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Oregon universities, PNNL sign collaborative research agreement

September 05, 2001 Share This!

RICHLAND, Wash. – Oregon's higher education institutions and one of the region's largest research laboratories are joining forces to improve human health, create sustainable industrial practices and create high-tech businesses in the Northwest.

In a Memorandum of Understanding signed in Richland today, the Oregon University System, Oregon Health & Science University and the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory agreed to form a cooperative relationship for research and educational activities. Among the areas of initial focus will be two collaborations in the life and physical sciences, and one in the economic development arena.

The challenge of understanding complex biological systems is daunting and requires significant resources. Discussions are underway to create a new program in functional genomics, which will link OHSU's advanced technologies for monitoring gene expression with PNNL's state-of-the-art protein analysis methods. By integrating information obtained with these technologies, researchers will create a unique database that could hold clues to disease prevention. Through the collaboration, advanced computer data mining programs will be developed that allow scientists to examine the information and search for answers to human health and susceptibility issues.

In a second collaborative effort, PNNL and several Oregon research universities with microtechnology and "green chemistry" research programs will collaborate on the development of micro-chemical and -thermal systems in an effort to achieve sustainable processes and products. Microtechnology-based systems are lightweight, compact and efficient and have the potential for revolutionizing heat exchangers, heat pumps, combustors, fuel processors and many other devices. Further, incorporation of these micro-scale devices will enable industries and communities to thrive economically while protecting their local environment.

The Northwest Virtual Entrepreneurial Support Network will be established to share technology, management, money and marketing resources in Oregon and Washington in an effort to create successful high-tech businesses. The network will identify, develop and commercialize intellectual property derived from the partnership. Partners are PNNL and the Oregon Technology Transfer Council, which is comprised of the technology transfer officers from Oregon's research universities.

"The Oregon institutions and PNNL have much in common including the mission and desire to advance science and technology through the pursuit of research," said Lura Powell, PNNL director. "This is an important step forward in realizing our vision of PNNL as a partner and accessible resource for the Northwest."

"We're extremely excited about the opportunity to have Oregon researchers partner in discovery with the scientists at the national laboratory," said OUS Chancellor Joe Cox. "We see tremendous advantage in working together and using our collective expertise to extend new frontiers in science and technology that will benefit the region and the nation."

"Combining PNNL's expertise in informatics and proteomics with the functional genomics efforts at OHSU should aid the development of new tools that allow biomedical researchers to take advantage of the information generated by the human genome sequencing project," said Klaus Frueh, director of OHSU 's Gene Microarray Shared Resource Facility.

Future collaborations will include educational and training opportunities, staff and faculty development programs, short courses and conferences, and visiting scientist programs in addition to collaborative research and jointly operated research institutes.

Tags: Environment, Fundamental Science, Technology Transfer and Commercialization, Proteomics, Economic Development

Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,300 staff and has an annual budget of about $950 million. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy. For more information, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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