Research Foundation News

November 16, 2017

Biochemistry professor who is developing blood test to detect early stage breast cancer wins Purdue commercialization award

Tao award W. Andy Tao, a biochemistry professor in the College of Agriculture, who discovered a method to detect and monitor breast cancer using a simple blood test and bladder cancer using a urine test, is the 2017 recipient of the Outstanding Commercialization Award for Purdue University faculty. (Purdue Research Foundation image/Charles Jischke) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – W. Andy Tao, a biochemistry professor in the College of Agriculture who discovered a method to detect and monitor breast cancer using a simple blood test and bladder cancer using a urine test, is the 2017 recipient of the Outstanding Commercialization Award for Purdue University faculty.

The award is given annually to a faculty member in recognition of outstanding contributions to, and success with, commercializing Purdue research discoveries. The award was established with an endowment gift from the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership Foundation.

“I am truly honored by this award because Purdue University has so many faculty who have conducted outstanding and inspiring research and also made them available through commercialization,” Tao said. “I’ve been fortunate to work with so many great scientists and entrepreneurs.”

Tao, a member of the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research, was named to the Purdue Innovators Hall of Fame during the 2012-13 school year for commercializing technologies for analyzing phosphoproteins, one important class of proteins involved in many diseases, in particular cancer. Earlier this year, Tao and his colleagues identified a method of detecting elevated levels of proteins in blood plasma that signify a patient has cancer. The process was used for detecting breast and bladder cancer.

Tymora Analytical Operations was founded by Tao and Anton Iliuk, his former Ph.D. student, in 2010. Initially, the company transferred several analytical techniques developed in the Tao lab at Purdue to commercialization. The company has now moved toward clinical diagnosis and is partnering with companies and academic units to search for phosphorylated proteins in detecting breast and bladder cancers and to use the same technique to detect other cancers.

Iliuk, Tymora’s chief technology officer, praised the choice of Tao as the Outstanding Commercialization Award winner.

“Dr. Tao’s vision and unique perspective on research and its outcomes has not only empowered his students and postdoctoral fellows, but also enabled direct translation of his research into tangible products,” Iliuk said. “His goals of disseminating the knowledge and data through technology commercialization and realization are inspiring and highly productive. Rather than following the very familiar path of data generation, Andy has been trying to identify the needs in cancer R&D and directly address them.”

Tao, who joined the Purdue faculty in 2005, was named a Purdue University Faculty Scholar 2011-16; an Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy Scholar 2012-13; and a Bindley Bioscience Center Fellow in 2012-13. He holds more than a half-dozen patents and has written more than 120 articles, reviewers and book chapters.

Tao earned his doctorate from Purdue in 2001, where R. Graham Cooks was his adviser. Cooks, the Henry B. Hass Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, was the second commercialization award winner in 2005.

Cooks describes Tao as “a renaissance scientist who succeeds at everything he tries.” 

“He was unstoppable as a graduate student, blazing fast. Superb, they say, as a postdoc, and won’t be stopped now. His efforts at commercialization are inspired. His efficiency is amazing. His running is so-so. Nice guy too.”

Greg Deason, senior vice president of Purdue Research Foundation and a member of the selection committee, said the decision-making process was difficult.

“It’s exciting to see how the ideas of Purdue faculty are having impacts in the research of cancer, traumatic brain injury, medical implants, drug development, phenotyping, computer-based technologies and numerous other fields,” said Deason, who also is director of innovation and commercialization for the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship in Discovery Park at Purdue. “Dr. Tao has found a way to detect cancer at earlier stages that will not only save people the pain of invasive procedures, but also save them money. He also co-founded Tymora, a startup company that is enjoying its fifth year of profits. He is well-deserving of this award.”

Purdue faculty and staff whose inventions were patented during the 2016-17 fiscal year are:

 * Rakesh Agrawal, the Winthrop E. Stone Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering, Davidson School of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering.

* R. Claudio Aguilar, assistant head, Department of Biological Sciences, College of Science; associate professor, Department of Biological Sciences, College of Science.

* Muhammad Ashraful Alam, the Jai N. Gupta Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Daniel G. Aliaga, associate professor, Department of Computer Science, College of Science.

* Bruce Applegate, professor, Department of Food Science, College of Agriculture.

* Brooke Beier, former graduate student, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering. Current executive director, Office of Technology Commercialization. 

* Dor Ben-Amotz, professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Science.

* Ernest R. Blatchley III, professor, Lyles School of Civil Engineering, Division of Environmental and Ecological Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Alexandra Boltasseva, professor, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering. 

* Richard B. Borgens, retired as director, Institute for Applied Neurology, Center for Paralysis Research; Mari Hulman George Professor of Applied Neuroscience, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine; professor, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Charles A. Bouman, the Showalter Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Gregery T. Buzzard, head and professor, Department of Mathematics, College of Science.

* James Caruthers, the Gerald and Sarah Skidmore Professor of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Zhulong Chan, former visiting scholar, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, College of Agriculture. Current professor, Key Laboratory of Horticultural Plant Biology, Ministry of Education, College of Horticulture and Forestry Sciences, Huazhong Agricultural University.

* Srinivasan Chandrasekar, professor, School of Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering; professor (by courtesy) Department of Materials Engineering, College of Engineering.

* William J. Chappell, former adjunct professor, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering.

*Ji-Xin Cheng, adjunct professor, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Jean Chmielewski, the Alice Watson Kramer Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, College of Science, and professor, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Paul Collodi, Professor Emeritus of Animal Sciences, College of Agriculture.

*  R. Graham Cooks, the Henry B. Hass Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, College of Science.

* Scott Crist, former assistant research professor, Department of Comparative Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine.

* Mark Cushman, Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy.

* Mingji Dai, assistant professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Science.

* Brian Dilkes, associate professor, Department of Biochemistry, College of Agriculture.

* Patrick Eugster, adjunct associate professor, Department of Computer Science, College of Science.

* Kirk Foster, senior research engineer, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Suresh V. Garimella, executive vice president for research and partnerships at Purdue University, R. Eugene and Susie E. Goodson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, and director of the National Science Foundation Cooling Technologies Research Center. 

* Arun Ghosh, the Ian P. Rothwell Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, College of Science; Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy.

* Lori Groven, former research assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering. Current assistant professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering Department, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

* Chang-Deng Hu, professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy.

* Y. Charlie Hu, professor, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Jessica E. Huber, interim associate vice provost for faculty affairs, co-director of the Center for Research on Brain, Behavior, and NeuroRehabilitation; professor, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, College of Health and Human Sciences.

* Kyle E. Hultgren, director, Center for Medication Safety Advancement, clinical assistant professor (by courtesy) Pharmacy Practice, College of Pharmacy.

*  Pedro Irazoqui, director, Center for Implantable Devices; associate head and professor, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering; professor, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Jeanette L. Jensen, research associate, Department of Food Science, College of Agriculture.

* Qing Jiang, professor, Department of Nutrition Science, College of Health and Human Sciences.

* James T. Jones, former engineering resources manager, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering. Current research engineer/technologist, Cook Advanced Technologies.

 * Byunghoo Jung, professor, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Kevin M. Keener, adjunct professor, Department of Food Science, College of Agriculture; professor (by courtesy), Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, College of Agriculture and College of Engineering.  

* Hilkka I. Kenttämaa, the Frank Brown Distinguished Professor of Analytical Chemistry and Organic Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, College of Science.

* Scott Kepner, retired senior research engineer, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, College of Health and Human Sciences.

* Robert Kramer, director, Energy Efficiency and Reliability Center; NiSource Charitable Foundation Professor of Energy and the Environment; professor, Department of Chemistry and Physics, College of Engineering and Science, Purdue University Northwest.

* Gary Krutz, professor emeritus, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, College of Agriculture.

*  Michael Ladisch, director, Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering; Distinguished Professor, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, College of Agriculture; Distinguished Professor, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering. 

* Mark A. Lipton, associate professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Science.

* David Love, leader, Efficient Spectrum Usage Preeminent Team; professor, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Philip S. Low, Presidential Scholar in Drug Discovery; Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, College of Science.

* Bradley J. Lucier, professor emeritus, Department of Mathematics, College of Science; professor emeritus, Department of Computer Science, College of Science.

* Mark Lundstrom, the Don and Carol Scifres Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Eric Lynch, former senior technology manager in in the Office of Technology Commercialization. Current chief executive officer of Frontier Additive LLC.

* James B. Mann, former research engineer, Center for Materials Processing and Tribology, School of Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering. Current assistant professor, Mechanical Engineering Department, Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering, University of West Florida.

* Samuel P. Midkiff, professor, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Charilaos Mousoulis, senior research scientist, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Eric A. Nauman, director, College of Engineering Honors Program; professor, School of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering; professor, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering; professor (by courtesy), Department of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine.

* Brittany Newell, assistant professor, School of Engineering Technology, Purdue Polytechnic Institute.

* Cristina Nita-Rotaru, adjunct professor, Department of Computer Science, College of Science. Current professor, Computer Science, Northeastern University.

* George Nnanna, director, Purdue University Northwest Water Institute; head, Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, Purdue University Northwest; Francis and Elsie Meyer Professor, Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, Purdue University Northwest; professor (by courtesy) School of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering.

* David Nolte, the Edward M. Purcell Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy, College of Science.

* Zheng Ouyang, adjunct professor, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Alyssa Panitch, former Leslie A. Geddes Professor in Biomedical Engineering, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering. Current Edward Teller Professor and chair, Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Davis.

*  Kinam Park, the Showalter Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering; professor, Department of Industrial and Physical Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy.

* Johnny Park, research assistant professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering.

* John Patterson, professor emeritus, Department of Animal Sciences, College of Agriculture.

* Libbie Pelter, associate professor, Department of Chemistry and Physics, College of Engineering and Sciences, Purdue University Northwest.

*  Dimitrios Peroulis, deputy director, Birck Nanotechnology Center; professor, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Voicu Popescu, associate professor, Department of Computer Science, College of Science.

* Minghao Qi, professor, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering.

* P. Veeraraghavan Ramachandran, professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Science.

* Timothy L. Ratliff, Ph.D. the Robert Wallace Miller Director, Purdue University Center for Cancer Research; Distinguished Professor, Comparative Pathbiology, College of Veterinary Medicine.

* Shripad T. Revankar, director, Multiphase and Fuel Cell Research Labs; professor, School of Nuclear Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Jenna Rickus, associate vice provost for teaching and learning, professor, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, College of Agriculture; professor, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Victor Rodwell, professor emeritus, Department of Biochemistry, College of Agriculture.

* Kaushik Roy, the Edward G. Tiedemann Jr. Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Farshid Sadeghi, director of Mechanical Engineering Tribology Laboratory, Cummins Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, School of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Cagri A. Savran, professor, School of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering; professor (by courtesy), Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Michael E. Scharf, the O. Wayne Rollins/Orkin Endowed Chair in Urban Entomology, College of Agriculture.

* Mohamed Seleem, associate professor, microbiology, Department of Comparative Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine.

* Gregory Shaver, professor, School of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Riyi Shi, professor, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine; professor, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Yung C. Shin, the Donald A. and Nancy G. Roach Professor of Advanced Manufacturing, School of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Joseph Sinfield, director, College of Engineering Innovation and Leadership Studies Program; associate professor, Lyles School of Civil Engineering; College of Engineering.

* Alvin A. Solomon, professor emeritus, School of Nuclear Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Steven F. Son, professor, School of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Keith Stantz, associate professor, School of Health Sciences, College of Human and Health Services.

* Cynthia V. Stauffacher, associate head and professor, Department of Biological Sciences, College of Science.

* Ronald Sterkenburg, professor, School of Aviation and Transportation Technology, Purdue Polytechnic Institute.

* Calvin N. Steussy Jr., research associate, Department of Biological Sciences, College of Science.

* Rusi P. Taleyarkhan, professor, School of Nuclear Engineering, College of Engineering; professor (by courtesy), School of Health Sciences, College of Human and Health Services.

* Bernard Tao, professor, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, College of Agriculture and College of Engineering; professor (by courtesy) Department of Food Science, College of Agriculture; professor (by courtesy), Environmental and Ecological Engineering, College of Engineering.

* W. Andy Tao, professor, Department of Biochemistry, College of Agriculture; professor (by courtesy), Department of Chemistry, College of Science; professor (by courtesy), Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy.

* David H. Thompson, professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Science; professor, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Kevin Trumble, professor, School of Materials Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Mitchell Tuinstra, scientific director, Institute for Plant Sciences; professor and Wickersham Chair of Excellence in Agriculture, Department of Agronomy, College of Agriculture.

* Arvind Varma, the R. Games Slayter Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering.

*Juan Wachs, associate professor, School of Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Alexander Wei, professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Science, professor (by courtesy), School of Materials Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Steven Wereley, professor, School of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Jonathan Wilker, professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Science.

* Mary J. Wirth, the W. Brooks Fortune Distinguished Professor, Analytical Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, College of Science.

* Eduardo Ximenes, senior bioprocess research scientist with a graduate faculty appointment, Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Xianfan Xu, the James J. and Carol L Shuttleworth Professor of Mechanical Engineering, School of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering; professor (by courtesy) School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Yoon Yeo, associate professor, Department of Industrial and Physical Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy; associate professor (by courtesy) Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering.

* Xiangyu Zhang, professor, Department of Computer Science, College of Science.

* Yang Zhao, former visiting scholar, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, College of Agriculture. Current professor, Shanghai Center for Plant Stress Biology, and Center of Excellence for Molecular Plant Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai.

* Jian-Kang Zhu, Distinguished Professor in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, College of Agriculture.

* Babak Ziaie, professor, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering.

Purdue Research Foundation contact:  Tom Coyne, 765-588-1044, tjcoyne@prf.org 

Source:
  Brooke Beier, 765-588-3464, blbeier@prf.org 


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