Panitch Appointed First Entrepreneur-in-Residence

Rick Cosier (left) and Alyssa Panitch (right)
Rick Cosier, director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, and Purdue biomedical engineering professor Alyssa Panitch discuss details of her role as the center's first entrepreneur-in-residence near the Discovery Park Fountain in McGinley Plaza. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)
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.