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Company news

January 23, 2012

Subah Packer, a physiology professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine, filed a scathing gender discrimination lawsuit in federal court in Indianapolis this month, accusing the school of paying her less than what male counterparts with less experience earn, even after she attained tenure at the academic medical center. Packer, 57, wants IU to compensate her for loss of past and future income, and pay her attorney's fees. She has worked for IU since 1986 and has been a tenured associate professor of clinical and integrative physiology since 2001. Since then, Packer alleges, her department has hired five less-experienced professors, all male, and paid four of them substantially more than Packer. Her complaint lists her salary as $74,600, compared with starting salaries of roughly $92,000 for three of the newer hires, as well as $82,000 and $72,000 for the other two. Packer also alleges that her salary is below the median of the Physiology Department, which includes 19 full-time professors, even though her teaching load was greater and she had less lab space for conducting research. Mary Hardin, a spokeswoman for the IU medical school, said the school would not comment on the lawsuit. Packer could not be reached for comment.

The city of Indianapolis rescinded a tax abatement last week given in 2007 to Polymer Technology Systems Inc., a small locally based maker of handheld blood monitors. PTS, founded in 1992 by a former Roche Diagnostics Corp. employee, said it would make a $3 million investment at its operation on Zionsville Road and create 110 jobs by 2010, but fell short of its goal. The company has made $2.1 million in investments and currently has only about 70 employees, less than the 80 it had when it received the abatement four years ago, according to the city. PTS chose to terminate the deal rather than renegotiate with the city. PTS makes CardioChek, a handheld meter that measures levels of cholesterol, glucose, triglycerides and other key health indicators from a drop of blood.

Researchers at Indiana State University discovered a new compound that could help boost patients' immune systems without causing unwanted side effects. Biology professor Swapan Ghosh and a team of chemistry professors and graduate students have now patented their chemically modified version of phytol, which is a component of the chlorophyll found in vegetables. Terre Haute-based Indiana State will market the compound to drug companies, which might want to pair it with a drug or vaccine in order to boost effectiveness in patients. Many drugs and vaccines rely on adjuvants like the one Ghosh’s team discovered, but they often have side effects. One of the most widely used adjuvants, alum, has recently come under attack as a possible cause for brain disorders.
 

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