Discovery Park

Discovery Park Faculty Research Fellows Initiative

Congratulations to the 2013-2014 Discovery Park Faculty Research Fellows

Program Overview

The Discovery Park (DP) Faculty Research Fellows Initiative seeks to engage the campus in the core missions of the DP centers. A major goal of the program is to establish collaborative networks between Discovery Park and the academic units to create new opportunities to enable faculty to significantly advance Purdue research and technology through innovative ideas and novel approaches. The program focuses on faculty (tenure-track/tenured and clinical) at all academic ranks on the West Lafayette campus who wish to create new collaborations, which they envision will benefit from the interactive environment, facilities and personnel available in Discovery Park. The program is viewed as a benefit to both Discovery Park and the academic units. Fellows will be chosen on a competitive basis following nomination by both their department/unit head/chair with approval of the college dean and the appropriate Discovery Park Center Director(s). Appointment to the Fellows program is for one calendar year. Departments/units will receive $25,000 for each Fellow as compensation for the partial release from academic responsibilities of faculty serving as Discovery Park Research Fellows. Up to $10,000 in “credit” may be available to each Fellow for use in Discovery Park core research facilities or to employ services provided by Discovery Park staff during their appointment. The appointment period will begin July 1, 2013.

The Selected 2013-2014 Discovery Park Faculty Research Fellows

Dr. Daniel Aliaga, Associate Professor, College of ScienceDiscovery Park Fellow: Dr. Daniel Aliaga, Associate Professor, College of Science

Project Title: “Design and Simulation of Future Cities”

Affiliated Center(s): Cyber Center

We are in the first century of the urban civilization. Since 2008, and for the first time in history, more than half of the world population lives in cities. Today, more than half of the world’s 7 billion people live in cities. According to the United Nations State of World Population 2007: (further) urbanization is inevitable; although cities embody environmental damage, the potential benefits of urbanization far outweigh the disadvantages. Properly managing the growth of existing cities and the design of future cities is a vital issue that will only continue to increase in importance during the twenty-first century. Addressing such a multi-disciplinary problem is a perfect fit to the Discover Park Fellows program.

We wish to create IT infrastructure, and associated algorithms, to implement decision support system tools for sustainable urban ecosystem planning. Such tools assists urban stakeholders (e.g., urban planners, engineers, environmentalists, politicians, and concerned citizens) in trying “what if” scenarios of design decisions for obtaining an increased level of sustainability. Our framework builds upon our current and past projects of 3D building reconstruction, inverse modeling and machine learning, integrating urban simulation and urban visualization, combining urban modeling with meteorological simulation, joining urban and vegetation ecosystem modeling, and deploying large-scale IT infrastructures for urban planning. The bulk of the proposed work is to create an initial set of sustainability decision support tools including altering the building layouts so as to produce better urban weather, to the reduce heating and cooling energy consumption and to improve the road layouts so as to change traffic flow to one of less congestion and of less energy consumption/emissions. Congratulations to Daniel Aliaga as a 2013-2014 Discovery Park Research Fellow.

Dr. Abel Chuang, College of TechnologyDiscovery Park Fellow: Dr. Abel Chuang, College of Technology

Project Title: "Study of Material, Cell, and System Integration of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells”

Affiliated Center(s): Birck Nanotechnology Center, Energy Center

Dr. Chuang specializes in material and diagnostic study of Proton Exchange Member (PEM) Fuel Cells. Prior to joining Purdue University, he spent more than 8 years developing fuel cell technology for automotive application both in the industry and university. At Purdue, he will continue to establish his core expertise in PEM fuel cell research for broader applications including automotive, residential, and portable energy solutions. Fuel cell is a highly interdisciplinary research area and requires experts in different fields to integrate their learning in order to deliver an optimized energy system. This activity fits well with the mission of Discovery Park (DP), which is to lead Purdue’s large-scale interdisciplinary research efforts. His project will first focus on the study of cell components, especially electrode, in a fuel cell with the support of Birck Nanotechnology Center and Energy Center. His expectation as a DP research fellow is to establish collaborations with Purdue experts in areas like electro-catalysis, nanostructure, polymer science, heat transfer, fluid flow, mechanics, hydrogen generation and storage, power conditioning, etc. His long-term goal is to establish a research program in exploring sustainable energy solutions. Congratulations to Abel Chuang as a 2013-2014 Discovery Park Research Fellow.

Dr. Mark Hall, College of AgricultureDiscovery Park Fellow: Dr. Mark Hall, College of Agriculture

Project Title: “Advanced proteomic application development and implementation with the AB Sciex 5600+ mass spectrometer”

Affiliated Center(s): Bindley Bioscience Center

Part of Dr. Hall’s research focuses on use of proteomic technologies to study the role of dynamic protein post-translational modifications in regulating cell division and ensuring genome stability. Dr. Hall recently helped acquire a new state-of-the-art mass spectrometer to support proteomic applications at the Bindley Bioscience Center’s (BBC’s) Purdue Proteomics Facility (PPF). The AB Sciex 5600+ TripleTOF mass spectrometer is a versatile instrument for both discovery-based and targeted proteomics and possesses a novel data-independent acquisition mode that brings a unique and powerful quantitative workflow not available on other instruments at the PPF. Dr. Hall’s goal during the BBC Fellows award period is to direct the implementation of the cutting-edge technologies of the 5600+ through collaborative research projects and interactions with PPF staff. For example, one interdisciplinary project involving collaborators in Agronomy, Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, and Statistics aims to develop methods centered on the 5600+ for the global characterization of protein complexes in species not amenable to genetic manipulation. These efforts will establish the 5600+ it as a powerful resource to support and stimulate cutting-edge proteomics research that it is maximally accessible to the Purdue research community. Congratulations to Mark Hall as a 2013-2014 Discovery Park Research Fellow.

Dr. Bumsoo Han, College of EngineeringDiscovery Park Fellow: Dr. Bumsoo Han, College of Engineering

Project Title: “Engineering of In-vitro 3D Vascularized Tumors by Integrative Tissue Systems Biology Approach”

Affiliated Center(s): Birck Nanotechnology Center

This proposal aims to establish collaborative networks to engineer (i.e., fabricate, measure, manipulate, and predict) in vitro three-dimensional (3D) vascularized tumors by integrative tissue systems biology approach. Cancer research has been heavily relying on conventional in vitro cell cultures and in vivo animal models. These models are important for the discovery and development of new drugs and medical therapies. However, these conventional models do not provide either the complexity of in vivo tumor microenvironment, or the detailed information necessary to establish a mechanistic understanding on drug actions and therapeutic efficacy. Thus, these shortcomings have led to a substantial interest in the development of in vitro model systems that can recapitulate the complexities of 3D vascularized tumor microenvrionment and simultaneously allow systematic study on drug actions and therapeutic efficacy.

Dr. Han's Laboratory recently developed a prototype of in vitro 3D vascularized tumor, and is currently performing research to demonstrate its feasibility to systematically characterize nano- carrier for targeted drug delivery. During this fellowship, he aims to substantially expand his model by establishing collaborative networks at Discovery Park overarching nanotechnology, physiology, oncology and computational modeling. This innovative, in vitro vascularized tissue-based platform can bring transformative change in (i) research of physiologic and pathologic processes, (ii) clinical translation of drugs and therapies, (iii) cellular therapies, and (iv) engineering personalized medicine and therapies. Congratulations to Bumsoo Han as a 2013-2014 Discovery Park Research Fellow.

Dr. David Nolte, College of ScienceDiscovery Park Fellow: Dr. David Nolte, College of Science

Project Title: “BioDynamic Imaging for Life Sciences and Cancer Research”

Affiliated Center(s): Bindley Bioscience Center, Oncological Sciences Center

Life is motion. If there is one overarching characteristic of living matter, that distinguishes it from all other forms of matter in our world, it is animation. Inside every cell occurs a panoply of motion with amazing detail and diversity. Biodynamic imaging is a new tool our group has developed to have exquisite sensitivity to these complex intracellular motions. This Discovery Park project has three principal aims: 1) Building Bridges. The Research Fellowship will be used to establish a beach-head to build bridges from the far provinces of campus (Physics) to a network of collaborators in and around Discovery Park. 2) Cancer Research. We are pursuing personalized cancer therapy selection for ovarian cancer patients. Bindley Bioscience Center supports a wide array of biological characterization tools that will provide valuable support to this project. 3) Integration. Biodynamic imaging will be introduced to Discovery Park, making this new technology available to a wide range of biological researchers in fields as diverse as cancer therapy, drug discovery and development, reproductive science, developmental biology, liver and kidney disease, biomechanics and microrheology, tissue engineering, cell cycle signaling, and plant science and agriculture. Congratulations to David Nolte as a 2013-2014 Discovery Park Research Fellow.

Dr. Rodolfo Pinal, College of PharmacyDiscovery Park Fellow: Dr. Rodolfo Pinal, College of Pharmacy

Project Title: “3D Integrated Pharmaceuticals - Large Area Web Nanomanufacturing methods and preliminary testing”

Affiliated Center(s): Bindley Bioscience Center, Birck Nanotechnology Center

Dr. Pinal specializes on drug solubility, solubilization and on approaches for optimizing the bioavailability of poorly soluble drugs. His project will focus on proof of concept studies for 3D IP (3D Integrated Pharmaceuticals), a platform technology for making the next generation of pharmaceutical products. With 3D IP, “pills” are assembled from prefabricated working parts, according to a predesigned blueprint for the product. Dr. Pinal’s project will advance the 3D IP approach by bringing it together with three major areas of expertise within Discovery Park: a) translational nanotechnology and biomarker research involving in vivo biopharmaceutical studies on the design and testing of pharmaceuticals with tailor made drug exposure profiles, b) the advanced film based (large area web) and roll-to-roll nanomanufacturing methods from the flexible electronics industry, which will be adapted for the creation of multi-functional integrated pharmaceutical delivery systems, and c) entrepreneurial initiatives and expertise for dissemination and business partnering with the pharmaceutical industry as it moves forward to meet the demands imposed by the increasing relevance of biopharmaceutical products and by the requirements from therapies based on personalized and precision medicine. Congratulations to Rodolfo Pinal as a 2013-2014 Discovery Park Research Fellow.

Dr. Arvind Raman, College of EngineeringDiscovery Park Fellow: Dr. Arvind Raman, College of Engineering

Project Title: “Roll-to-roll manufacturing of soft nanocomposite materials and devices with integrated sensors”

Affiliated Center(s): Birck Nanotechnology Center

Soft nanocomposites consist of zero-, one-, or two dimensional nanomaterials – nanotubes, nanowires, graphene flakes, magnetic nanoparticles, quantum dots, multi-functional particles that are dispersed in a soft phase – a soft polymer or gel, often forming a percolating network. Such materials are finding wide applications in battery, supercapacitor, biosensor, food packaging and pharmaceutical products. An emerging application of such materials is the development of multi-layer thin polymer/soft gel films with dispersed nanoparticles of drugs can revolutionize drug delivery and biomedical devices with “smart” layers that adapt porosity or activity according to local chemical conditions thus leading to customized and precise dosage control. However, in order to be commercially viable, these materials need to be produced in large quantities at low cost. Roll-to-roll systems are ideal for the scaled up manufacture of such nanocomposites however major technical and scientific challenges need to be addressed for this to be viable. In this project Raman will use his prior experience in web-handling manufacturing and printing systems to collaborate with a number of faculty across campus to develop such a nanomanufacturing system in the Birck Nanotechnology Center with initial applications for the energy, food and pharmaceutical sectors. Congratulations to Arvind Raman as a 2013-2014 Discovery Park Research Fellow.

Dr. Robert Trapp, College of ScienceDiscovery Park Fellow: Dr. Robert Trapp, College of Science

Project Title: “Multi-scale modeling to guide climate-variability and change mitigation and adaptation”

Affiliated Center(s): Purdue Climate Change Research Center

Part of Dr. Trapp’s current research portfolio involves the potential physical impacts of global climate change on regional and local-scale extreme weather. The Discovery Park Faculty Research Fellows Initiative will enable a new branch of this work, namely, the generation of information that can help guide decision makers on strategies to mitigate or otherwise adapt to the effects of climate variability and change. Through this project he will develop couplings between global climate models, high-resolution regional weather models, and specialty models such as those that govern disaster response and management, municipal planning, and crop yields. Guidance uncertainty will be possible through the use of model ensembles. This project will exploit Trapp’s expertise with weather and climate models, but the couplings will require close scientific collaboration within the Purdue Climate Change Research Center and other Discovery Park centers, particularly those comprising the Global Sustainability Institute. Congratulations to Robert Trapp as a 2013-2014 Discovery Park Research Fellow.

Dr. Sherry Voytik-Harbin, Weldon School of Biomedical EngineeringDiscovery Park Fellow: Dr. Sherry Voytik-Harbin, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering

Project Title: “Integrative Tissue Systems Biology and Engineering: Design and Prototyping of Engineered Vascularized Tissue Systems”

Affiliated Center(s): Bindley Bioscience Center, Birck Nanotechnology Center

Dr. Voytik-Harbin’s project focuses on design and development of three-dimensional (3D) tissue systems that are human-cell based and recapitulate the complexities of native tissues and organs in-vitro. Such innovative, in-vitro human-tissue systems provide significant translational potential in the areas of regenerative medicine, drug development and targeting, as well as drug/chemical testing. Dr. Voytik-Harbin will work to expand existing collaborative research efforts targeting the design, prototyping, and validation of in-vitro vascularized tissue systems that support functional perfusion. In addition, she will work with others to grow and energize a broader community of multidisciplinary faculty, staff, and students around the emerging area of “Integrative Tissue Systems Biology and Engineering”. Collectively, this broader community will work collaboratively to design and engineer in-vitro human tissue systems that accommodate high throughput, multiparametric and quantitative analyses of cell responses through the integration of 1) in-vitro 3D tissue/organ system design (e.g., tissue-on-a-chip, tissue-scale), 2) novel imaging and biosensor approaches for multi-scale, spatiotemporal quantification of interfacial phenomena between cells and their microenvironment, 3) computational modeling of dynamic, hierarchical tissue interactions for design optimization, scale-up, and outcome prediction, and 4) in-vitro 3D model-based design of experiments to promote high experimental efficiency at a relatively low cost (e.g., cancer drug screening). Such efforts targeting the development of in-vitro human-tissue systems are consistent with significant need and high interest areas identified by a number of federal agencies as well as pharmaceutical and medical device industries. Furthermore, these efforts will spark research, technology, and education activities relevant to the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) initiative. Congratulations to Sherry Voytik-Harbin as a 2013-2014 Discovery Park Research Fellow.

Dr. Alexander Wei, College of ScienceDiscovery Park Fellow: Dr. Alexander Wei, College of Science

Project Title: “Roll-to-Roll Manufacturing with Designer Soft Materials”

Affiliated Center(s): Birck Nanotechnology Center

Prof. Wei will be actively engaged in a multi-disciplinary working group at Birck, with the aim of identifying novel processes and applications in the area of nano-manufacturing. One such project involves the development of new types of functional substrates and thin-film technologies based on "designer soft materials,” using roll-to-roll (R2R) processing methods. Directions include the design of biodegradable smart wrappers, nanoporous films with selective permeability, and nanopatterned surfaces using self-assembly methods. Congratulations to Alexander Wei as a 2013-2014 Discovery Park Research Fellow.

Dr. Babak Ziaie, College of EngineeringDiscovery Park Fellow: Dr. Babak Ziaie, College of Engineering

Project Title: “Integrated Microsystems for Smart Pharmaceuticals”

Affiliated Center(s): Birck Nanotechnology Center

As part of my Discovery Park Research Fellowship with the Birck Nanotechnology Center for the academic year starting in fall 2013, I will be involved in the advanced nano-manufacturing initiative. In particular, I will be working with Prof. Rodolfo Pinal of the Department of Industrial and Physical Pharmacy in developing the seed technologies needed for next generation advanced smart pharmaceutical manufacturing. This brings together and establishes a much needed collaboration between the Birck Nanotechnology Center and the College of Pharmacy that can in the longer term attract major funding to Discovery Park and Purdue. Part of my research in recent years has been geared towards development of flexible bioelectronics for a variety of sensing and wireless microsystem applications. The transition of some of the technologies in my lab such as paper-based sensing and electronics to pharmaceutical manufacturing will open up tremendous possibilities to add intelligence to the way the drugs are manufactured and administered. I will work closely with Prof. Pinal’s group to demonstrate proof of concept integration of wireless sensing (e.g., pH, degradation rate, etc) with thin film pharmaceutical processes currently under development in his lab. This will be the first stepping stone that will bring my lab closer to the drug manufacturing research efforts. Our long term goal is to scale up and sophisticate such processes in accordance with Birck Nanotechnology Center’s leadership vision of creating an advanced nano-manufacturing center. Congratulations to Babak Ziaie as a 2013-2014 Discovery Park Research Fellow.

About Discovery Park

Discovery Park and its major centers lead Purdue's large-scale interdisciplinary research efforts.

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Discovery Park Faculty Research Fellows and Scholars

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