VOL. 131 | NO. 7 | Monday, January 11, 2016
University of Memphis Institutes Team Up for Biologistics Partnership
By Andy Meek
Two research institutes at the University of Memphis – the FedEx Institute of Technology and the Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute – have teamed up to launch a biologistics partnership.
The FedEx institute is referring to partnerships like the new one around biologistics as “clusters,” research areas around which the institute wants to collect projects, research efforts and programming. It’s part of a push by the institute to try and put itself at the center of innovation in the city, according to Cody Behles, the institute’s manager of innovation and research support.
"Our duty is to think long-term and take the lead in the development of emerging new research areas of the future,” said Dr. Jasbir Dhaliwal, chief innovation officer and executive director of the FedEx Institute, about the new partnership.
As part of that push, the two institutes are funding nine interdisciplinary biologistics projects, investing about $231,000 in projects from 16 faculty researchers representing seven academic departments in five colleges, schools and centers across the university. The awards address a range of emerging biologistics topics like biologistics analytics, disaster management of freight, biologistics security, health care/pharmaceutical logistics and biologistics materials handling.
Some of the projects being supported carry titles like “Alternative Biologistics for Pharmaceutical Products: 3D-Printed Tablets and Pills”; “Post-Disaster Management of Freight Transportation Networks”; and “Smart Packaging Temperature Sensing for Biologistics.”
The 16 researchers behind those projects will get their awards during an event Jan. 22 at 3:30 p.m. at the FedEx institute. During that event, project leaders will summarize their research ideas to an audience that includes community stakeholders and the general public, and they’ll also be named Biologistics Research Fellows of the University.
Leading the biologistics research cluster is Dr. Stephanie Ivey, director of the Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute.
Under the program, research leaders will collaborate with junior faculty and graduate students partly with an eye toward raising the university’s profile as a biologistics research hub.
Biologistics – basically, the science around moving biomaterials via freight – is a hot area in the freight and transportation sectors internationally, according to Ivey, and the university wants to stay on the cutting edge of advancements “through pragmatic applied research.”
Other research areas FIT is working to serve as a catalyst for include topics like cybersecurity, smart biomaterials and precision medicine. The institute on Tuesday, Jan. 12, is holding a kick-off event for another new research cluster it’s focusing on – robotics, autonomous vehicles and drones, at which an overview of those topics and research areas will be presented, among other things.