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Dr. Kasiviswanathan Muthukumarappan named Klingbeil Endowed Department Head and Distinguished Professor of the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Dr. Kasiviswanathan Muthukumarappan

The South Dakota State University College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) has named Dr. Kasiviswanathan Muthukumarappan the inaugural Klingbeil Endowed Department Head and Distinguished Professor of the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. 

“Our college is very fortunate to have a leader with Dr. Kasiviswanathan Muthukumarappan’s background of excellence in research and teaching to lead the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering,” said Dr. Joseph Cassady, South Dakota Corn Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. “With 26 years of experience in the department, Dr. Muthukumarappan is well prepared to lead the department into the future.”

As department head, Muthukumarappan will lead the department in accomplishing their mission of improving the world's food production systems and available natural resources for an enhanced agricultural future. Muthukumarappan plans to focus on improving efficiency and retention within the department, while remaining persistent in disseminating their knowledge and research. 

“We want to continue to recruit high quality people on all levels, from faculty to students, and make sure they feel a part of the team from the start,” said Muthukumarappan. “We accomplish a lot in this department, and I want to increase the number of our faculty and students both working with local stakeholders and going outside of the state to share the great things that happen here at SDSU.”  

Muthukumarappan has been serving as department head in an interim role since June 2022, following the retirement of former department head and associate professor emeritus, Van Kelley. Over the course of his career, Muthukumarappan has greatly contributed to the advancement of the South Dakota agriculture industry through the development of novel technologies and by advising graduate and undergraduate students. 

Muthukumarappan received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Madras University, India, a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, India, and a master’s degree in agricultural and food engineering from the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand. After earning his Ph.D. in agricultural engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1993, Muthukumarappan then served as an associate researcher in their Department of Biological Systems Engineering until August 1997.

Joining the SDSU Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering as an assistant professor in 1997, Muthukumarappan rose through the professorial ranks and earned the title of SDSU Distinguished Professor in 2013. Over the years, he has developed an internationally-recognized research program in bioprocessing with an emphasis on producing energy, materials and chemicals from renewable sources. 

Muthukumarappan has received over $20 million in research funding as a PI and Co-PI, authored or co-authored over 250 peer-reviewed publications, participated in over 350 scientific presentations to regional, national and international audiences and has contributed to the update of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) and Food and Process Engineering Institute standards.

“I enjoy working with the faculty, staff and students and am grateful for this opportunity,” said Muthukumarappan. “I am looking forward to leading this department and accomplishing our goals together.”