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In addition to offering the most innovative, comprehensive educational programs in Pennsylvania, Harrisburg University professors engage students and industry partners in research that leaves an imprint on the world.

In 2016, Biotechnology Professor and Program Director Leena Pattarkine was awarded two Presidential Research Grants from HU for research that could lead to the development of innovative drug and water testing devices, cell regeneration and more.

One of the grants was used to launch the ‘Novel Paper-Based Diagnostic Devices’ research project. Pattarkine is researching the development of innovative and low-cost optical biosensors for pharmaceutical and environmental applications, such as diagnosing pesticides in water samples and testing for drug potency.

This grant was submitted in collaboration with Conductive Technologies Inc, a Biosensor company from York, Pennsylvania, which has partnered and supported the HU Nanobiotechnology program for the past several years.

The other Presidential Research Grant is dedicated to the establishment of the ‘HU Center for Regenerative Medicine,’ which has two aims: The development of hydrogels used for cell regeneration of vertebral discs, and the creation of a 3D-printed prototype for contoured skin grafts.

Pattarkine is working with fellow HU Professor Glenn Mitchell, an engineer and retired U.S. Army emergency physician, on the project. This prototype will provide innovative, cost-effective and expedited treatment options for rapid production of contour-matched skin grafts used on severe burn patients.

“The two projects, funded by the PRG, involve a Nanobiotechnology alumnus and four Biotechnology majors,” Pattarkine said. “This cutting-edge research is providing these students with much needed hands-on experience involving real-world problems while contributing to the spirit of collaboration and entrepreneurship.”

A personal care product company also awarded Professor Pattarkine a $47,000 grant in 2013 to research herbal oil-based antimicrobial nanoparticles. The research, which employed an undergraduate student, identified an improved alternative to the antimicrobial agent used by the company.

Keep an eye on HU’s website and social media pages for more on the INNOVATIVE EDUCATION delivered everyday at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.

Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Harrisburg University is a private non-profit university offering bachelor and graduate degree programs in science, technology, and math fields to a diverse student body. For more information on the University’s affordable demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, call 717.901.5146 or email,

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