October 2012

Purdue Biomedical Engineering Slated for Major Expansion
The Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University will grow substantially its faculty, educational programs, and applied research facilities to meet burgeoning economic development needs for graduates and translatable medical technologies. This expansion is a critical component of the Purdue College of Engineering growth plan that will include the hiring of more than 100 new faculty members over the next five years.

"This major expansion of our innovative instructional and research capabilities will allow us to more fully meet the needs of our students and industrial partners and thereby have an even broader impact on the medical device field and healthcare," stated George Wodicka, Head of the Weldon School. "We will build upon our strong track record of creating technologies that both improve patient care and drive the regional economy through effective translation and entrepreneurship."

In addition to faculty and related staff growth, the plan emphasizes the development of industrially-oriented educational programs and state-of-the-art laboratories that spur creativity and innovation. Wodicka said, "We envision our growth to be highly collaborative with departments across campus, with our principal academic partner, the Indiana University School of Medicine, and with our many industrial partners, creating a large biomedical engineering enterprise with unlimited potential for impact."

For the full announcement of the College of Engineering's strategic, five-year growth plan, please follow the accompanying link

Norm Weldon Awarded Phoenix Lifetime Achievement Award
Norm Weldon
Purdue alumnus Norman Weldon, of Evergreen, Colo. and Amelia Island, Fla., is the recipient of the 2012 Phoenix Lifetime Achievement Award. Weldon was honored Oct. 14th during the annual Medical Device and Diagnostic Conference for Chief Executive Officers in Laguna Beach, Calif.

The award is given annually to individuals in recognition of outstanding achievement in the medical device and diagnostic industry. The awardee is selected by representatives of the four founding organizations of the Phoenix Conference; Elsevier Business Intelligence, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Versant Ventures, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

 “The Phoenix Lifetime Achievement Award goes to an individual who has made a significant contribution over the course of their career to advance medical technology as an innovator or entrepreneur,” said David Cassak, Managing Director of Medical Devices of Elsevier Business Intelligence. “Norm’s career obviously exemplifies that. The work he has done building and mentoring small companies has made him a leader in the medical diagnostics field.”

In 2004, the Weldon Family provided a $10 million gift to transform the Purdue biomedical engineering department into a full-fledged school. The school was named the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering in honor of the family's gift. Building upon Weldon's experiences, the rapidly growing School is already well-recognized as a leader in translating life-saving technologies into clinical practice via industrial partners.

Weldon has forty-eight years’ experience in senior management in the medical device and electronics industries.  He has been CEO of CTS Corp., in Elkhart, Ind., and president of Cordis Corp., in Miami, Fla. He currently is managing director of Partisan Management Group, a venture capital fund he co-founded in 1992. From 1986 to 1996, he was president and CEO of Corvita Corp., a medical device company he co-founded in 1986. The company was purchased by Pfizer Inc. in 1996.

“As Medtech leaders, we help people live longer, more productive lives,” said Weldon.  “I have had the ultimate joy of meeting productive people treated by Medivance who were admitted to hospitals as dead on arrival.  I have experienced the supreme satisfaction of meeting Neuronetics patients who have fully recovered from decades of intractable depression.  Few others in any profession have the rewarding experiences that we enjoy.

“But me getting a lifetime achievement award at my young age of 78 is a bit premature,” quipped Weldon. “Most of my best achievements are still ahead. The best is yet to come.”

Weldon earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture in 1956, a master's degree in management in 1962 and a doctoral degree in economics in 1964, all from Purdue.

A native of Kentland, Ind., Weldon has been a friend and adviser to Purdue biomedical engineering since its inception in 1974. He enjoys mentoring students and returned to campus recently to meet with the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering ambassadors where much of an informal discussion over lunch centered on Weldon’s tips for entrepreneurial success. 

His parting advice to the next generation of biomedical engineers:  “You’re in the right field. Keep learning.  Read the paper. Go to the trade shows. Talk to the grey hairs, and pay attention.”

Weldon is the tenth recipient of the Phoenix Lifetime Achievement Award. Another Purdue alumnus, Ron Dollens, received the award in 2006. Dollens earned a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy in 1970 and an honorary doctorate in pharmacy in 2001, both from Purdue.

In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award, a Most Promising New Product Award, Emerging Growth Company Award, and an Innovator’s Award also are presented at the conference.  NeuroStar TMS Therapy System©, a treatment of Major Depressive Disorder and pioneered by Neuronetics, Inc., won the Phoenix 2012 Most Promising New Product Award. Neuronetics, Inc. was co-founded by Weldon in 2001.

Leary Honored as BMES Fellow
The Biomedical Engineering Society has announced that Professor James F. Leary has been selected as one of only nine 2012 BMES Fellows. BMES Fellows will be recognized at the 2012 Annual Meeting in Atlanta, to be held October 24-27.

Society members who demonstrate exceptional achievements and experience in the field of biomedical engineering, as well as a record of membership and participation in the Society, have the opportunity to become fellows. Fellow and honorary fellow memberships are conferred by the BMES board of directors through a highly selective process. Nominations for each of these categories may be made by Society members and the board of directors.

Dr. Leary is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Basic Medical Sciences, and the SVM Endowed Professor of Nanomedicine at Purdue.  At Purdue Dr. Leary is in the process of building new highly interdisciplinary research programs in nanomedicine, regenerative medicine, cancer diagnostics and therapeutics, high-throughput technologies, and drug discovery. His nomination was based on his development of high-throughput cell analysis and rare-event analysis methods/technologies for stem cell and minimal residual disease monitoring in medicine and for development and teaching advanced techniques in nanomedicine.

In 2011, he was awarded the International Journal of Nanomedicine Distinguished Scientist Award for his lifetime achievements in nanomedicine, and in 2012, he was elected Fellow of the SPIE (International Society for Optical Engineering) for lifetime achievement in flow cytometry and nanomedicine.



Sean Connell Receives Dual Honors
Sean Connell, a Purdue Biomedical Engineering doctoral researcher, was recently selected for two prestigious honors.

Connell received the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance Advanced E-Team Grant. E-Team grants support commercial outcomes by moving science and technology innovations from the idea stage to prototype and eventually to market.

He also received the Baxter Young Investigator Award. This award program was developed to stimulate and reward research that can be directly used for critical care therapies and the development of medical products that save and sustain patients’ lives.

The honors continue to support Connell’s research efforts on nanotechnology-based antiseptics for wound healing. The core technology was co-invented by Connell and Jianming Li, a recent Purdue BME graduate and current research faculty member in the department of Basic Medical Sciences.

The duo formed a start-up company, Medtric Biotech, LLC in an effort to commercialize their invention. Recently, they paired with Will Schryver, a Purdue MBA candidate to take top honors at several local, national, and global business plan competitions.  

Based on the team’s efforts, Medtric is poised to introduce a new class of wound dressings containing the revolutionary infection-fighting nanotechnology that protects against bacteria, including antibiotic resistant superbugs, and simultaneously advances the healing process.

Many wishes for continued success!



Purdue BMES Chapter Recipient of 2012 Outstanding Outreach Award
The Purdue student chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) has been selected as the recipient of the 2012 Biomedical Engineering Society Outstanding Outreach Award.

The Purdue representatives will give a brief presentation in "How to..." at the Student Affairs and Chapter Development Session of the BMES annual meeting, to be held in Atlanta, George, October 24-27. The award is supporting travel and registration for two chapter members, who will receive a plaque at the meeting.

The Purdue chapter of BMES focuses on several specific areas to nurture and develop their members into well-rounded biomedical engineers, providing activities and events that hone the skills required both during the members' academic careers and their future endeavors. These activities include industry and professional development and social, outreach, and mentoring activities.

There are currently approximately 90 graduate student members and 180 undergraduate student members. In the 2011-2012 academic year, they helped host a distinguished speaker, held an all-day research symposium, assisted with the BME summer seminar series, and hosted an industrial roundtable networking dinner. Social activities included a graduate/undergraduate student picnic, a welcome back picnic, staff/faculty/student potluck lunches, a semiformal winter ball, an undergraduate cookout, and an ice cream social. In order to develop a deeper collaboration with other chapters, the Purdue students developed a Big 10 speaker exchange program.

The chapter was incredibly busy with outreach activities, including a hands-on learning activity (Mentos and Coke) at local junior high schools, judging at a regional high school science fair, sponsoring activities at Purdue's Spring Fest and the Indiana State Fair, and numerous mentoring activities within our school.

Congratulations to our very busy, extremely active BMES chapter!


Please let us know of your accomplishments, as well as your ideas to help us improve the publication. As always, we welcome you to join us as we advance both higher education and the medical device and biotechnology fields. If you are interested in learning more about the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, please contact Brian Knoy at bjknoy@purdue.edu. We would like to learn about you, answer your questions, and schedule a visit.