Purdue Researchers Head to India to Discuss Bionanotechnology and Pharmaceuticals

Researchers from Purdue University will join colleagues from the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology in India next week for a symposium on advancements in bionanotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

"Bionanotechnology and Pharmaceuticals: A Glimpse into the Future" is expected to draw more than 100 researchers and students from across the globe for the conference on March 13-14 in Hyderabad. Lectures, a panel discussion on transforming pharmaceutical manufacturing, and a poster session for students and researchers are planned.

"Pharmaceuticals and other aspects of health care are major beneficiaries of the nanotechnology revolution sweeping our world today," said conference speaker Craig Svensson, dean of Purdue's College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Health Sciences. "Novel formulations, tissue engineering and tools of nanoscience are changing our world's health-care system. The symposium will foster new links and new possibilities in the next frontier of health and medicine."

Conference speakers from Purdue also include James Leary, the School of Veterinary Medicine Professor of Nanomedicine; Prabir Basu, executive director of the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Technology and Education; Donald Bergstrom, the Walther Professor of Medicinal Chemistry; Joseph Irudayaraj, associate professor of biological engineering; Yoon Yeo, assistant professor of industrial and physical pharmacy; and Charles Buck, director of operations at Discovery Park's Bindley Bioscience Center.

Stephen Byrn, head of Purdue's Department of Industrial and Physical Pharmacy and co-founder of SSCI Inc. at the Purdue Research Park, also will address conference participants.

Purdue graduate students Mary-Margaret Seale-Goldsmith in biomedical engineering, Felice Butler of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology, and David Jaroch from agricultural and biological engineering also will attend and present posters of their research.

Pankaj Sharma, conference co-organizer, associate director for operations and international affairs at Purdue's Discovery Park and associate professor of industrial technology, said the Purdue contingent joins a lineup of India's leading researchers that includes N. Madhusudhana Rao, lead scientist at the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology; Murali Sastry, material scientist at Tata Chemicals Ltd.; and Y. Ramgopal Rao of the India Institute of Technology in Mumbai.

"We're excited that the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology is partnering with Purdue for this scientific event," said N. Madhusudhana Rao of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology. "Our center brings real strengths to this partnership with Purdue as a government-led research center that serves as a national laboratory of higher education and applied research with 150 students and more than 200 scientific staff members."

Bionanotechnology offers new approaches to the field of medicine, ranging from advanced engineering of tissues and organs to new nano drug-delivery models at the single-cell level for pharmaceuticals, said Leary, scientific coordinator for the conference and professor of basic medical sciences and biomedical engineering based at Discovery Park's Birck Nanotechnology Center.

The event will highlight laboratory advancements in microfabrication and nanofabrication and their roles in nanomedicine and drug delivery. Microfabrication technology allows construction of cellular sized or smaller devices made of new materials for what is known as cell land-tissue engineering. Nanofabrication is used to create nanoscale devices for advanced targeting and delivery of pharmaceuticals to individual human cells through the emerging field of nanomedicine.

"High throughput devices, when combined with bionanotechnology and chemistry, permit examinations of large numbers of drugs and their interactions with single cells at the gene level," Leary said. "These new technologies and perspectives will lead to new ways for advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing in the 21st century."

Purdue will conduct a second international research workshop on carbon nanotubes in collaboration with Indian institutions and corporations later this year, Sharma said.

Of almost 5,000 international students enrolled at Purdue this academic year, there are 1,182 students from India, followed by South Korea (818), China (778), Taiwan (243) and Indonesia (197). Purdue also has more than 85 faculty of Indian origin - mostly in engineering, management - and science and another 800 alumni in India.

A Purdue contingent signed an agreement with the Indian Department of Science and Technology in February 2007 to establish formal research collaborations and exchanges of researchers, students and faculty between Purdue and Indian institutions.

Funding for the event is provided by Discovery Park, Oncological Sciences Center, College of Pharmacy, Asian Research Initiative, Office of the Vice President for Research at Purdue as well as the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, the Department of Science and Technology, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the government of India.

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