Director of the Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering
Professor and Director Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering
Michael R. Ladisch is Director of the Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering (LORRE), and Distinguished Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering with a joint appointment in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. His BS (1973) from Drexel University and MS (1974) and PhD (1977) from Purdue University are in Chemical Engineering. He is continuing his activities with Mascoma Corporation, where he has been a contributor since 2007.
Dr. Ladisch’s research includes bioprocess engineering, transformation of renewable resources into biofuels and bioproducts, and food safety. His fundamental studies address proteins and living organisms at surfaces, microfluidic biosensor systems, bionanotechnology and bioseparations. His team has developed and prototyped microfiltration technology for rapid concentration and recovery of microorganisms from foods and water. He is an author for two textbooks, numerous journal papers, book chapters and abstracts, with 20 patents granted or applied for. His team has developed, published, and prototyped microfiltration technology for rapid concentration and recovery of microorganisms from foods and water.
Dr. Ladisch was elected Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering in 1994 and to the National Academy of Engineering in 1999. The American Institute of Chemical Engineers named him as one of the 100 engineers of the Modern Era in 2008. He received the Marvin J. Johnson Award of the American Chemical Society in 2002, the Charles D. Scott Award in 2009, became Fellow of ACS and AAAS in 2011, and was elected to the National Academy of Inventors in 2014. In 2015, he received the Morrill Award from Purdue University, and led the Purdue team that was named the winner of the FDA Food Safety Challenge.
Agriculture uses 70 percent of the world’s accessible freshwater. FFAR’s 2016-2018 Overcoming Water Scarcity Challenge Area addressed water use efficiency in agriculture by developing water conservation and reuse technologies, improving crop and livestock breeds, creating improved agronomic practices, increasing the social and economic tractability of conservation practices and enhancing the efficacy of Extension services.
FFAR’s Sustainable Water Management Challenge Area builds on earlier work to increase water availability and water efficiency for agricultural use, reduces agricultural water pollution and develops water reuse technologies.
FFAR’s 2016-2018 Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms Challenge Area increased soil health by building knowledge, fueling innovation, and enabling adoption of existing or new innovative practices that improve soil health.
The Soil Health Challenge Area advances existing research and identifies linkages between farm productivity and soil health, while also addressing barriers to the adoption of soil health practices.
FFAR’s 2016-2018 Protein Challenge Area sought to improve the environmental, economic and social sustainability of diverse proteins.
The Advance Animal Systems challenge area supports sustainable animal production through environmentally sound productions practices and advancement in animal health and welfare. Additionally, the Next Generation Crops Challenge Area develops non-traditional crops, including plant-based proteins, and creates new economic opportunities for conventional crops to increase future crop diversity and farm profitability.
About 40 percent of food in the US, or $161 billion each year, is lost or wasted. FFAR’s 2016-2018 Food and Waste Loss Challenge Area addressed the social, economic and environmental impacts from food waste and loss through research that developed of novel uses for agricultural waste, improved storage and distribution, supported tracking and monitoring, minimized spoilage through pre- and post-harvest innovations and changed behaviors to reduce food waste
FFAR’s current Health-Agriculture Nexus Challenge Area addresses food waste and loss and supports innovative, systems-level approaches to reduce food and nutritional insecurity and improve human health in the US and globally.
Supporting innovation is necessary for sustainable results. Over the last 50 years, farmers have tripled global food production thanks to agricultural innovations. Forging the Innovation Pathway to Sustainability was a 2016-2018 Challenge Area that focused on understanding the barriers and processes that prevented the adoption of technology and research results into sustainable practices.
The 2016-2018 Urban Food Systems Challenge Area addressed feeding urban populations through urban and peri-urban agriculture and augmenting the capabilities of our current food system.
The Urban Food Systems Challenge Area continues this work and enhances our ability to feed urban populations.
FFAR’s 2016-2018 Making My Plate Your Plate Challenge Area focused on helping Americans meet the USDA 2015 Dietary Guideline recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption, including research to both produce and provide access to nutritious fruits and vegetables.
FFAR’s current Health-Agriculture Nexus Challenge Area supports innovative, systems-level approaches to reduce food and nutritional insecurity and improve human health in the US and globally.