Particle Engineering Research Center

Research Clusters

Particles in Industry

Since its inception, PERC has maintained a strong and fruitful collaboration with industry through its Industrial Advisory Board (IAB). The newly awarded NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) – a joint effort between PERC and Columbia University will be leveraged as additional funding for the 'Particles in Industry' cluster. The focus of this program on particulates and surfactant systems dovetails nicely with PERC's current research efforts and plans for future directions. PERC intends to continue enhancing the Center's extensive collaboration with industry in projects of a diverse nature to solve pressing issues that industries face when dealing with particles - everything from laboratory scale synthesis to issues of handling and manufacturing of high-end pharmaceuticals. The PERC IAB will be actively engaged in the research efforts by directly funding and guiding most of the research in this cluster. Membership in the PERC I/UCRC Industrial Advisory Board will give industry partners priority access to PERC researchers and to expertise across UF to solve some of their major technical problems.

Particles in Medicine

Particles in Medicine will be an extension of the Center's current focus on nano-bio medical applications of particles through PERC and CNBS programs. The potential benefits of using particles in bio-imaging, diagnosis, treatment and therapy of numerous diseases are promising and still to be explored. PERC's extensive history of close and successful collaborations with faculty and researchers within the College of Engineering and the Colleges of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences are clear examples of the advantages of interdisciplinary teams focused on these high impact topics.

Particles in the Environment

Increased societal and governmental emphasis on sustainable ecosystems and the need for a better understanding of the implications of nanotechnology in the environment has presented a golden opportunity for the PERC team. The Center leadership has brought together experts in different fields such as toxicology, agriculture, mathematics, and zoology to address the issue of nanoparticle effects on human health and the environment. Seeded several years ago by the UF Vice President for Research, the UF Nanotoxicology program now boasts several large federally funded grants and a growing national and international recognition. Understanding the environmental risks of nanomaterials (NMs) mandates an integration of knowledge and approaches from many different disciplines—from the physical transport and fate of materials in the environment, to the mechanistic interaction of NMs with cells, tissues, whole organisms and the environment. PERC plans to play an important and enabling role in this field in the coming years by providing expertise and tools needed to better understand the impact of particles in different eco and biological systems.

Particles in Emerging Areas

As in many other fields, the potential benefits of using nanoparticles in applications such as renewable and alternative energies, water quality and recovery, bio systems, and sustainability need to be thoroughly explored. The PERC research program on Particles in Emerging Areas will assemble the diverse expertise needed to properly identify and address some of the highest impact challenges of particles in these important fields.