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September 4, 2007

Purdue, S. Korean team plans symposium on nanomedicine project

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Research teams from Purdue University and the Korean Institute of Science and Technology will lead a symposium Sept. 14 to focus on their $4.5 million project to develop molecular imaging and nanotechnology tools for simultaneously diagnosing and treating cancer and chronic and infectious diseases.

Twenty South Korean researchers will travel to the Purdue campus for the Discovery Park symposium, Molecular Imaging and Theragnosis, which will be highlighted by presentations from the project's leading researchers.

"The international symposium will attract participation from a variety of groups: faculty researchers, students, corporations, biotechnology companies, economic developers, government representatives and globally focused entrepreneurs," said event organizer James Leary, the School of Veterinary Medicine professor of nanomedicine at the Birck Nanotechnology Center and professor of basic medical sciences and biomedical engineering.

Charles O. "Chip" Rutledge, Purdue's vice president for research, will deliver opening remarks at 8 a.m., followed by a welcome by Leah H. Jamieson, dean of Purdue's College of Engineering. Kuiwon Choi and Ick Chan Kwon of the Korean Institute of Science and Technology and Leary will give project overviews. Presentations will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tours of Discovery Park, Purdue's interdisciplinary research hub, and Purdue Research Park, the Purdue Research Foundation's technology transfer and business incubator, also are planned. In addition, there will be poster sessions and informal discussions on other potential global research collaborations with university and industry officials.

Researchers at Purdue's Bindley Bioscience Center and Birck are collaborating with the Korean researchers on the project, focused on the growing field of molecular imaging and theragnosis. A similar symposium took place in Seoul in September 2006, and the rotating annual event will return to South Korea next year.

In July, the South Korean Ministry of Science and Technology selected the team from Purdue and the Korean Institute of Science and Technology, also known as KIST, from 20 international proposals. Collaborating with Leary from Purdue are:

Kinam Park
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* Kinam Park, the Showalter Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering and a professor of pharmaceutics.

* J. Paul Robinson, professor in the schools of Biomedical Engineering and Veterinary Medicine and director of Purdue's Cytometry Laboratories at the Bindley Bioscience Center.

* Ji-Xin Cheng, an assistant professor in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and Department of Chemistry.

For this project, scheduled to run through 2016, KIST and Purdue researchers will work to advance the role that nanoparticles can play in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer or chronic diseases like diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

James Leary
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Leary's team has made advancements in studying how nanoparticles can be used as a new type of therapy and how they can be directed as drug-delivery capsules to seek out, penetrate and repair individual diseased cells or to destroy severely damaged cells.

Bruker Optics, which is a subsidiary of Bruker BioSciences Corp., is co-sponsoring the symposium. Tom Tague, applications manager at Bruker Optics, said the research is key to the role Bruker plays in developing instruments based on infrared and Raman molecular spectroscopy technology.

"Bruker Optics has been an international leader in the development and manufacture of spectrometers since 1974, key instruments that are now used to advance the world of nanomedicine," Tague said. "International collaborations such as this impressive research team from Purdue and the Korean Institute of Science and Technology are crucial to create an environment for interdisciplinary collaborations leading to significant advancements in this arena."

In conjunction with the symposium, officials and business owners at the Purdue Research Park will highlight how it connects viable business opportunities to researchers from Indiana or around the globe. In the past year alone, researchers and business leaders from India, Australia, Israel, China and other countries have visited Purdue Research Park and Discovery Park.

For Park, the symposium advances his research in using various synthetic polymers, such as polymer micelles and hydrogels, for controlled delivery of various molecular imaging systems. Just as important, the event will help spotlight the advancements Purdue and Korean scientists are making in this interdisciplinary field of research.

"This symposium is not just about Purdue and the Korean Institute of Science and Technology," Park said. "We hope to reach out to industry and researchers across the country who are exploring the exciting new area of nanomedicine known as theragnosis."

Launched in 2001, Purdue's Discovery Park has grown into a $350 million interdisciplinary hub for research, bringing together more than 1,000 Purdue faculty and 2,500 university students to tackle solutions in areas ranging from health care, nanotechnology and life sciences to alternative energy, the environment and climate change.

The Purdue Research Park, which encompasses 591 acres in West Lafayette, is home to the largest university-affiliated business incubator complex in the nation. Within the park, 140 businesses, of which more than 90 are high-tech, employ more than 2,900 people.

The Association of University Research Parks recognized Purdue Research Park for Excellence in Technology Transfer in 2005, and the park received the organization's Research/Science Park Company of the Year Award of Excellence in 2004.

The Ministry of Science and Technology, which was launched in 1967, provides central planning, coordination and evaluation of all science and technology activities in South Korea. The agency also formulates national policies in the areas of technology, space and nuclear energy.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, (765) 496-3133,

Sources: James Leary, (765) 494-7280,

Kinam Park, (765) 463-1989,

Tom Tague, Bruker Optics Inc., (978) 439-9899

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Note to Journalists: Journalists interested in covering the symposium or interviewing the South Korean contingent during their can contact Phillip Fiorini, senior communications and marketing specialist for Discovery Park, , (765) 496-3133 or (765) 427-3009.

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