach enzymes take longer to break down the wall to reach the nutritional proteins in sorghum than is true for similar grains, such as corn. Further study identified a special sorghum variety, in which the protein body wall is structured differently. This sorghum variety has substantially higher protein and starch digestibility. A publication-quality photograph of Hamaker is available at CONTACT: Bruce Hamaker, professor of food science, (765) 494-5668,

  • Uncertainty about food content costly to African mothers – Lack of information about food content causes many impoverished mothers in Africa to spend about five times more for name-brand infant food even when generic formulas are available, according to Purdue agricultural economic researchers. In a study of child malnutrition and the value of food certification in Mali, researchers calculated that the average mother would pay about 30 percent of the cost of higher priced infant food just because the label contained quality and content information. There is no food certification system in Africa, but the study suggests that certifying foods would encourage people to purchase greater quantities of affordable food. CONTACT: William Masters, (765) 494-4235,

    Writer: Beth Forbes, (765) 494-2722,

    NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: The following are story ideas. More information on Norman Borlaug is available on the Web. Tickets to Purdue's Ag Alumni Fish Fry are still available by contacting the Purdue Ag Alumni office at (765) 494-8593.

    Pet owners part of pain management plan

    Pet owners are a crucial component in their pets' pain management, says a veterinary anesthesiologist at Purdue University.

    "Pain management is more challenging in animals because pets cannot verbalize how bad they feel," says Ann Weil, clinical assistant professor in Purdue's School of Veterinary Medicine. "The owner is a valuable part of the team in detecting pain in their animal, because their observations can be key. They know their pet best and can first observe behavior changes such as eating or withdrawal from normal activities."

    Cancer and arthritis are the most common causes for chronic pain in pets.

    "It's fairly easy to overlook pain in pets, some pets have evolved to not express their pain symptoms because they are prey species," Weil says. "But that is no excuse to ignore pain management in animals."

    Weil says there are more resources available in pain management with drug development, as well as other options such as physical therapy and non-traditional methods.

    "Pain management awareness in pets has grown, and there is a growing need for pet anesthesiologists in the private sector," Weil said.

    Most of the nation's board-certified pet anesthesiologists in veterinary medicine can be found at university settings.

    "There are still people who think animals can't experience pain," Weil said. "Pet owners should be aware of pain management and feel comfortable asking their veterinarian about pain."

    CONTACT: Ann Weil, (765) 496-6430,

    Purdue first to transmit data to INS tracking system

    Purdue University was the first in the nation to successfully submit international student data using a batch-file transmission method, according to the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

    Purdue enrolled in SEVIS, Student & Exchange Visitor Information System, on Tuesday (1/ 21) and successfully transmitted data using the batch method the next day.

    "The batch option is the preferred transmission method for larger universities like Purdue," said Michael Brzezinski, director of the Office of International Students and Scholars. "Our success proves it's possible for other schools in the country to utilize this option."

    Last fall Purdue was the first to successfully transmit test data using the SEVIS batch method. SEVIS is the government's national database that stores information on international students, faculty and staff. Universities will use the federally mandated tracking system to send student information to the government, and the data will then be used by the INS to track international students.

    Michael Ivy, director of international programs information technology, said that Purdue will now be able to simultaneously submit up to 250 student records in each transmission.

    "The batch system will save hundreds of hours of manual data entry every semester for our international student office staff," Ivy said. "Our successful transmission also is a tribute to Newfront Software and to the Immigration and Naturalization Service/Electronic Data Systems Information Technology (INS/EDS IT) relationship. We've all worked very hard to develop, test and utilize this option in a very short time span."

    All universities and colleges are required to use SEVIS on or before Jan. 30.

    Purdue currently has 5,015 international students – 2,101 undergraduates and 2,914 graduate and professional students.

    A related story on Purdue's use of the new student tracking software and SEVIS is available on the Web.

    The Newfront software press release is available on the web.

    CONTACT: Brzezinski, (765) 494-7084,; Michael Ivy, director of International Programs Information Technology, (765) 496-6421,




    Acclaimed author Maya Angelou to speak

    Wednesday, Feb. 5. 7 p.m. Maya Angelou will deliver an address in the Elliott Hall of Music. Tickets for the speech will go on sale Wednesday, Jan. 15. Admission is $5 for Purdue students and $10 for the general public. Seats will be reserved for the media, however, flash photography is not permitted and only the first five minutes of her address can be recorded. In addition to Angelou's address, a variety of related campus events will take place the week of Feb. 3, for which the theme is "Project Respect: Expressions of Human Rights." CONTACT Pablo Malavenda, Office of the Dean of Students associate dean, (765) 494-1232,; Stephanie Warner, Purdue Student Government president, (765) 494-7201,

    Board of Trustees to meet

    Friday, Feb. 14. 9 a.m. Purdue Board of Trustees meeting. Stewart Center, Room 326.

    Strategic innovation author to speak at Krannert

    Friday, Feb. 14. Robert B. Tucker, author and authority on strategic innovation, will give two talks at the Krannert School of Management. Tucker is the president of The Innovation Resource, a research and consulting firm in Santa Barbara, Calif. He will speak on "Driving Growth through Innovation" at 11:30 a.m. in the Krannert Auditorium as part of the Krannert Executive Forum speakers series. At 1 p.m., he will speak at Stewart Center's Fowler Hall as part of the Entrepreneurship Club's entrepreneurship symposium. His talk is sponsored by Purdue's New Ventures Laboratory and the Lilly Endowment. Tucker is author of the bestseller, "Managing the Future: 10 Driving Forces for Change in the New Century." His forthcoming book is "How Leading Firms Are Transforming Their Futures," a three-year study of 23 of the world's most innovative firms. CONTACT: Tim Newton, Krannert School director of external relations and communications, (765) 496-7271,

    Heartland Wine School to take place in Bloomington

    February 24-26. The Heartland Wine School will be at the Oliver Winery in Bloomington, Ind., and is sponsored by the Heartland Grape and Wine Coalition, Indiana Wine Grape Council and Purdue Department of Food Science. Commercial winemakers will learn about bulk wine management, wine flaws, post-fermentation microbiology, the use of oak in wine, design of the wine package and show-and-tell wine tasting. In the show and tell, participants will share their wine with others and taste unusual varieties. Journalists interested in covering the event should contact Sally Linton, marketing and public relations specialist in the Department of Food Sciences, at (765) 496-3842. CONTACT: Jill Blume, enology assistant, (765) 494-1749,

    Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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