August 30, 2016

Congresswoman Susan Brooks tours WL campus with a focus on biodefense efforts

Congresswoman Susan Brooks at Purdue U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks speaks with Richard Kuhn, director of the Purdue Institute for Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Diseases, and student researchers during a tour of Hockmeyer Hall on Monday (Aug. 29). (Purdue University photo/John Underwood) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN-5) on Monday (Aug. 29) toured Hockmeyer Hall and the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research and met with key faculty and student researchers to learn more about Purdue's investment in the life sciences, especially focusing on her growing involvement in biodefense issues. Brooks is a member of the powerful House Energy & Commerce Committee with jurisdiction over the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

NIH is the largest public funder of biomedical research in the world, investing more than $32 billion a year. Purdue is investing more than $250 million in the life sciences over the next five years to advance research that both improves lives and supports Indiana's critical life sciences business sector. Increased funding from NIH is a high priority for the research enterprise at Purdue, and the visit provided the University an opportunity to showcase its talented researchers and their groundbreaking work.

Brooks was the lead sponsor of H.R. 3299, a bill approved by the Energy and Commerce Committee to incentivize investment in vaccines and treatments for dangerous and deadly diseases and pathogens identified as threats to our national security by the Department of Homeland Security.

"We are very appreciative of the time that Congresswoman Brooks took to visit campus as it allows us to hear about the priorities of our public policy makers," says Suresh Garimella, executive vice president for research and partnerships and the Goodson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering. "It also offers us the unique opportunity to showcase our researchers and the important work they are doing in areas of critical importance to the nation."

Brooks wrote in the Indianapolis Star (April 10, 2016): "Last week, Purdue University announced that it had made a breakthrough in determining the structure of Zika virus, a critical first step to developing a treatment or vaccine. I applaud their efforts, but the underlying problem isn't this one disease, or the next whose name we don't yet know -- the problem is our inability to mobilize quickly and effectively to identify, contain, treat and eliminate any kind of biological threat to people in the United States. As a nation, we are underprepared."

The Purdue University Center for Cancer Research brings together nearly 100 Purdue researchers who collaborate with experts worldwide to develop innovative technologies to study cancer-related phenomena, create diagnostic and imaging tools, and synthesize therapeutic chemical entities that can be delivered to the cancer cell by novel technology. The center leverages Purdue's strengths in engineering, veterinary medicine, nutrition science, chemistry, medicinal chemistry, pharmacy, structural biology, and biological sciences.

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