December 14, 2017

Endowed directorship for Purdue Institute of Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Disease

Krenicki directorship The John Jr. and Donna Krenicki family has given a multimillion-dollar gift to create the Krenicki Family Directorship in Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Disease for Purdue University’s Institute of Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Disease. The Institute brings together 183 researchers at Purdue to research interdisciplinary approaches and treatments for human diseases. (Photo provided by the Krenicki family.) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The work of Purdue University's Institute of Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Disease has received a boost thanks to a multimillion-dollar gift from Purdue alumnus John Krenicki Jr., his wife Donna and their children.

The gift will create the Krenicki Family Directorship in Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Disease to help provide for capable leadership of the institute as it researches the diagnosis and treatment of many of the world’s most common diseases.

"We are excited to fund winning initiatives," John Krenicki said. "Purdue life science is a sure bet."

Purdue President Mitch Daniels said the generous gift from the Krenicki family is vital for the future of Purdue’s lifesaving research in the life sciences.

"This institute already leads the world in identifying and understanding the structure of many of the world’s most dangerous viruses," Daniels said. "With this gift, the Krenickis recognize the critical importance of basic research, and the impact will be felt for years to come."

In 2016 John and Donna Krenicki endowed the directorship of Purdue's Institute for Integrative Neuroscience. In 2014 the Krenickis endowed the John and Donna Krenicki Chair in Operations Management in the Krannert School of Management.

The first named director for the Institute of Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Disease will be Richard Kuhn, Purdue's Trent and Judith Anderson Distinguished Professor of Science. Kuhn's own research at Purdue has focused on viruses, and he was part of the leadership of research teams that were the first to determine the structures of the Zika and dengue viruses.

The Purdue Institute for Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Disease, which is part of Purdue's Discovery Park, combines the university's diverse pool of researchers in life sciences, physical sciences and engineering to invent new diagnostic tools, explore basic biological and inflammatory processes, and develop and commercialize novel intervention methods.

Among recent research projects at the institute:

• New inhalation therapies to treat multi-drug-resistant lung infections

• A low-cost method to detect preeclampsia in pregnant women

• A smartphone app that detects anemia in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy

• A simple blood test to detect breast cancer.

"The university has made a $250 million investment in life sciences, and this gift adds to the momentum of a growing body of Purdue discoveries that relate to the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of diseases," said Suresh Garimella, Purdue's executive vice president for research and partnerships and Goodson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering. "We are grateful for the leadership of the Krenickis. Their support will have a global impact."

John Krenicki Jr. graduated from Purdue with a master's degree in management in 1991 and was named a distinguished alumnus of the Krannert School of Management in 2013. He also holds a mechanical engineering degree and an honorary doctorate from the University of Connecticut.

"Although I am the Purdue alumnus, this gift is from our entire family. Our kids are excited to join us in making this gift and in having our entire family associated with life science research at Purdue," he said.

The Krenickis have three children and a daughter-in-law: Matthew and his wife Christine, Michael (a current Krannert MBA student) and Paula.

John Krenicki is a senior operating partner with the private equity investment firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and serves as chairman of Wilsonart International and chairman of Brand Industrial Services.

Before joining the investment firm in 2013, Krenicki was a General Electric vice chairman and president and CEO of GE Energy, where his responsibilities included oversight of the company's oil and gas, power and water, and energy management businesses. He held a number of leadership roles with GE prior to leading GE Energy, including president and CEO of GE Plastics, president and CEO of GE Transportation Systems and director of GE Capital.

Donna Krenicki earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Connecticut in 1984 and has served on the UConn Foundation Board of Directors. She is a trustee of the Berkshire Museum in Massachusetts.

"We are so proud of our connection to Purdue," John Krenicki said. "These are good people doing great things." 

Writer: Steve Tally, 765-494-9809, steve@purdue.edu, @sciencewriter

Sources: President Mitch Daniels, president@purdue.edu

Suresh Garimella, 765-494-6209, sureshg@purdue.edu

John Krenicki Jr 

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