October 2010

Purdue Weldon School research on brain trauma in football highlighted in Sports Illustrated
The current issue of Sports Illustrated features a cover story on Purdue research that suggests some high school football players suffer undiagnosed changes in brain function and continue playing even though they are impaired. The research, lead by Weldon School Professors Tom Talavage and Eric Nauman and Weldon graduate student Evan Breedlove, could aid efforts to develop more sensitive and accurate methods for detecting cognitive impairment and concussions; more accurately characterize and model cognitive deficits that result from head impacts; determine the cellular basis for cognitive deficits after a single impact or repeated impacts; and develop new interventions to reduce the risk and effects of head impacts.

































* A Purdue video on the research is available here.

Panitch Appointed First Entrepreneur-in-Residence
Purdue Weldon School professor Alyssa Panitch has been named the first faculty entrepreneur-in-residence at Purdue Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.

Panitch, who has been involved in launching three companies, will serve as a resource for university faculty, staff and students looking to start a company from their work or research at Purdue. She also plans to create a network of faculty experts who can serve as a university-wide resource to help advance the university's commercialization efforts.

"My hope is that, collectively, entrepreneurial faculty, staff and students can do bigger and better things. There is a lot to be gained by meeting with a group of people with like interests to discuss successes, issues and future plans," she said. "This also is an opportunity to meet more of my colleagues and to learn from them. It is a new adventure, and we will see where it leads."

Panitch, who joined the Weldon faculty in 2006, was an ideal candidate for the appointment as part of Discovery Park's mission to support faculty interested in commercializing their research, said Richard Cosier, director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. "The faculty entrepreneur-in-residence provides an opportunity to talk with an experienced faculty entrepreneur about early-stage commercialization and general questions and issues," Cosier said. "In this role, Professor Panitch can connect faculty members with other Purdue resources and sources of information."

Panitch specializes in designing biological and synthetic materials for drug delivery and tissue engineering as well as developing peptide-based pharmaceuticals for restoring normal healing of vascular, neural and fibrotic diseases.

She also was a member of Purdue's inaugural Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy class in 2007, an experience that helped her understand how to share her experiences with students to better prepare them for the challenges of entrepreneurship and industry.

"I realize now how much access to others who were pursuing similar startup activities would have helped me to make better choices during the founding of the first and second companies," she said. "This new role provides an opportunity to work with the Purdue faculty, staff and students to create new support networks to enhance entrepreneurial activities."

Panitch earned bachelor's degrees in biochemistry from Smith College and chemical engineering from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She completed her doctorate in polymer science and engineering from the University of Massachusetts. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and University of Zurich, she was an assistant professor of bioengineering at Arizona State University before coming to Purdue. She currently serves as the Weldon School Associate Head of Research.

Wodicka Awarded Purdue Outstanding Commercialization Award
George Wodicka, Professor and Head of the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and a professor of electrical and computer engineering, is the recipient of the 2010-2011 Outstanding Commercialization Award for Purdue University Faculty. Wodicka will be honored Nov. 4th along with 50 other Purdue researchers during the annual Inventors' Recognition Reception, sponsored by Purdue Research Foundation.

The award is given annually to a faculty member in recognition of outstanding contributions to, and success with, commercializing Purdue research discoveries. It was established with an endowment gift from the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership Foundation.

Under Wodicka's direction, the Weldon School has built upon a legacy of discovery and translational research to improve patient care through company partners such as Cook Inc. Licensed technologies are improving the practice of medicine in areas including wound care, surgery, cardiovascular and orthopaedics.

The Weldon School currently plays a key role in medical device development as part of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Science Institute with the Indiana University School of Medicine and supported by the National Institutes of Health. It also has been instrumental in creating the Purdue Imaging Center in partnership with Innervision and GE Healthcare, founded a graduate education partnership in bioengineering with the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, and collaborates closely with the Alfred E. Mann Institute for Biomedical Development at Purdue.

Wodicka co-founded Purdue's graduate program in biomedical entrepreneurship (Biomedship) with professors Tim Folta in the Krannert School of Management, Alyssa Panitch of the Weldon School and Keith March at the Indiana University School of Medicine. The program brings together teams of students with engineering and business expertise to assess clinical needs and form technological solutions with significant market potential. The program is supported by the Guidant and C.R. Bard Foundations.

Wodicka conducts research in biomedical acoustics, the invention and application of sonic technologies to solve problems in clinical medicine. His current efforts include the design of acoustic guidance systems for clinical catheters and tubes and the development of acoustic biosensors to quantify airway obstructions and speech pathologies. Numerous government agencies, foundations and medical device corporations have supported his research program. He currently serves as a consultant to SonarMed Inc. of Indianapolis in its development of devices for respiratory care.

"Dr. Wodicka richly deserves this award," said Victor Lechtenberg, Purdue vice provost for engagement. "He could qualify solely on the basis of his research in biomedical acoustics. But beyond that, he has led his school into numerous ventures designed to turn vital discoveries into real-world applications."

Wodicka is the eighth recipient of the Outstanding Commercialization Award.

-- Judith Barra Austi, Purdue News Service

Weldon Senior Hansen Appointed to Indiana Commission for Higher Education
Keith Hansen, a senior in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, has been notified of his selection as Indiana's only student representative to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

Hansen is a West Lafayette native and graduate of West Lafayette High School. He is currently Vice President of the Purdue Engineering Student Council and the Midwest Region of the National Association of Engineering Student Councils and is active in the Weldon School Ambassadors program. Last summer, Keith interned at Abbott Molecular in the Chicago area. In addition to his studies, Hansen has also served as a research intern with Weldon Professor Kinam Park at Akina, Inc. at the Purdue Research Park for the last two school years as a Grubbs Fellow and Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship (DURI) student. His term on the commission will expire in June 2012. He aspires to attend medical school.

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education is a fourteen-member public body created in 1971 to:
• Define the educational missions of public colleges and universities
• Plan and coordinate Indiana’s state-supported system of postsecondary education
• Review budget requests from public institutions and the State Student Assistance Commission
• Approve or disapprove for public institutions the establishment of new programs or expansion of campuses

The Governor appoints twelve members, nine representing a Congressional District and three at-large members, to serve terms of four years. In addition, the 1990 legislature added a student and a faculty representative who are appointed by the Governor for terms of two years. The Commission is not a governing board, but a coordinating agency that works closely with Indiana's public and independent colleges.


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