Professor appointed Burton Morgan Center's first faculty entrepreneur-in-residence

September 13, 2010

Rick Cosier, Avrum and Joyce Gray Director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, and Purdue biomedical engineering professor Alyssa Panitch discuss details of her role as the center’s first entrepreneur-in-residence near the Discovery Park Fountain in McGinley Plaza. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University biomedical engineering professor Alyssa Panitch has been named the first faculty entrepreneur-in-residence at Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.

Panitch, who has been involved in launching three companies, will serve as a resource for university faculty, staff and students looking to start a company from their work or research at Purdue. She also plans to create a network of faculty experts who can serve as a university-wide resource to help advance the university's commercialization efforts. 

"My hope is that, collectively, entrepreneurial faculty, staff and students can do bigger and better things. There is a lot to be gained by meeting with a group of people with like interests to discuss successes, issues and future plans," she said. "This also is an opportunity to meet more of my colleagues and to learn from them. It is a new adventure, and we will see where it leads."

Panitch, who joined the Purdue faculty in 2006, was an ideal candidate for the appointment as part of Discovery Park's mission to support faculty interested in commercializing their research, said Richard Cosier, Avrum and Joyce Gray Director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for
Entrepreneurship and Purdue's Leeds Professor of Management.

"The faculty entrepreneur-in-residence provides an opportunity to talk with an experienced faculty entrepreneur about early-stage commercialization and general questions and issues," Cosier said. "In this role, professor Panitch can connect faculty members with other Purdue resources and sources of information."

Panitch specializes in bio-organic chemistry. Her research focuses on designing biological and synthetic materials for drug delivery and tissue engineering as well as developing peptide-based pharmaceuticals for restoring normal healing of vascular, neural and fibrotic diseases.

She also was a member of Purdue's inaugural Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy class in 2007, an experience that helped her understand how to share her experiences with students to better prepare them for the challenges of entrepreneurship and industry. The program is part of the Kauffman Campuses Initiative at the Burton D. Morgan Center.

"I realize now how much access to others who were pursuing similar startup activities would have helped me to make better choices during the founding of the first and second companies," she said. "This new role provides an opportunity to work with the Purdue faculty, staff and students to create new support networks to enhance entrepreneurial activities."

Panitch earned bachelor's degrees in biochemistry from Smith College and chemical engineering from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She completed her doctorate in polymer science and engineering from the University of Massachusetts. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and University of Zurich, she was an assistant professor of bioengineering at Arizona State University before coming to Purdue.

The Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, through its sponsored initiatives, including the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Technology Realization Program, Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy, and Business Plan Competitions, aims to stimulate entrepreneurship at Purdue and serves as a state, regional and national resource.

The Discovery Park center also leads Purdue's Kauffman Campuses Initiative, which fosters entrepreneurship programs on campus to create a culture for student and faculty ideas and ventures.

Opened in 2004, the 31,000-square-foot, two-story Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship was the first building completed in Discovery Park, Purdue's $500 million interdisciplinary research complex for large-scale projects. The Burton D. Morgan Foundation provided funding for the $7 million building. 

Writer:  Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, 

Sources:   Alyssa Panitch, 765-496-1313,

                    Richard Cosier, 765-494-4366,

Related websites:
Alyssa Panitch on Ziptrips

Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering