Life Sciences at Purdue University
The month of June typically represents the peak of summer, considering the solstice is later this month. Thursday, June 21st will be the longest day of 2018, but only for the Northern Hemisphere. For our friends to the South, it represents the fewest number of daylight hours; their shortest day of the year. Of course this must be true when one logically considers the orientation of the planet. Do we do that, though? Do we consider the context, the angle of our perspective and how the same information must look to someone else? There is an old tale about 6 blind men and an elephant. They each touch the creature and are asked to describe what they feel, and in turn, determine the object. Independently, they identify a spear (the tusk), a cow, and so on - its only the combined information that can yield the correct result. 

This summer, spend some time visiting a different corner of campus, attending a lecture that isn't quite up your alley, and developing a new collaboration on campus. The various institutes have a number of activities to help with this, including Neuroscience's weekly seminar series, and PI4D's team-focused Inventor's Challenge. If you do not already, consider subscribing your newsletter preferences to all 6 Life Science Institutes. 

Finally, the Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation is holding an image competition. In 2017, Biological Sciences' Michael Rossmann and Richard Kuhn's work with the structure of the Zika virus was featured on the cover of the CASC brochure, which is distributed by CASC to funding agencies, congress, and at academic conferences - consider submitting your images

Funding Opportunities in the Life Sciences can be found here
Purdue Institute for Drug Discovery

We are pleased to announce a funding opportunity for the creation of drug discovery related programmatic areas. PIDD will be supporting these program areas with up to $200,000 ($100,000 per year for 2 years). Please see the Request for Applications for more information. Applications are due by Friday, June 29th, 2018. Questions can be directed to Karson Putt (

Our 5th Annual Drug Discovery Symposium will be held on Friday, September 28th, 2018 in Stewart Center 218.  External speakers include:
  • Philip Cole - Professor of Medicine and Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Senior Investigator Division of Genetics, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School
  • Shaomeng Wang- Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Professor in Medicine, Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Medicinal Chemistry, Co-Director, Molecular Therapeutics Program Director, Cancer Drug Discovery Program at University of Michigan
  • Min Li - Senior Vice President Global Head Neuroscience Therapeutic Unit GlaxoSmithKline
Recent News: 
  • Herman Sintim: Link between bacteria metabolism and communication could pave way for new antivirulence drugs 
  • Riyi Shi: Possible new treatment for spinal cord injuries identified in animal studies
Purdue Institute of Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Disease

Dear colleagues, we are excited to host Richard DiMarchi as our keynote speaker for our Disease Diagnostics Inventors Challenge on June 28th – 29th at the Purdue Memorial Union, West Faculty Lounge.  This event is open to individuals looking to form part of a collaborative team and for those that already have a team.  Teams will pitch their proposed idea for the development of new diagnostics with the inclusion of clinicians, pathologists, biologists, analytical chemists and engineers as part of the team.  Winning teams, which will be decided on the day of the competition, will be awarded $30,000 to develop their technologies.  This is an event that you will not want to miss and I hope to see you there!  

Sincerely, Richard Kuhn

Recent News:
  • Disease Diagnostics INventors Challenge We seek to catalyze the development of novel disease detection technologies through a competitive application process that incentivizes the formation of multidisciplinary teams of clinicians, life scientists, engineers, and analytical chemists. Only team applications will be accepted and all team members are considered co-PIs. Teams must be composed of, but not limited to, one clinician (in human or veterinary practice) or biologist, one engineer, and one analytical chemist. Team proposals are limited to $30,000 per team for a one year project period. It is anticipated that 3 teams will be funded for the 2018-2019 period. June 28: The Team Building Day set of events will highlight investigators’ expertise and laboratory capabilities that are available to address clinical needs presented by medical and veterinarian experts (see calendar attachments for further details). June 29: The Proposers Competition Day will involve teams pitch presentations of their technology idea to a panel of judges. Team presentations will be ranked and winners will be selected on the same day (see calendar attachments for further details). Requirements - 3 Slides to be presented in a 7 minute presentation (+ 3 minute Q&A) on the June 29th Proposers Competition Day. Register Here
Purdue Institute for Integrative Neuroscience

As another academic year comes to a close, I want to thank all of the PIIN members who participated in PIIN-sponsored seminars and symposia, and the Special Lectures in Neuroscience course. PIIN hosted several world-class neuroscientists this year, as well as the Greater Indiana Society for Neuroscience Regional meeting.  Susan Sangha (PSYCH) deserves special thanks and recognition for playing a major role in bringing this event to Purdue, with more than 200 participants.  Each of these events gave PIIN members the opportunity to share our scientific discoveries with our distinguished visitors. Our twice-yearly Neuroscience Research Travel Award program offers a similar opportunity for graduate students to spread the word about Neuroscience research to a broader community of scientists; see details below.  To make all this happen, I must acknowledge and thank the hard-working staff of our institute, Dr. Cinthia Sanchez (Operations Manager) and Julie Scott (Administrative Assistant) for the planning and execution of all of our yearly initiatives and special projects.  We would like to thank Drs. Satyajit Ambike, Andy Hudmon, Yang Yang and Scott Pluta for sharing their research with the PIIN community in the NeuroNetworking summer seminar series. Please join us on June 20 for our next installment.

Wishing you all a productive summer break, brimming with research breakthroughs!

-Donna M. Fekete, John & Donna Krenicki Director of Integrative Neuroscience

Recent News:
  • Congratulations to Dr. Riyi Shi for another accomplishment in spinal cord injury research!  He recently identified a potential new drug therapy for spinal cord injuries, 4-aminopyridine-3-methanol, which works in a similar way as a drug previously developed at Purdue, 4-aminopyridine (4-AP).  4-AP has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat multiple sclerosis.  This new drug could potentially be used to reduce persistent chronic pain due to spinal cord injury.
  • PIIN students really pulled in the honors from the Office of Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs! Certificate of Excellence in Research Awards for 2018 went to Breanna McArthur, Dan Cholger, Kelly Higgins, Stephanie Hunter and Paola Montenegro. Kerri Rodriguez won the Most Outstanding Interdisciplinary Project Award for 2018. Congratulations to all!
  • During Maymester, Dr. Chris Rochet (MCMP) has been teaching a grant-writing course targeted to neuroscience graduate students and postdocs who wish to apply for external fellowships, such as the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA).  Now in its third year, this course has led to several successful awards.
Upcoming Events:
Purdue University Center for Cancer Research

The Purdue University Center for Cancer Research (PCCR) was established as an NCI basic science cancer center in 1978. As such, the PCCR’s mission focuses on basic discovery - discovery that is the foundation through which the PCCR fosters innovative cancer solutions. Your membership and contributions are key to fighting the cancer problem!  Please find updates below and you can always reference information on our website

Reminder: Please add the ‘’ email address to your spam filter whitelist. If you have any questions on how to do this, please contact John Fry, or 496-3993.

Recent News:
Upcoming Events:
  • Please join us Monday, June 18th from 1:00-2:30 PM for the Special Lecture in the 3rd “Big Data Boot Camp for Translational Omics Research”.   

Speaker: Dr. Sean Davis, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, Center for Cancer Research ClinOmics. 
Location: RAWL 1057 
Title: Introduction to Machine Learning in Biomedicine 
Abstract: In the era of Big Data and high throughput assays in biology, using computers to help understand and leverage biomedical data is becoming increasingly more important. This didactic talk will give an introduction to machine learning and then present some illustrative examples of machine learning in biomedicine. 

Link to Calendars for Seminar, Internal and External Funding Opportunities and Events
Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering

Our renewal as a center from the Regenstrief Foundation for 2019 to 2024 became official in May.  Read about the details in “Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering receives five-year, $10 million renewal”.

We are happy to announce that Zachary Hass is the first core faculty to be hired as part of a commitment of five faculty lines by the College of Engineering to support the Regenstrief Center.  Zach completed his PhD in statistics at Purdue University and conducts research in health services and applied statistics.  He will hold a joint appointment in the Schools of Nursing and Industrial Engineering starting this fall.  

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