Brent T. Ladd
Senior Research Program Director
EMBRIO Institute
Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering
Purdue University


I currently serve as the managing director for the EMBRIO Institute, an NSF Biology Integration Institute based at Purdue, with six university partners. My LinkedIn page provides up to date information. EMBRIO aims to determine how living systems integrate “orthogonal” signals such as chemical and mechanical stimuli to develop responsive phenotypes that coordinate cell and tissue structures for survival and function. We are employing quantitative imaging and simulation to bridge diverse biological systems to penetrate a Rules of Life question—"How are multimodal signals integrated across scales to coordinate the robust cell biological and morphogenetic responses needed to survive?”.

My previous role at Purdue was as the Director of Education and Diversity 2010 - 2022 leading interdisciplinary student training, online curriculum, outreach communications, evaluation, reporting, and inclusive diversity actions with the Center for Science of Information .  

Prior to this I coordinated education and outreach activities with Purdue University's Center for the Environment and Ecological Sciences & Engineering Graduate Program at Discovery Park from 2007-2010. I was the lead organizer of the annual environmental entrepreneurship competition at Purdue during that time.

From 1999-2007, I conducted watershed and sustainable agriculture projects. I served as the Extension contact for water quality programming and education throughout the State of Indiana. My  past projects include chairing the inaugural Indiana Rivers Rally conference, co-developing and coordinating the award winning Indiana Watershed Leadership Program, Theme Coordinator for the Great Lakes Regional Nutrients & Water Quality Team, Extension contact for drinking water and farm environmental assessments, as well as managing Purdue Water Quality web sites and the Extension Water Quality Common Interest Group.


I was raised on a small farm within the "prairie peninsula" of Benton and Warren counties of Indiana. I'm a proud first generation college student completing my B.S. at Purdue and continued on to gain my MS with thesis research in applied ethology. I hold a certificate in Permaculture Design and developed a community service outreach project known as Ecoliteracy for Life based on my past experience as a young man living for several years in the wilderness and learning from Native Ojibwa elders in Northern Wisconsin, along with my graduate research experience in behavioral ecology, farming, and permaculture. For fun, I enjoy writing and producing songs recording guitar and vocals  on genres ranging from folk to punk. When time allows I write about the connection between wild nature and the human spirit, and hiking and camping excursions with my wife, Elizabeth, and dog Neo (after the Matrix character).

Recent Professional Positions
Senior Research Program Manager, EMBRIO Institute, National Science Foundation Biology Integration Institute, based at Purdue University (September 1, 2022 - current)

Director of Education, Center for Science of Information, National Science Foundation Science & Technology Center, based at Purdue University (October 2010 - August 2022)

Learning & Engagement Coordinator, Ecological Sciences & Engineering Interdisciplinary Program and Center for the Environment at Discovery Park, Purdue University (February 2007 - October 2010)

Water Quality Specialist, Department of Agricultural & Biological Engineering, Purdue University (2001-2007)

Environmental Assessment Coordinator, Department of Agricultural & Biological Engineering, Purdue University (1999-2001)


Teaching and Outreach Experience
Center for Science of Information, Purdue University-NSF, 2010 - current
Led organization of new courses, training workshops, and websites Introduction to the Science of Information (HONR 399), Introduction to Data Science & Interdisciplinary Teams, and world wide learning platform for science of information.

Center for the Environment, Purdue University 2007 - 2010
Taught graduate course, Foundations of Sustainability: Ecological Concepts and Applications (AGRY 598)
co-organized Permaculture Training at Purdue, and instructor for soil health session.

Indiana Watershed Leadership Academy, hybrid course for professionals and community leaders, Purdue University, 2005 – 2007.

Stream ecology and assessment undergraduate labs, Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department, Purdue University, 2000 – 2006.

Watersheds and water quality, outreach to individuals and communities, Purdue University Extension, 1999 – 2007.

Working lands environmental assessments and outreach, Purdue University Extension, 1999 – 2004.


Selected Conference and Extension Publications
Ladd, B.T. 2019. The Information Frontiers Program: Expanding Student Capacity for Crossing Domain and Institutional Borders. October 24, 2019, Association for Interdisciplinary Studies 41st Annual Conference, University van Amsterdam, Netherlands

Ladd, B.T. and Ward, M.D. 2019. Training Students Concurrently in Data Science and Team Science. July 28, 2019, American Statistical Association, Joint Statistical Meetings, Denver, Colorado, USA

Ladd, B.T. and Brown, R.E. 2019. Broader Impacts of the Information Frontiers Integrated Education and Diversity Program. May 1, 2019, National Alliance for Broader Impacts Summit, Tucson, Arizona, USA

Ladd, B.T. 2018. Case Study of Interdisciplinary Student Research Teams: Factors, Outcomes, and Lessons Learned. In Proceedings of Science of Team Science Conference, Galveston, TX, p. 28

Andronicos, K. and Ladd, B.T. 2018. Broadening Participation in the Science of Information. Poster presentation to NSF INCLUDES Summit: Broadening Participation through Center-scale Research, Washington D.C.

Broussard, S.R., Ladd, B.T., Frankenberger, J.R.. Washington-Ottombre, C., and Haley, A. 2006. Indiana Watershed Groups: Exploring Activities, Characteristics, Barriers, Information Use, and Training Needs. Statewide survey report, 45 pgs. Purdue University.

Ladd, B.T. and J.R. Frankenberger. 2004. On-Farm Soil Monitoring for Water Resource
   Protection, WQ-43. 12 pgs, Purdue Extension.

Ladd, B.T. and J.R. Frankenberger. 2004. Field Assessment for Water Resource Protection, WQ-42. 24 pgs, Purdue Extension.

Ladd, B.T. and J.R. Frankenberger. 2003. Management of Ponds, Wetlands, and Other Water Reservoirs to Minimize Mosquitoes, WQ-41-W. 8 pgs, Purdue Extension.

Ladd, B.T. and J.R. Frankenberger. 2001. Livestock Confinement Assessment for Water Resource Protection. WQ-40. 12 pgs, Purdue Extension.


Synergistic Activities
1) Introduction to Data Science and Interdisciplinary Teams
Organized annual summer workshop 2012-2020 for diverse student teams with faculty to learn data science methods while working across disciplines on vexing life science, engineering, and data problems. Students from 30 universities and 26 distinct departments have been involved, with a 1:1 male-to-female ratio.

2)Ecological Sciences & Engineering Symposium
Helped direct planning of this now annual event that brings together researchers, students, staff, and area citizens to focus on ecological and sustainable living topics, while presenting the latest environmental research and education going on at Purdue.

3) Permaculture
Organized the first permaculture course at Purdue University summer 2009, while helping to bridge people, expertise, and resources at Purdue, in the local community, and the Midwest.

4) Indiana Rivers Rally
Co-chaired this inaugural event with Rivers Institute of Hanover College and led twenty five other organizations and agencies in planning the event. Rivers Rally brought together for the first time the larger water audience in Indiana including academicians, grassroots organizations, conservation professionals, citizen volunteers, and recreational enthusiasts.

5) Indiana Watershed Leadership Program
Managed and assisted in the development of a leadership program geared toward community watershed planners and managers.  Developed and delivered education materials both in workshops and over the web.

6) Environmental and Socials Indicators Project.
Worked with faculty to gather data on public knowledge and attitudes about water quality and watershed management.  This data has been instrumental in developing social indicators of adoption of best management practices for watershed management.

7) Water quality Extension programming
Developed water quality information and educational web sites for non-academic audiences as part of the Purdue Extension Water Quality Program.( and the Safe Water for the Future Program. (


Collaborators and co-editors:
Magana, A. (Purdue), Szpankowski, W. (Purdue), Byrd, V. (Purdue), Roark, K. (Purdue), Ward, M.D. (Purdue U.), Grant, A. (Purdue), Jim, C. (UNT), Kumar, D. (Bryn Mawr), J. LaLind (EAFIT), S. Suthaharan (UNC-Greensboro), Andronicos, K (Purdue), Lee, L.S. (Purdue U.), Frankenberger, J. (Purdue U.), Broussard, S. (Purdue/Cornell); Cooper, B. (Purdue U.); Crighton, L. (IN Dept. of Natural Resources); Dodge, M. (Hanover College); ; James, R. (Wabash River Heritage Corridor Commission); Wilson, W. (Midwest Permaculture), Clement, N. (Purdue U.)


M.S. Ethology, Dept. Animal Sciences, Purdue University (1993)
minor: Philosophy of Mind

B.S. Animal Sciences & Agribusiness, Purdue University (1990)
minor: Music Theory

Post-Graduate Ph.D. level: Geographic Information Systems and Human Dimensions of Natural Resource Management (2000 - 2005)


Selected Professional Development

Brave Leader Recognized - Brave Leader, Inc. Brene´ Brown led training

Project Implicit - Unconscious Bias Training and Testing

Building Your Leadership Skills - HEC Paris

The Data Scientist's Toolbox course series - Johns Hopkins

RCR-Responsible Conduct of Research Certification

Natural Resources Leadership Development series training - Purdue University

Watershed Management Certification - U.S. EPA, and Center for Watershed Protection

Permaculture Design Certification - Permaculture International Institute





Data and Team Science Training 2019
With family on Outerbanks, NC 2010

Contact Information
Phone: 765.496.1693