Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship

Leadership Academy

2014-2015 Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy: Fellows and Project Areas

The Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy is a resource support program for Purdue faculty who have entrepreneurial interests.

The goals of the program are to: increase technology commercialization on the Purdue campus through education about the resources and support available at Purdue and the Purdue Research Park; enhance the capabilities of faculty who are interested in leading interdisciplinary research programs, centers, and partnerships that might lead to translational activities; support faculty who are interested in developing entrepreneurial courses or research projects; create a network of faculty with shared entrepreneurial interests; and introduce faculty to discussions about leadership skills and contribute to the cadre of the next generation of faculty leaders.

Ten faculty members are competitively selected each year to participate in the Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy. A faculty member from the previous year is selected to serve as the Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy Scholar. Each Fellow receives $5,000 in seed funding for a project; each Scholar receives $15,000 for continued project work.

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2014-2015 Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy Participants & Interests


Sherry Harbin, harbins@purdue.edu

Biomedical Engineering, Associate Professor

Recently, I founded GeniPhys™, an Indiana-based, small business, whose mission is to transform cell biology and medicine with innovative collagen polymers and designer collagen-fibril materials for advanced in-vitro tissue systems and cell-instructive implants. These technologies were developed by my laboratory at Purdue over the last several years. Since this technology recapitulates the natural fibrous structure of the extracellular matrix and its associated mechanobiology signaling, in-vitro tissue systems more accurately predict in-vivo human responses and implantable materials foster tissue integration and regeneration rather than the default foreign body response (fibrosis) observed with conventional synthetic and metal implants. I am currently working with Purdue Research Foundation and the Purdue Foundry to license and fully commercialize these technologies. As a Scholar of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy, I look to continue to build my leadership, entrepreneurial, and networking skills to position GeniPhys for success.  In addition, I plan to share my perspectives and experiences with others as we look to grow Purdue’s history of success in the areas of translational research and technology transfer.


Matthew Murawski, murawski@purdue.edu

Pharmacy Practice, Associate Professor

I have developed an I-pad-based application/technology for screening patients for the existence of ongoing “side effects” to their prescription medications, the ADverse Drug Reaction/Event Screening System (ADDRESS).  My long-term goal is to place this technology in the health care system to improve patient care, and entrepreneurial efforts are one component of that effort. The technology can be seen at: http://www.pharmacy.purdue.edu/ptrqol/  This year, we are working on putting the newest version into a prototype “kiosk” for potential installation in pharmacies or other health care facilities.


Sean Brophy, sbrophy@purdue.edu

Associate Professor, School of Engineering Education

My interests focus on the research, development, and distribution of effective learning technologies.  A recent project with my students produced an affordable instructional shake table and software that makes difficult concepts of physics more accessible.  I have worked with the students to design the system based on research from the learning sciences.   As a result we believe we have a robust system that provides a strong example of effective learning experiences for engineering and science education.  The table and software have been delivered to a small contingent of early adopters and their use of the table for education and outreach experiences has captured the attention of many educators.  My intentions as a scholar in the Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy (ELA) are to develop a business plan to commercialize this instructional shake table system and identify the potential for a company that performs research and development of learning devices.   Also as an engineering educator I’m looking to blend this model with research experiences for undergraduate, and research and development opportunities for graduate and postdoctoral scholars. 


David S. Ebert, ebertd@purdue.edu

Silicon Valley Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Director, VACCINE

VACCINE (Visual Analytics for Command, Control, and Interoperability Environments) is a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Center of Excellence. It accomplishes its mission through an integrated program of research, education and technology transition, spanning the disciplines of visualization and computer graphics, engineering, computer science, geographic information systems, cognitive psychology, information technology, and emergency management and public safety. VACCINE develops powerful analytical tools and interactive visual decision making environments that enable quick, effective decisions as well as effective action and response based on available resources. DHS expects that each project also has a transition/commercialization strategy. Two VACCINE software tools in particular have a high degree of commercial readiness to advance along the transition corridor. VALET (visual analytics law enforcement tool kit) provides law enforcement agencies with a suite of tools that allows for the spatiotemporal exploration of multivariate data sets and police records. These tools provide advanced analytic capabilities that allow officers to develop and test hypotheses about law enforcement activities within various areas of their communities. SMART (Social Media Analytics and Reporting Toolkit) is a social media analysis system that provides analysts with scalable analysis and visualization of social media posts. The system uses topic extraction, combinations of key word filters, word cluster examination, and unusual event detection to provide situational awareness and improve decision-making for time-critical tasks. Already the interest of multiple external licensing entities, both of these tools have reached points where the current version can be commercialized/transitioned and will therefore be the focus during the Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy.


Klein Ileleji, ileleji@purdue.edu 

Agricultural & Biological Engineering, Associate Professor & Extension Engineer

My interest in the Entrepreneurship Leadership Academy (ELA) program stems from my desire to learn the skills of how to take ideas developed in my lab to commercialization, either through the pathway of working with an existing industry or a new start-up. I am currently working on two projects that I would like to commercialize in the near future. The first is an integrated stored grain management tool for tracking grain quality, inventory, transport and managing logistics from the farm-gate to the end-user. This involve the development of new grain quality sensors, expert systems and management software that would be seamlessly integrated to work with different segments of the grain value chain. The second project is the development of low-cost grain drying and moisture determination technologies for smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. I plan to develop strategies on how to take economically impactful technological innovations to one of the largest socio-economic groups in the world by examining how the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ business approach can be adapted to scale-up technologies, especially for smallholder agriculture. While both projects appear quite different, they are in fact quite similar in the sense that they both involve the commercialization of technologies that would ensure the safe delivery of quality grains to the end-user.


Brent Jesiek , bjesiek@purdue.edu

College of Engineering, Associate Professor of Engineering Education

My interest in ELA mainly stems from my 10+ years of experience teaching and doing research on global engineering and related topics. In addition to developing and facilitating global competency courses and workshops for students at Virginia Tech and Purdue, I have provided training for hundreds of technical professionals at Kimberly-Clark Corporation, the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and Evonik Corporation - Tippecanoe Laboratories. Through a current NSF-supported research project, I am also leading development of Situational Judgment Test (SJT) questions focused three major dimensions of global engineering competency in six national/cultural contexts. Through my participation in ELA, I would like to explore strategies and opportunities for: a) expanding my training and consulting activities with industry clients, and b) developing and marketing analytic and consulting services to pair with the assessment tools we are creating. For the latter objective, I am especially interested in providing free basic tools paired with optional premium services and add-ons. Some of the insights gleaned from my participation in ELA might also be readily transferable to one of my newer areas of potential research, consulting, and training activity, namely that of “boundary spanning.” Finally, I more generally hope to enhance my effectiveness at networking professionally and promoting myself, especially in industry.


Byunghoo Jung, jungb@purdue.edu

Electrical and Computer Engineering, Associate Professor

I am the founder of AccuPS, LLC, www.AccuPS.com). The company goal is becoming the leader creating and providing high definition (HD) 3D man-machine interaction solutions. AccuPS’s HD 3D man-machine interaction device is based on wireless electromagnetic beacon broadcasting and sensing. The initial commercialization device will be a 3D motion based input-output device for traditional computing platforms, notebook and desktop. The device will target digital artists, 3D animation designers, CAD designers, and medical specialists. By reducing the form factor of the device, we will extend its application to mobile platforms.


Alexander Kildishev, Kildishev@purdue.edu

Associate Research Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

I am exploring commercialization opportunities for a solar thermal photovoltaic (STPV) device based on novel plasmonic ceramic metasurfaces.  As the VP for Research with Nano-Meta Technologies, Inc. (NMTI), I am deeply involved in the commercialization processes of its innovative ideas. (Purdue professors, A. Boltasseva and V. Shalaev, who are recognized leaders in the fields of nanophotonics, metamaterials and plasmonics, founded NMTI.) One of the company’s strong opportunities comes from plasmonic nanostructures build from alternative plasmonic materials – plasmonic ceramics – licensed from Purdue University. The nanostructured plasmonic ceramic elements are especially well suited for nanoscale local-heating applications, including ultra-efficient solar thermal photovoltaic  (STPV) cells.  ELA resources will be used to (i) undertake a feasibility analysis exploring the commercial viability and

freedom-to-operate for our plasmonic ceramic material in practical STPV devices and (ii) further develop

the related IP to ensure the ultimate protection of our STPV applications. I am also interested in mastering the advanced licensing and patenting practices, along with performing the market analysis and developing best networking strategies pertinent to the project.


Yung-Hsiang Lu, yunglu@purdue.edu

Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

I have been observing the growth of many companies developing computer technologies. I am interested in learning how to move the technologies from academic research to successful enterprise. My research group at Purdue has been building a system for analyzing large amounts of visual data retrieved from many parts of the world. The system uses publicly available images and videos provided by governments (such as departments of transportation and national parks), companies (such as vacation resorts), and individuals. This system allows users to see snapshots from thousands of cameras and to select the cameras that can provide useful data for their analyses. The users can set configurations of analyses (such as time and durations) and upload analysis programs. This is a general-purpose system and the analyses may extract useful information over a wide range, from real-time traffic conditions to long-term trends of environments. This system uses cloud servers  for running the analysis programs that can process large quantities of data. This system is operational and a subset of this system won the the second prize of the Schurz Innovation Challenge in April 2014. I am interested exploring the opportunities commercializing this system.

Eric Matson, ematson@purdue.edu

College of Technology

We have been working on an engagement project the last 2.5 years to develop the market in the USA for fire suppression robots.  This effort has included many partners including the Purdue Fire and Police Departments, Lafayette Fire Department and numerous others.  We have taken developmental models of Korean robots and revolutionized all the requirements for the robots to serve the USA first responders marketplace.  This has resulted in a production ready prototype.  The market development has been a success, including international news coverage on CNN and Fox News, so we are moving to the next stage of development, creating the legal business entity to market, develop, sell, maintain, support and manufacture these robots, in this area.  We also have two additional robots under development that are complementary to the current robot prototypes.  The new robots will be developed completely at Purdue.


J. Paul Robinson, wombat@purdue.edu

Basic Medical Sciences

I am co-founder of a company in the Kurtz Technology Center that is focused on developing next-generation cellular analysis technology. We have developed a very-frequency instrumentation that we believe will advance the analytical capacity of flowing cellular systems, particularly related to blood or suspension cells. We have a strong patent portfolio and have some advantages in that we have integrated non-traditional technology into the cell analysis domain producing results that are innovative and will expand the analytical space in cell biology. While the technology can also be used for high-level research initiatives, the long-term goal is to replace current routine technologies in the hematology field, one of the largest applications of instruments in the medical diagnostics field. Blood-cell counters exist in every pathology department and clinic; they are integral technologies for the primary evaluation of human conditions because blood analysis is frequently the first test requested by physicians. It is also a critical component in higher-level diagnostics in blood diseases, so its application covers the entire spectrum of the diagnostic process for many diseases. Development of this business will require FDA 510K certification of instruments as well as development of management and corporate mechanisms for moving the company into the clinical diagnostic space.


Riyi Shi, riyi@purdue.edu

Basic Medical Sciences and Biomedical Engineering

My entrepreneurial interest is to develop and commercialize drugs for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and neuropathic pain.  We have discovered that acrolein, a known neurotoxin, plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS) and neuropathic pain (NP). We have also discovered that hydralazine and other off-patent generic drugs, indicated for uses unrelated to neurological diseases or NP, act as acrolein scavengers.  In particular, our pre-clinical work has verified that hydralazine can effectively reduce elevated level of acriolein in MS which is associated with significantly reduced MS symptoms.  Hydaralazine also reduces neuropathic pain following neurotrauma to the spinal cord.  Hydralazine can provide neuroprotection in MS and mitigate pain with much lower dosages necessary for Hydralazine to treat hypertension.  Furthermore, hydralazine can penetrate blood brain barrier and enters central nervous system with hours.  Last year, I co-founded Neuro Vigor, LLC as part of efforts to commercialize the technologies developed in my laboratory to clinical applications.  


Louis Tay, stay@purdue.edu

Psychological Sciences

Social science, businesses, and polling research rely heavily on self-report surveys. While most surveys are conducted online, there has been little headway in developing tools to conduct surveys over the smartphone along with other modes of information such as voice, motion, and location. As part of my research, I have been developing a platform for survey data collection via the smartphone. As part of the ELA, I hope to glean the necessary skills to commercialize and market this platform. I believe that I will also be able to learn from other Faculty entrepreneurs to achieve this goal.


Holly Wang, wanghong@purdue.edu

Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics

I’m interested in establish a center at my department, not a commercial firm, but an integrated research, education and outreach entity that will need to generate funds to support its function. My research has been focused on agricultural  economic and market issues for China and especially their relations to the US economy. In addition to research, I, together with colleagues, have also established a fee generating degree program concentrating on Chinese agribusiness and marketing. Meanwhile, I’ve been hosting non-degree workshops for Chinese agricultural scholars and practioners for years. Hope to develop the skills and gain the institutional knowledge to tie the ends together and also develop long term sustainable strategies.


Wenbin Yu, wenbinyu@purdue.edu

Aeronautics and Astronautics

My research results in several computer tools which have significant commercialization potential due to significant interest from major and small companies, national labs, and universities. I started AnalySwift LLC (analyswift.com) in 20111 for marketing and licensing these computer codes. As the commercialization aspect of my research is evolving, I am feeling the need of having some entrepreneurial leadership training to balance academic research and entrepreneurial endeavors and harness the benefit of commercialization for high-impact research. I am also recently appointed as the Associate Director of the Composite Design and Manufacturing HUB (cdmHUB.org), a Purdue center. Although cdmHUB was designed for no profit, we are motivated to build a composites community including government labs, universities, organizations, and private companies. Significant entrepreneurial and leadership skills will be needed for me to successfully direct its development.

About Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship

The Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship fosters the understanding and application of entrepreneurship with faculty and students across the Purdue campus and with stakeholders throughout the State.


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