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K-State Today

June 13, 2022

Biological and agricultural engineering department names next department head

Submitted by Grant Guggisberg

Mark Wilkins, graduate programs chair and professor of biological systems engineering at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, has been named head of the Carl and Melinda Helwig Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, effective Aug. 7.

The announcement was made by Matt O'Keefe, dean of the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering, after a national search. Wilkins will replace Joe Harner, who retired this month after 38 years at K-State, including 12 years as department head.

"Mark Wilkins brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this position," O'Keefe said. "I am confident in his ability to transition into this role smoothly and help lead the excellent work being done in this department for years to come."

Wilkins, who also serves as the director of the Industrial Agricultural Products Center and Nebraska Corn Checkoff Presidential Chair at Nebraska-Lincoln, arrived there after 11 years as a faculty member in the biosystems and agricultural engineering department at Oklahoma State University.

His research interests center on bioprocessing and food processing, including enzymatic hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass, fermentation for production of bioproducts, processing of corn and other cereal grains, and pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass.

Wilkins is active in both the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, or ASABE, and the International Bioprocessing Association. He received a Leadership Citation in 2019 from the Meetings Council of ASABE, and was also named an Outstanding Associate Editor by the organization in 2019.

Lisa Wilken, Mark C. Nyquist — Carl and Mary Ice Cornerstone teaching scholar and associate professor in the department, will serve as acting department head before Wilkins' arrival in August.