Latest AIM Projects


Enzyme Catalyzed Toehold Mediated Strand Displacement (TMSD)

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Invention Summary:  

Toehold mediated strand displacement (TMSD) is widely used in nanotechnology applications such as DNA nano-circuits and devices. The toeholds which are small single‐stranded DNA overhangs, are often utilized in kinetically controlled complex biochemical circuits. Existing toehold mediated strand displacement (TMSD) reactions rely on spontaneous annealing and strand exchange reaction These reactions are typically slow and thereby limiting many applications. There is a need for a catalyst to speed up these reactions but till date there are no catalyst currently used in such TMSD reactions. 

Rutgers researchers have discovered that human mitochondrial DNA helicase ‘Twinkle’ can catalyze TMSD reactions on various DNA substrates. Twinkle catalyzed strand displacement discriminates single base changes, and thus, can be utilized for developing diagnostic probes for the detection of single nucleotide polymorphisms. The researchers employed fluorescence based stopped-flow kinetics and electrophoretic methods to investigate these possibilities. Presence of Twinkle increased the amplitude and rate of the fluorescence signal, showing that Twinkle can accelerate the spontaneous TMSD reaction anywhere between 10-100 folds.   

Advantages: 

Market Applications:  

Intellectual Property & Development Status: Patent pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration.

Publications: 

Doyel Sen, Gayatri Patel, Smita S. Patel, Homologous DNA strand exchange activity of the human mitochondrial DNA helicase TWINKLE, Nucleic Acids Research, Volume 44, Issue 9, 19 May 2016, Pages 4200–4210, https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkw098

 

 

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Precise hydrophobic patterning of microfluidic channels for high throughput production of multi-order emulsions.

­ Method to micropattern the channels in a Very Large Scale Microfluidic Integrated (VLSMI) chip for high throughput multi-order emulsion production.

Problem: 
Multi-order emulsions have promising uses in drug delivery and the food industry due to their ability to control multiple fluids at the micrometer scale, which relies on creating micropatterns on chips. Current methods of fluidic channel patterning include flowing reagents through the device and using microcapillary-based droplet generators. However, these approaches either have limited spatial resolution or are incompatible with chips holding large numbers of parallelized devices.

Solution: 
To allow precise spatial resolution control, the inventors micro-pattern the wettability of microfluidic channels in a silicon and glass microfluidic chip using a silane coating. They then apply this method to a parallelized microfluidic chip with 2100 double emulsion generators and achieve large-scale multi-order emulsions at high throughput. 

Technology: 
The inventors use lithography for the fluidic channel patterning and a standard silicon and glass microfabrication process. The key is finding the microfabrication process that does not degrade the silane coating. Thus, the surfaces of components are made hydrophobic prior to components bonding. To demonstrate the practical scale-up ability, they fabricate a 2100-channel microfluidic chip with a similar process and additional etching iterations, which generate highly homogeneous double emulsions at high throughput.    

Advantages: 

Stage of Development: 

(A) Fabrication process of the single microfluidic double emulsion (DEm) generators; (B) Generation of water-in-oil-in-water and oil-in-water-in-oil homogeneous double emulsions; (C) The Very Large Scale Microfluidic Integrated (VLSMI) chip incorporated with 2100 (300 devices per row × 7 rows) double emulsion generators; (D) SEM image of the VLSMI chip and the homogeneous double emulsions. 

Intellectual Property: 

Reference Media:   

Desired Partnerships 

Docket: 22-10110 

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Tetrazolium-Based Pro-Chelators as New Anticancer Agents

This invention comprises a class of tetrazolium-based prochelators for targeting and binding intracellular iron for selective cancer cell antiproliferation or other iron dysregulation.  Various analogues within this class of chemistry can be tuned to the redox potential for selective targeting of cancer cell types.

Background:
Iron is an essential element and is the most abundant transition metal in humans. The normal functions of human cells rely on iron due to its vital role in oxygen transport, energy generation, and DNA synthesis. Altered metabolism and homeostasis of transition metal ions (such as iron, copper, and zinc) are associated with several pathological conditions including cancer and neurodegeneration. Thus, metal-binding compounds (chelators) may play important roles in these pathways and may be potential drug candidates for these pathological conditions.  Malignant cells have a higher demand for iron to sustain their rapid proliferation rates. As a result, targeting iron metabolism in cancer cells has become a promising strategy in cancer therapy. Iron chelation therapy is a treatment that removes iron in the organism by utilizing a small-molecule scavenger (chelator).  

This invention uses tetrazolium salts as pro-chelators, namely precursors to iron chelators that can limit intracellular iron availability and cause cell death.  The invention relates to methods of making the tetrazolium salts and methods of treatment using the compounds. A prochelation strategy uses disulfide switches to mask the tridentate binding unit of thiosemicarbazone and aroylhydrazone chelators. Upon cellular uptake, the reduction of the disulfide bond releases a thiolate chelator that coordinates iron with high affinity in mammalian cells. The treatment involves a prodrug strategy in which the pro-chelator forms accumulate in cancer cells and transform into the iron-binding chelator forms. Preliminary results have shown moderate anti-proliferative activity in two cancer cell lines.

Applications:

Advantages:


New method for biosynthesis of hydroxylated polymethoxyflavones

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The potential benefits of hydroxylated polymethoxyflavones


Invention Summary:

Hydroxylated polymethoxyflavones (OH-PMFs), are a class of novel flavonoid compounds found in citrus plants with very low abundance. OH-PMFs could be produced through semi-chemical or semi-bio synthesis from their PMF counterparts, but the technique to generate OH-PMFs with OH substitution at 6 or 7 position is very limited. There is a need for more sustainable method to produce OH-PMFs, especially 6- or 7- OH-PMFs, at a higher yield.

      Rutgers researchers have developed a method for the biosynthesis of a variety of OH-PMFs, via the cultivation of a strain of yeast found in old orange peel. Combining with an innovative dispersion method, the process can be done in aqueous solution, with a high production yield and no need of complex purification.

Advantages:    

Market Applications:    

Intellectual Property & Development Status: 

Patent pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration.

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New method for biosynthesis of hydroxylated polymethoxyflavones

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The potential benefits of hydroxylated polymethoxyflavones​


Invention Summary:

Hydroxylated polymethoxyflavones (OH-PMFs), are a class of novel flavonoid compounds found in citrus plants with very low abundance. OH-PMFs could be produced through semi-chemical or semi-bio synthesis from their PMF counterparts, but the technique to generate OH-PMFs with OH substitution at 6 or 7 position is very limited. There is a need for more sustainable method to produce OH-PMFs, especially 6- or 7- OH-PMFs, at a higher yield.

      Rutgers researchers have developed a method for the biosynthesis of a variety of OH-PMFs, via the cultivation of a strain of yeast found in old orange peel. Combining with an innovative dispersion method, the process can be done in aqueous solution, with a high production yield and no need of complex purification.

Advantages:    

Market Applications:    

Intellectual Property & Development Status: Patent pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration.

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Improving the Quality of Geriatric Healthcare

Improving the Quality of Geriatric Healthcare

https://sites.google.com/slu.edu/intellectualproperty/2021/21-005

 


Flexible Magnetic Antenna Structures

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The Problem:

Various wireless communication services, including AM/FM radio, satellite radio, cellular phone communications, and intelligent transportation systems, are increasingly demanded because handheld electronic devices and automotive multimedia are rapidly advancing. A large number of antennas are required/need to be embedded in the wireless communication system, so antenna miniaturization, compact design, and easy integration are important factors. Current antennas with dielectric substrate material are limited in performance capabilities including miniaturization, gain, and bandwidth efficiency.

The Solution:

Researchers at the University of Alabama have developed a flexible magnetic antenna comprising a flexible printed circuit board (PCB) carrier, magneto-dielectric (MD) layer, and antenna radiator. The MD layer allows for antenna miniaturization and increases the electromagnetic energy radiation while maintaining high performance and good conformability, allowing this technology to outperform current flexible dielectric antennas. 

Resonance Frequency , Antenna Gain, and Return Loss of Antenna
Resonance Frequency, Antenna Gain and Return Loss of Antenna
Antenna Structure
Antenna Structure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benefits:

• Increased applications. (FM radio, video broadcasting, cell, Bluetooth, etc.)
• Multiple fabrication methods.
• Rapid technology change.
• Low-profile, high integrability & conformability.
• Smaller/miniaturized, more modern flexible dielectric antenna.

The University of Alabama Research Office of Innovation and Commercialization (OIC) is a non-profit corpo­ration that is responsible for commercializing University of Alabama technologies and for supporting University research. At OIC, we seek parties that are interested in learning more about our technologies and commercialization opportunities, and we welcome any inquiries you may have.


Motor Controls: a Neural-Network

 

The Problem:

Motor controller technology exists, yet current approaches each have inhibiting flaws (i.e.. standard lookup tables are time-consuming, occupy large memory usage, and have little control accuracy). While driving a car, different speeds translate into torque, and current leading methods convert torque inefficiently.

The Solution:

Utilize a neural network (NN) approach to determine MTPA, flux-weakening, and MTPV operating points over the full speed range to maximize torque efficiency of an IPM motor. NN training data is generated, and the impact of variable motor parameters is embedded into the NN system for improved performance. A fast and accurate current reference generation is achieved using a simple NN structure, that can handle the MTPA, MTPV, and flux-weakening operation considering physical motor constraints.

Example neural-network, IPM motor drive and control system
Example neural-network, IPM motor drive and control system

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benefits:

·More compact and cost efficient than other leading methods.
·Provides highly efficient and accurate torque control, uses less memory storage, and allows analyzation of the nonlinear impact of variable control parameters.
·While other methods have been proposed that utilize a neural network approach, many only address MTPA and flux-weakening, but do not mention the operating point of the MTPV or the use of the Levenberg-Marquardt algorithm to avoid disadvantages of online NN training.


The University of Alabama Research Office of Innovation and Commercialization (OIC) is a non-profit corpo­ration that is responsible for commercializing University of Alabama technologies and for supporting University research. At OIC, we seek parties that are interested in learning more about our technologies and commercialization opportunities, and we welcome any inquiries you may have.
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Core-Shell Nanomagnets: Out with Rare-Earth Metals

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The Problem:

Many of the permanent magnets currently being made are made of rare-earth metals. These metals have operational temperatures below 150°C. This is problematic for motor applications (i.e., electric motors) that require operational temperatures of at least 160°C, and leads to a loss in the magnetic properties of the metals. Further, sources for the rare-earth metals are limited to a few countries, and metal price is unpredictable/controlled by those countries, creating an unstable rare-earth metal market and expensive rare earth materials.

The Solution:

Researchers at the University of Alabama have developed magnetic exchange coupled core-shell nanomagnets to replace the use of rare-earth metal magnets. The technology consists of a method to produce barium hexaferrite nanoparticles for the creation of magnets that don’t  use rare-earth metals, allowing lower expense magnets that have operational temperatures over 250°C.

Experimental/Theoretical Magnetic Energies
Experimental/Theoretical Magnetic Energies

 

Magnet Structure
Magnet Structure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benefits:

• No rare-earth metals used: less expensive materials, easier obtainability.
• Higher Curie temperature than rare-earth permanent magnets.
• Invented core-shell nanomagnets can be used at 250°C.

 

The University of Alabama Research Office of Innovation and Commercialization (OIC) is a non-profit corpo­ration that is responsible for commercializing University of Alabama technologies and for supporting University research. At OIC, we seek parties that are interested in learning more about our technologies and commercialization opportunities, and we welcome any inquiries you may have.


Branched Nanochannel devices for detection and sorting of Nucleic Acids

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The Problem:

Although methods to edit DNA have increased in recent years, there is no method to effectively screen edited DNA. Traditionally, edited DNA is placed into bacteria to see the effects of the DNA  edit. Thus, to determine if the editing worked the bacteria must be grown and then analyzed to determine if the effect was seen. If not, then the editing must go back to square one.

The Solution:

Researchers at The University of Alabama have developed a method that enables the detection and screening of an edited gene on DNA at a molecular level. This method eliminates the need to utilize bacteria to determine an edit in DNA. By utilizing a branched nanochannel, researchers are able to analyze the DNA to detect the editing. This allows for an easier and faster method to detect the edited DNA.

DNA
                                                                                 DNA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benefits:

• Accurate and quick method to identify single molecules in a sequence.
• Able to determine location of target genes on DNA molecules.
• Able to determine presence of edited genes in a more efficient manner.


The University of Alabama Research Office of Innovation and Commercialization (OIC) is a non-profit corpo­ration that is responsible for commercializing University of Alabama technologies and for supporting University research. At OIC, we seek parties that are interested in learning more about our technologies and commercialization opportunities, and we welcome any inquiries you may have.