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I nd u s t r i a l R e s earch Of f i ce News l etter

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your window to Penn State research Innovation Park at Penn State Expansion. 2

Penn State ~ Chevron Strategic Alliance for Coal Conversion. 3

Events. 4-5

Dr. Vivek Kapur, Department of Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences. 6

Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics. 7

Licensable Technology. 8

Infectious Disease

Iron Hot Topics

Innovation Park at Penn State Expansion


he construction of two new buildings is expanding Innovation Park at Penn State by 148,000 additional square feet and is supporting the expansion of current companies and the region’s economy.

Dan Leri, director of Innovation Park and the Research Commercialization Office.

“Innovation Park is reaching a critical mass,” says Dan Leri, director of Innovation Park and the Research Commercialization Office. “We are seeing continuing success at helping companies transfer the knowledge within the University to the marketplace and fostering economic development. The Park is the place where collaboration between the University and private sector companies can grow.”

The building at 330 Innovation Boulevard will be completed by November. This 64,000 square-foot, three-story facility already has more than 50 percent of its tenants in place. Construction for a second building at 329 Innovation Boulevard, with 84,000 square feet, began in October and is expected to be completed by late next year. “We are pleased that current tenants continue to flourish at Innovation Park and drive this expansion,” said Jack Norris CEO of CB Richard Ellis/ Pittsburgh. “Innovation Park is a dynamic location providing highly efficient buildings facilitating tenant productivity and growth.” Affiliates of Innovation Capital Partners are developing the new buildings, with CB Richard Ellis/Pittsburgh providing development management, property management, and leasing

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services. Several of the 330 building lessees are current Park tenants in need of expanded space. These include Gateway Management Company, which provides business advisory, accounting and legal services; Alpha Source Universities, a full-service procurement consulting company that uses a unique business model and proprietary software to host realtime competitive bidding opportunities for goods and services; McNees, Wallace, and Nurick, a law firm headquartered in Harrisburg; Adapco, a global enterprise company providing advanced computationally-based engineering solutions; and Sinoceramics, an advanced ceramics, crystal and optical components manufacturer that is moving from the business incubator. At Innovation Park, multiple options are available for companies to meet the ever-changing dynamics of business including: a business incubator for start up companies with “plug and play” space for internet companies; custom-built single-tenant buildings; redundant power and fiber optic links; conference facilities and accommodations for travelers at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel; and an on-site child care facility. Innovation Park provides tenants with access to Penn State’s scientific, engineering, technology and business resources. Turn ideas into products with support from Penn State’s Technology Transfer Organization including the Industrial Research Office, Intellectual Property Office, and the Research Commercialization Office – all located at Innovation Park. Penn State is a leader in working with industry, accumulating $93 million of industry-sponsored research in FY2006.

For more information: Dan Leri | | 814.865.5925 Contributions for this article by Carol Sonenklar, o.psu . e d u/ t h e i r o n your window to Penn State research

Forging Relationships Penn State~Chevron Strategic Alliance

“Penn State has a host of scientists across many disciplines conducting research on different aspects of coal conversion,” she says. “The partnership will not only fund new research but will take advantage of ongoing research.” The first overtures to Chevron were made through Penn State alum Pat Woertz, who helped to bring Chevron CTO Don Paul to campus for discussions. Several subsequent visits and discussions between University researchers and administrators and Chevron representatives advanced the alliance concept. “The timing was perfect,” says Pugh. “Chevron was looking at different universities with which they had an interest in partnering, and we were looking for companies whose needs overlapped our competencies.”

Penn State President Graham Spanier (left) with Donald Paul, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Chevron, and Eva Pell, Penn State Senior Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School.


n October 3, Chevron and Penn State “sealed the deal” to create a strategic five-year research alliance focused on coal conversion technologies to develop cleaner, alternative energy sources. Chevron, a Californiabased energy technology company, will provide the University with as much as $17.5 million under the new partnership. “Both institutions have a rich history of working with coal,” says Jeff Hedges, General Manager, Integrated Laboratory Technologies at Chevron. “We plan to draw on the deep expertise of Penn State and Chevron in heavy hydrocarbon and coal-related research to push the front edge of conversion technology.” Under the agreement, Chevron Energy Technology Company, a Chevron subsidiary, will provide up to $3.5 million annually over the next five years to fund research into coal conversion technologies across many disciplines at Penn State. Some of the areas of exploration will be: coal chemistry, coal handling, carbon resource transformation technology efficiencies and economics, and advanced fuels and combustion. The alliance grew out of a desire to create more substantial relationships between large corporations and the University, sought by both the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations and the Industrial Research Office (IRO) in Innovation Park. Chevron was on the short list, says Tanna Pugh, the Director of the IRO.

In addition to developing new technologies, Pugh says the alliance has another goal. “When technologies change, the workforce must change,” she points out. “We want to be in the forefront of this change by helping to lay the groundwork, to create the pipeline for the engineers and scientists who will operate the refinery of the future.” Hedges agrees. “Another unique aspect of the alliance is that Penn State and Chevron will work together to integrate research with educational and career opportunities,” he says. “This will benefit both undergraduates and graduate students specializing in coal conversion and energy technologies.” The alliance is one of the concrete developments to emerge from a study commissioned by Eva Pell, Senior Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School. “A Strategic Energy Initiative for Penn State: Report of the 2006 Energy Task Force,” grew out of an urgent need to provide a coherent and integrated set of recommendations for future investments in energy research, technology development, policy studies, education and outreach. The Task Force was comprised of faculty members from the colleges of Agricultural Sciences, Earth and Mineral Sciences, Engineering, the Liberal Arts, and the Eberly College of Science. Pell said that as the University prepared to implement the recommendations, it invited a number of companies for input. Among them was Chevron, which has already provided more than $6 million in gifts and grants and $1.68 million in research contracts to Penn State. Over 200 of the company’s 56,000 employees are Penn State alumni.

For more information: Tanna Pugh | | 814.865.9519 by Carol Sonenklar,

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Follow the IRO

A Look at Recent Trade Shows & Penn State Events

Greg Roth (left), professor of agronomy, and Glen Cauffman, manager of farms and facilities in the College of Agricultural Sciences, stand with a New Holland tractor running on 100% biodeisel at CrossOver 2007.


he Industrial Research Office promoted Penn State’s “green” energy research at several recent events. In August, the IRO traveled to Atlanta to exhibit at one of the nation’s largest expositions for energy products and services, the World Energy Engineering Congress. In September, the IRO was an integral member of the committee that organized Penn State’s annual event CrossOver, and later in the month staff members traveled to Pittsburgh for the Energy from Biomass and Waste conference.

of soybeans. This display promoted the testing of 100% biodiesel in agricultural tractors at Penn State. The College of Agricultural Sciences’ biofuel demonstration project is attracting worldwide attention and appears to have ramifications for the makers and users of all types of dieselpowered equipment. They are currently using straight biodiesel, B100, to power three New Holland tractors. Tractors are being studied to determine the long-term effects of 100% biodiesel by analyzing the engine crankcase oil, by observing the tractor power and performance, and finally by dismantling the engines and measuring internal effects. The goal is to discover what owners of diesel engines can expect when they choose to be independent of petroleum fuels. Other Penn State institutes and centers featured at the WEEC include the Applied Research Lab, the Center for Sustainability, and the Facilities Engineering Institute. To review brochures and research featured at the event in Atlanta, visit our online exhibit. For more information: IRO Event Page:

CrossOver 2007 at Penn State Bioenergy: From Fields to Wheels


World Energy Engineering Congress

rossOver 2007, held at Penn State in September and sponsored by the College of Agricultural Sciences, brought together some of the best minds involved in the development of “green energy.”

Atlanta, GA | August 15-16, 2007


John Siggins (right) of the Industrial Research Office discusses Penn State’s “green” research at the World Energy Engineering Congress in Atlanta.

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he Industrial Research Office and Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment exhibited at the World Energy Engineering Congress (WEEC) in August. One specific area of interest at the IRO exhibit was a onegallon jug of biodiesel surrounded by a bushel

The event featured researchers from Penn State and other universities, key government officials, and industry partners involved in developing sustainable and renewable alternative energy sources, supplies and programs. Visitors at the CrossOver 2007 poster session, held in the Life Sciences Building at Penn State. o.psu . e d u/ t h e i r o n your window to Penn State research

Penn State is organizing its bioenergy research around a concept dubbed “Fields to Wheels.” By conducting integrated research into every stage of the biofuels process – from plant transformation to production, harvest, and storage, and from biomass pretreatment to fuel formulation and engine testing – the goal is to optimize whole-system Dr. Tom Richard (left), Director of the Penn State Biomass Energy Center, dis- performance while minimizcusses his proposed Bioenergy Center of ing environmental impact Excellence. and reducing fuel costs. Field and pilot-scale scale-up capabilities provide a bridge to commercialize innovative technologies from both academic and industrial research, and facilitate collaboration and synergy among scientists and engineers from business, government, and universities. To partner in this effort, contact Tom Richard by email at Visit our website for more information on CrossOver 2007, and to view the research posters presented at the event. For more information: IRO Event Page:

Energy from Biomass and Waste

Pittsburgh, PA | September 24-25, 2007


he Penn State Biomass Energy Center and Industrial Research Office were proud sponsors of the Energy from Biomass and Waste conference held in Pittsburgh. Penn State had sevDon Mothersbaugh (right) of the IRO discusses the eral presenters at the latest magazine of the Penn State College of Engi- event. Bruce Logan, neering. director of the Hydrogen Energy Center, discussed bioelectricity or biohydrogen production from biomass using microbial fuel cell technologies. Greg Roth, professor of agronomy, discussed the potential for north-

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eastern crops as biofuels. André Boehman, professor of fuel science and engineering, talked about advancing engines for renewable fuels, and Glen Cauffman, manager of farm operations and services spoke about his project of converting Penn State’s fleet of tractors to biodiesel.

Dr. Bruce Logan presents his microbial fuel cell technologies at the Energy from Biomass and Waste conference.

The Industrial Research office exhibited at the event, promoting the biomass research done across the University. In addition to the featured presenters, our booth carried information on the production of dimethyl ether (DME) from coal and black liquor waste. A waste product of paper-making, black liquor is a combination of wood lignin, paper-making chemicals, and water. According to André Boehman, this waste is routinely burned in a recovery boiler but has more energy value as a synthesis gas used to create fuels. For more information: IRO Event Page:

Upcoming Events NOVEMBER 11-13 Commercialization of NanoMaterials Pittsburgh, PA JANUARY 22-24 SPIE Photonics West San Jose, CA APRIL 14-15 Materials Day at Penn State Penn State University Park THE IRON T h e IRON


Faculty Spotlight Dr. Vivek Kapur, Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences


pioneer in DNA sequencing of animal and human pathogens, the leader of an international consortium for the study of a major animal disease, the author of more than 100 original papers, recipient of countless prizes and six U.S. patents, Dr. Vivek Kapur, a veterinarian and a molecular microbiologist, brings all this and more to Penn State in his new position as head of the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences. What’s the “more?” Dr. Kapur is as much at ease working with biotech companies large and small as he is with academia. He has played a role in a myriad of successful projects with fortune 500 companies, start-up companies, and has advised companies on both business development and scientific matters. He has also chaired a National Institutes of Health SBIR program review group for the past four years. “There are remarkable opportunities for growth in the Penn State Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences given the extraordinarily high caliber and productivity of the faculty, the incredible diversity in their programmatic interests, and the strong commitment to excellence by the leadership at the College and Institutional level,” says Kapur. In addition, “Learning how the IPO and Tech Transfer Organization at Penn State was committed to promoting translational research and willing to think expansively about the technology transfer and commercialization process was a strong motivating factor in the decision to relocate our research programs to Happy Valley.” A professor of microbiology, Kapur’s research focuses on understanding the molecular and evolutionary mechanisms of why certain bacterial species are restricted to causing disease only in particular host species, as well as understanding the

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process of how they cross over to a different host – for example, from an animal to a human being. “Of the emerging pathogens that have been newly found to cause disease in humans, about 75% had an origin in a different animal host,” says Kapur. “So one of the key questions that my research focuses on is what dictates the preference of bacteria for one animal species over another.” Kapur studies how that shift from one host species to another might occur at the molecular level—including how the pathogen may mutate or otherwise adapt—and the commonalities in this process across many different kinds of bacteria. “We are hoping that in the next 10 to 20 years we can understand the details of the common processes that occur when these various classes of agents make transitions to other hosts,” says Kapur. One of the research projects that Kapur is associated with was recently funded by the NIH to establish a Center for Excellence in Influenza research and involves monitoring strains of influenza viruses, including bird flu, as they emerge in different parts of the world. Before joining Penn State, Kapur, who has a degree in veterinary medicine and a doctorate in veterinary science, served on the faculty at the University of Minnesota, where he was the founding Director of the University’s Advanced Genetic Analysis Center and the Director of the Biomedical Genomics Center. One of his most important contributions has been the complete sequencing of the genomes of some major human and animal pathogens, including Pasteurella, Mycobacterium, Staphylococcus, and Cryptosporidium. Kapur also leads an international consortium of scientists in the study of Johne’s disease, a chronic inflammatory intestinal disease that threatens wild and domesticated cattle, sheep, goats, deer, and antelope around the world. It is estimated that 7.8% of beef herds and 22% of dairy herds in the United States have Johne’s disease. This is the largest such consortium and among the largest grants ever funded by the US Department of Agriculture. Both Kapur and his wife, Dr. Sagarika Kanjilal, a cancer biologist who will also be joining the Penn State faculty as an Associate Professor with dual appointments at University Park and the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center campuses, earned their doctoral degrees here at Penn State, a fact that also played into their decision to relocate.

Contact Information: Dr. Vivek Kapur | | 814.865.7696 by Carol Sonenklar, o.psu . e d u/ t h e i r o n your window to Penn State research

Research Spotlight Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics

the environment, and how and why it jumps to other species are some of the topics. “The mechanisms by which a pathogen can move from a host where it’s quite content into a new host is something that has vast implications for animals and humans,” says Poss. Infections that have jumped the species barrier, known as emerging diseases, can be particularly deadly. Many strains of avian flu, for example, are harmless to wild birds but deadly to captive birds such as chickens – and to humans. HIV, Lyme Disease, Ebola, and hantavirus are all examples of emerging diseases.

he Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics (CIDD) is a “virtual” center that brings together a wide variety of disciplines to partner and innovate in the area of infectious disease research. Drawn from faculty in three Penn State colleges and seven departments, CIDD scientists take a variety of approaches toward infectious disease dynamics.

CIDD research falls into five broad categories or themes: 1) evolution and virulence, including co-evolution with host and other organisms; 2) heterogeneities, which is how disease dynamics are affected by variation (as in geographical space or between hosts); 3) immunodynamics, or interactions between pathogens and the immune system; 4) interactions between parasites and how these affect dynamics and evolution of disease agents and hosts; and 5) phylodynamics, which is how pathogen genetic variation is modulated by host immunity, transmission constraints, epidemic dynamics and other variables to determine pathogen phylogenies extending from within the host to metapopulation.

“And dynamics is key here,” says Mary Poss, director of the Center and Professor in Biology and in Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences. “I might understand how a virus modulates the immune response, for example, which provides me with a therapeutic target. But that doesn’t give me a concept of the dynamics of the infection within the host or within the population it’s affecting.”

Within these themes, CIDD scientists conduct study systems which look, for example, at directly transmitted parasites among animals and humans; vector-borne diseases such as salmonella in rodents; influenza strains in horses and chickens; gut bacteria in groundhogs; parasites of amphibians; tick-borne encephalitis in rodents; and host networks such as human societies, among many other projects.

At the CIDD, there are scientists working on viruses from the sub-cellular level to the epidemic level, and everything in between. Research is conducted in a range of scientific areas including immunology, virology, bioinformatics, comparative genomics and evolutionary genetics, molecular epidemiology, population biology, ecology, biological networks, statistics, and systems architecture and sustainability.

Emerging diseases have a tremendous impact not only on human health, agriculture, and conservation, but also in areas such as bio- and agro-terrorism and epidemic control strategies. Poss says the only way to contain or eradicate these types of disease is to understand them at the simplest level and work upward in terms of complexity—which means a multidisciplinary effort.

“The strength of the CIDD is that there is no one approach that can help you understand these processes because they’re extraordinarily complex,” says Poss. “It takes a combination of excellence in empirical work and understanding the biology of natural systems involved.”

“I feel that the only way to tackle these central questions is through a variety of different approaches,” she says. “The beauty of this Center is how well we work together to try to accomplish some very big goals.”


How a disease chooses its host species, how it replicates, how it spreads to other populations, what helps to propagate it in

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Contact Information: by Carol Sonenklar,

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Penn State Licensable Technology Below is a list of inventions that resulted from Penn State’s infectious disease research. These inventions are available for licensing through the Penn State Intellectual Property Office. For more information on the these and other technologies, read The IRON online at • Sequence of a Bovine Lymphocyte-Derived Antibacterial Protein • Dot-ELISA for the Detection of Avian Influenza Virus • Parvovirus Methods and Compositions for Killing Neoplastic Cells • Use of an Avirulent Mutant as a Live Vaccine Vector • Synthetic Mimics of Small Mammalian Cell Surface Receptors • Identification of a Novel Class of Anti-Malarial Agents

Industrial Research Office Newsletter

• Pox Protector: A Device to Prevent Spread of Vaccine Virus from Smallpox Vaccination Sites

Subscribe to the e-Edition of The IRON at

• Parainfluenza Virus 5

Look for our Spring 2008 issue in February.

• Inhibition of Hepatitis B Virus Reverse Transcriptase by Porphyrin-based Compounds

• Universal Strategy for Virus Attenuation

• In Vitro Test for Anti-Papillomavirus Drugs Send comments or suggestions for The IRON to: Gregory Angle, Marketing Coordinator, Industrial Research Office Photo credits: Public Health Image Library - cover/page 7 (no. 4408) page 6 (no. 8038), page 7 (no. 7989); Greg Grieco - page 6. This publication is available in alternative media on request. Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce. U.Ed. RES 08-29.

The Pennsylvania State University Industrial Research Office 119 Technology Center University Park, PA 16802

• Live Vaccine that Protects Against Avian Escherichia coli Infections • Identification of a Lymphocyte-derived Antimicrobial Protein more online at