May 19, 2006|
Purdue part of $15 million engineering research center
The five-year grant from the National Science Foundation will fund an Engineering Research Center (ERC) to enhance the quality and consistency of solid-dosage form drug nutraceuticals, processed foods, agrichemicals and other products that consist of structured combinations of solid organic materials.
The collaborating universities are the New Jersey Institute of Technology, University of Puerto Rico and Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Rutgers will lead the consortium.
"All of these universities have established teaching and research programs in pharmaceutical sciences and process and particulate systems engineering," said Gintaras "Rex" Reklaitis, the Purdue Edward W. Comings Professor of Chemical Engineering and deputy director of the center. "The center also will study how to efficiently manufacture such structured materials in large quantities. This could lead to a significant reduction in the cost of manufacturing pharmaceutical, nutritional and agricultural products, and that will help meet the needs of society."
By reducing the cost of pharmaceutical product development, the center's research also could play a substantial role in providing medicines to third-world populations. Essential nutrients in processed foods could be more easily absorbed. Research in the agrichemical business could help deliver fertilizers, fungicides and pesticides more directly to crops and reduce contamination to handlers and the environment.
"The research in pharmaceuticals will focus on the structure of component materials, including particle shapes and sizes and forces that bind them together," said Kenneth Morris, Purdue professor and associate department head of industrial and physical pharmacy and one of the lead co-investigators in the center. "Understanding the nature of these materials will provide a foundation for new manufacturing processes that are more predictable, consistent and cost-effective."
In addition to the support from the National Science Foundation, 28 companies are providing $2.5 million in research funding during the ERC's first year. The consortium expects to bring in as much as $40 million in additional support over the next 10 years from leading pharmaceutical and nutraceutical manufacturers as well as companies that supply manufacturing and analytical equipment.
"I am proud to welcome Rutgers, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Purdue and Puerto Rico into the 2006 class of Engineering Research Centers," said Lynn Preston, deputy division director for centers at the National Science Foundation. "The centers advance fundamental knowledge and serve as a platform for technologies that spawn new U.S. industries and transform the industry and service sectors. As multiple-institution partnerships, the centers foster collaboration among researchers from many disciplines and provide rich educational and research environments for preparing new generations of engineering leaders."
Engineering Research Centers conduct pioneering research in emerging technologies and train the next generation of engineers. Each center, while based at a university, is a collaborative partnership that draws together individuals and resources from other universities, industry partners, and pre-college teachers and students. The maximum possible duration of NSF support is 10 years, after which the ERCs are expected to become self-sufficient.
Lead investigators on the grant from collaborating institutions are Fernando Muzzio at Rutgers, who is the center director, Rajesh Dave at New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, Reklaitis at Purdue, and Carlos Velazquez at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez.
Writer: Cynthia Sequin, (765) 494-4192, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Gintaras Reklaitis, (765) 494-4075, email@example.com
Kenneth Morris, (765) 496-3387, firstname.lastname@example.org
Josh Chamot, (703) 292-7730, email@example.com
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; firstname.lastname@example.org
Related Web sites:
Purdue School of Chemical Engineering
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