Team Led by Pedro Irazoqui Slated for Strategic Growth

Purdue's College of Engineering has named Pedro Irazoqui's group one of four research teams that will be a priority for faculty hiring during the coming year. Irazoqui is Director of Purdue's Center for Implantable Devices, Associate Head for Research, Associate Professor in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, and Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The teams were chosen because the work they do has the potential for dramatic impact and international pre-eminence. They are part of the college's strategic growth plan that will add as many as 107 faculty over five years.

In addition to the team hiring, other hires are related to strengthening disciplines and taking advantage of opportunities to enhance quality or diversity.

The strategic growth plan is part of Purdue Moves, a range of initiatives designed to broaden Purdue's global impact and enhance educational opportunities for its students.

"The pre-eminent teams are a research-centric approach to faculty hiring," said Leah Jamieson, the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering. "We asked the candidates to tell us how they would form a team to catapult their research to the level of international prominence. That was the starting point for choosing the first-year teams."

The teams already are part of the college. To become pre-eminent teams, they went through a process similar to a pitch entrepreneurs would give to venture capitalists. In the first round, 32 team leaders competed before a panel of distinguished engineering faculty. In the second round, 12 team leaders made their pitches to a panel, with half of its members coming from outside the university. From the university, panelists were from both inside and outside of the College of Engineering.

"The successful teams showed agility, creativity, a willingness to take risks and an ability to move outside their comfort zones," Jamieson said.

Irazoqui's team will pursue research to develop implantable networks of wireless nanoelectronic devices to enable medical treatment through sensors and actuators. Wireless implantable devices are being developed for various potential applications including monitoring and suppression of epileptic seizures; prosthesis control for injured military personnel; modulation of cardiac arrhythmias; treatment of depression and gastroparesis, a partial paralysis of the stomach; and monitoring of intraocular pressure and therapeutic intervention for glaucoma. The research calls for a partnership among the Center for Implantable Devices with the National Science Foundation NEEDS (Nano-Engineered Electronic Device Simulation) initiative led by Mark Lundstrom, the Don and Carol Scifres Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering; the Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine neurosurgical practice; and the Indiana University School of Medicine. "The key enabling technologies come from nanotechnology," Irazoqui said. "Access to them comes from our partnership with NEEDS, and the clinical impact, which is the overarching goal, happens as a result of our partnership with the hospitals in Indianapolis."