Research Foundation News

January 27, 2016  

Purdue Krannert Women in Management program supports local InnovateHER competition, nomination chosen as finalist

West Lafayette, Ind., and Washington, D.C. – The Jane Brock-Wilson Center for Women in Management in the Purdue Krannert School of Management recently supported the local portion of the 2016 InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge. The program’s nomination of a Purdue graduate, Pu Wang, was chosen as one of 10 finalists.

The Women in Management program served as the InnovateHER point of contact and organizer of the local competition in partnership with the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship located on Purdue’s campus. Women in Management provided prize money for the event with the winner receiving $3,000 and second place receiving $1,500.

Joy Dietz, director of the Women in Management program and Purdue InnovateHER coordinator, said that the program is very proud of its role in supporting this nomination.

"Our workforce looks very different now than it did 50 years ago," Dietz said. "Women now comprise nearly half of the labor force, and demands on women and their families are growing. This competition is the platform to provide the products and services that address those demands, and we look forward to supporting this competition in many years to come."

Wang received his doctorate from Purdue’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and is co-founder and CTO of Vibronix Inc., a life sciences startup that licenses Purdue University intellectual property that provides advanced imaging and sensor technologies for disease diagnosis and treatment. Adam Beal, a second-year MBA student in the Krannert School of Management, and vice president of finance at Vibronix, also worked on the submission and will attend the National InnovateHER competition during Women’s History Month in March, in Washington, D.C. He, along with the other finalists, will pitch their products and ideas to a panel of expert judges. Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship will fund Beal’s trip to Washington.

Wang’s technology that qualified him as a finalist is MarginPAT, an intraoperative assessment of breast tumor margin using photo acoustic/ultrasound imaging system.

“Over 25 percent of breast cancer patients have to endure multiple surgical operations to remove tumors, which is painful, costly and distressful, because doctors aren’t able to accurately tell how many tumors there are,” Wang said. “Our technology can distinguish the cancer and normal tissue based on a multimodal ultrasound/photoacoustic imaging systems. We examine the excised tissue in less than 10 minutes, allowing for doctors to completely remove all tumors within one operation.

“This technology is not only for margin assessment. It is a platform technology that can be used to manage the entire breast cancer surgery, which distinguishes it from the other pure optical based technologies. With certain modification, our technology can also be used for other applications in oncology and cardiovascular disease.”

Wang said being named a finalist means the technology is on its way to fulfill a critical need in the medical industry.

“Being named a finalist in this competition validates the problem that the reoperation of lumpectomies has a big negative impact on a woman’s life,” he said. “We believe that this competition will bring a lot of recognition to our company and technology, which will ease the communication with surgeons and help get our technology out there to help breast cancer patients.”

The nationwide business competition aims to highlight innovative products and services created and launched by cutting-edge entrepreneurs. An executive committee of U.S. Small Business Administration officials reviewed more than 180 semifinalist nominations and selected 10 finalists whose products and services best met the competition criteria and presented the greatest potential for success.

The 2016 InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge was launched in August 2015 with over 200 local competitions across the country hosted by universities, accelerators, clusters, scale-up communities, SBA’s resource partners and other local community organizations. The SBA sought to unearth products or services that will fill a need in the marketplace and have the greatest potential for commercialization.

For details on the competition, visit This site will be updated as more information regarding the event is made available. 

Purdue Research Foundation contact: Hillary Henry, 765-588-3586,

Sources: Joy Dietz, 765-496-6615, 

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