Inter-Institutional Symposium

May 2013

Recognizing the need for improved research tools and treatments and the immense promise of combining modern genetic and genomic expertise with microelectronic technologies, Dr. John has formed a close collaboration with Dr. Pedro Irazoqui of Purdue University. Dr Irazoqui is highly energetic and brings deep expertise in biomedical engineering. This highly productive collaboration, weds neurobiology, genetics, physiology and disease monitoring/ treatment with engineering. It is producing great innovations.

To leverage this highly profitable multidisciplinary interaction and spread the benefits to other research groups, Drs. John and Irazoqui have led efforts to promote collaborations between other engineers and biologists at The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) and Purdue. Additionally, they encourage the exchange of students, postdoctoral trainees and faculty between the institutions. Although much of this started informally, a biomedical engineering laboratory was officially established at JAX in 2012 - largely with very generous support they received from an anonymous donor, and with support from a Director’s Innovation Award from JAX. With essential donor support, this lab continues to offer a venue for exiting cutting edge research and training. This initiative, with its spirit of collaboration and crossdisciplinary fertilization, is expected to produce transformational discoveries, research tools and treatments.

To accelerate this, the First Purdue-Jackson Laboratory Symposium was held on May 29-31, 2013 at JAX, organized with Dr. Robert Burgess and Da-Ting Lin. The symposium brought together Jackson laboratory researchers , with engineers from Purdue University’s Center for Implantable Devices. Jackson Laboratory scientists are world-class experts in genetics and biology while Purdue University has world-class engineers. The symposium featured talks on subjects including implantable devices that show promise in applications such as prosthetics and treating epilepsy and glaucoma; biomedical imaging technologies; neuro prosthesis and nerve repair; new biomaterials for tissue repair; genetic diseases including muscular dystrophies and premature aging; processes that allow stem cells to "self-renew"; the ability of mammalian cells to repair damaged DNA; physiology of the human ear; and neural circuits in brain disorders. The symposium was a huge success, leading to a number inter-institutional research projects. Bringing the combined expertise of these institutions to these innovative collaborations is paving the way to great success.