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Alumni in the Spotlight

Elsa M. Janle, Ph.D. ’63 – Associate Research Professor at Purdue University

As an undergraduate at Ursinus, Elsa M. Janle, Ph.D. ’63 could not have imagined where her career would lead her.

“I was a chemistry major,” she says, “although I also enjoyed my classes in physics and biology.”

The young Dr. Janle took an interest in organic chemistry in particular, and notes that Ursinus enabled her to complete independent research in synthetic organic chemistry. That background led her to receive an M.S. in organic chemistry from Purdue University. But her career path was forever altered after her oldest daughter developed diabetes at age three.

“I went back to graduate school and enrolled in a Ph.D. program in physiology,” says Dr. Janle. “I did my thesis research on beta cell transplants and implantable glucose sensors.”

Dr. Janle pursued a dual path in academia and industry, establishing the glucose sensor research area at a small start-up through SBIR grants and helping create an NIH Botanical Research Centers partnership with Purdue University that lasted eight years. She has since moved entirely into academia and is a member of Purdue’s Nutrition Science Department. Dr. Janle continues to investigate the potential of botanicals in the prevention of diseases, including diabetes.

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