Professor Porterfield holds academic appointments in Agricultural & Biological Engineering, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, and the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Porterfield received his B.S. from the University of South Alabama in biology with a focus on cell biology and his Ph.D. at Louisiana State University. Dr. Porterfield conducted post-doctoral research at the Marine Biological Lab at Woods Hole in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Before joining the ABE faculty in 2005 he was an assistant professor in Biological Sciences and Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla.
At Purdue University Dr. Porterfield founded and co-directs the Physiological Sensing Facility, a trans-center collaborative core that bridges the Birck Nanotechnology Center and the Bindley Bioscience Center in Discovery Park. The Physiological Sensing Facility (PSF) organizes intellectual exchange and fosters direct engagement with interdisciplinary scientists and engineers. To that end, the facility cultivates a broad understanding of both engineering/technology and biosciences research as a prerequisite to drive both sensor development and sensor application. The PSF seeks researchers with interests in the environment, engineering, agriculture, biology, medicine, and other life sciences areas to approach the PSF with ideas, needs, and capabilities that can adapted and applied to the development of new technologies. Based on identifying user needs, the PSF searches for ways to direct new developments in biological and physiological sensing technologies that will have significant impact in many research areas.
Dr. Porterfield's teaching and research focus is on advanced physiological sensing technologies for research applications in biology, agriculture, space, the environment, and medicine. Specific projects include: scanning probe sensor technology, biosensors, bioMEMS, bionanotechnology, and lab-on-a-chip systems. He also is working with plant systems in bioregenerative life support systems for spaceflight. His work in this area includes cell signaling, biophysical limitations in microgravity, nutrient delivery technology, and biomimetic sensors. In 2006 he earned the Halstead Young Investigator award from the American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology, and is now serves that organization as President-Elect. In 2009 He was appointed a Purdue University Faculty Scholar, Purdue's top award for mid-career faculty.