Discovery Park at Purdue University: Engine for Academic and Commercial Growth

By Charles Buck1, Pankaj Sharma1

1. Purdue University

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The Bindley Bioscience Center and Birck Nanotechnology Center at Discovery Park blend life sciences and engineering research to cultivate and support innovative, multi-investigator, interdisciplinary research teams. Discovery Park engages researchers in a broader perspective with applications of new or emerging technologies. The Centers have established new research infrastructure to apply analytical methods, precision measurement technologies, nanoscale syntheses and fabrication, and high throughput approaches to address complex problems. Research activities apply multiple high-end technologies in the context of senior research staff scientists with deep expertise in these technologies. The Centers actively engage with Purdue and other academic partners and with the commercial sector. In all of the eleven centers of Discovery Park, ranging from entrepreneurship to energy and advanced manufacturing, research projects reflect a large economic impact and address global grand challenges.

The bionanotechnology research focus shared between the Birck and Bindley Centers is rich in capabilities. Unique measurement sensitivity and research applications are provided by the wet surface-compatible atomic force microscope and a novel liquid-compatible high vacuum TEM system. Single molecule imaging is facilitated with multiple experimental platforms to enable cross-validation and a thrust in nanophotonics enables bionanotechnology researchers to push the limits of light microscopic visualization. Custom synthesis of biopolymers enables functionalization of nanomaterials for biological application. The Birck nanometrology laboratories include vibration-free concrete floor slabs suspended on air bearings, shielding to eliminate electromagnetic radiation and temperature control to 0.1oC, for the most exacting preparatory and monitoring studies. A complete suite of microelectronics and microfluidics fabrication and testing equipment is available in the Center’s 2400 m2 clean room facility with a unique-in-the-world bio-pharma clean room embedded in the fabrication clean room. This bio-pharma clean room enables facile testing of biosensors delivered directly from the fabrication clean room and is good manufacturing practices (GMP)-compliant so that therapeutic and diagnostic materials for human clinical studies can be produced in this facility.


Charles Buck Charles Buck has been the Director of Operations for the Bindley Bioscience Center (BBC) at Purdue University’s Discovery Park since December, 2004. He coordinates multidisciplinary scientific research efforts as well as overseeing the day-to-day activities of the BBC. His responsibilities include organizing research grant initiatives, managing large scale research projects, directing research services, quality assurance and compliance, and recruitment and management of Bindley research staff. Engagement with corporate partners and commercialization of Purdue technology are key Discovery Park metrics and another focus of activity for Charles.

Dr. Buck was previously Chief Scientific Officer at Oridis Biomed in Graz, Austria, a company that he co-founded in 2001. Dr. Buck successfully developed partnerships, generated capital funding, managed the research activity, and developed the patent portfolio of the company. He earned his Ph.D. in Molecular Neurobiology at Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in 1988. Prior to starting Oridis, he held faculty positions at Emory University School of Medicine, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and the University of Utah School of Medicine.

His research expertise is in the molecular biology of vertebrate nervous system development and response to injury as well as in human liver diseases and cancer. With broad experience with high throughput gene and protein expression analysis, he has received research project funding from the NIH, the American Paralysis Association, the Austrian Genome Project, and the European Commission Framework Programme 6.

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  • Charles Buck, Pankaj Sharma (2008), "Discovery Park at Purdue University: Engine for Academic and Commercial Growth,"

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