Purdue research

Courtesy Purdue University

Today’s nurses may be using outdated materials that keep them from training future moms how to properly breastfeed. But Purdue engineering students are unveiling a device to aid them.

The device uses a plastic baby doll, equipped with sensors, to simulate a newborn. The doll interacts with a model of a female torso and gives feedback to health professionals whether the nipple is placed correctly for the child to nurse.

Computer models
Chloe Weber / WBAA News

Purdue University researchers are developing ways to use magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, scans to better detect breast cancer. But they haven’t tested their theories on humans yet. 

Biomedical engineering professor Joseph Rispoli says currently, scans are limited to a one-size-fits-all approach to detecting tumors. But he says his team’s efforts could allow an MRI scan to adjust for differing tissue density by using higher-strength magnetic fields.

A novel way to create sheet metal could generate big energy savings in motorized machines.

Purdue University engineers are getting a $1.5 million federal grant to begin studying the new process and its applications this summer.

The three-year project will focus on adding larger amounts of silicon to the small steel parts that help power electric motors.

Silicon helps the steel waste less electricity, says Purdue materials engineer Kevin Trumble, but adding enough to make a difference isn’t easy.

A Purdue University professor is getting nearly half a million dollars from the USDA to study how food policies creating new labels and certifications can affect prices and consumer choice.

The research received $483,000 from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture this month. It seeks to answer questions about things like GMO label requirements.

Purdue University is seeing more research funding from its corporate partners, a trend that has officials hoping they can be less reliant on public funding.

Purdue gets about a quarter of its research funding from the private sector. An average of 500 companies chip in every year.

But the school’s corporate and global partnerships officer, Dan Hirleman, says the funds those companies contribute have increased from $37 million in 2013 to as much as $55 million the past few years.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

A Purdue University researcher and her students are using store-bought spinach leaves and lasers to try to better understand photosynthesis -- that’s the process by which many plants make their food.

But Yulia Pushkar and her students have a bigger goal in mind – understanding how the plants turn sunlight into energy so much more efficiently than solar panels.

Her study of a compound known as Photosystem II could help scientists learn how to better harness the sun’s power.