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OSU industrial engineering Ph.D. student Kevin Simmons explains microchannel processing to students Heather Paris and Nuh Simitcioglu. He holds a mold for making microchannel devices with polymers and ceramics.

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Signature Research Centers

Spurring Innovation Through Teamwork

Nanoscience. Drug discovery. Sustainable "green" technologies. These are growing areas of research, public policy and economic development. And they are the focus of increasing collaboration among OSU, other Oregon research universities, the private sector and state and federal agencies. The governor, the legislature and the Oregon Economic and Community Development Department all contributed to securing state support for them through a plan developed by the Oregon Innovation Council.

The result: two new "signature research centers" building on the success of the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI), which is revolutionizing how universities collaborate on research for Oregonís emerging industries. The Oregon Translational Research and Drug Discovery Institute (OTRADI) will concentrate on treatments for infectious diseases. Boosted by $5.25 million from the state, OTRADI will create infrastructure for screening novel therapeutic targets. It will spur access to potential drugs for analysis and guide promising compounds towards commercialization. Collaborating with OSU are the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), Portland State University (PSU) and the University of Oregon (UO).

In addition, OSU faculty in Pharmacy, Science, Veterinary Medicine and other colleges, with the support of the vice president for research, are planning a Center of Excellence in Human Infectious Diseases Research, which will become an important component of OTRADI. It will add expertise in critical areas: prediction of clinical outcomes, response to therapies, disease diagnosis and development of novel treatments. Corporate partnerships are developing with companies such as SIGA Technologies and Bend Research.

The second new signature research center will conduct a program in Bio–Economy and Sustainable Technologies (BEST). Created with $2.5 million from the state and $1 million from the Oregon University System, it will develop Oregonís leadership in sustainability research. The focus is on "clean technology" for everything from renewable building materials and energy to wastewater systems. OSU is collaborating with PSU, UO and the Oregon Institute of Technology.

Continuing support of ONAMI, the legislature approved a $9 million investment for the next two years. To date, ONAMI has leveraged its previous state investment for 10 times that amount in federal and private funding. And in fostering a startup business culture, it has led to three new ventures at the ONAMI–affiliated Microproducts Breakthrough Institute (see "Startup Companies at MBI Incubator," Page 3).

In addition to these initiatives, state support was approved for OSU programs that target electricity from ocean waves, new seafood products, manufacturing processes, food processing and a University Venture Fund to support research commercialization.

OSU Research Office
Oregon Innovation Council