Through Technologies

Explore WARF Inventions and Patents

WARF Technologies

WARF’s portfolio of more than 1,600 patented technologies covers a wide range of categories, including analytical instrumentation, pharmaceuticals, food products, agriculture, research tools, medical devices, pluripotent stem cells, clean technology, information technology and semiconductors.

Information summaries, which describe each technology and its applications, benefits, inventors and patent status, can be downloaded, printed and shared by clicking on the technology category links to the left on this page.

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New Inventions

Combination Therapy Kills Cancer Cells

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new cancer treatment that combines a TRAIL receptor agonist with the diabetes drug metformin. Metformin sensitizes even resistant cancer cells to the TRAIL receptor agonists (e.g., lexatumumab) that induce cell death.

Metformin is attractive because its safety has been established over decades in diabetic patients worldwide. As such, there seem to be few barriers to its clinical implementation as a cancer therapeutic in combination with TRAIL receptor agonists. Metformin is commercially available as Glucophage® or in generic form.

New System for Producing Fungal Secondary Metabolites

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new system for producing fungal secondary metabolites using test plasmids and a genetically modified strain of Aspergillus nidulans (TPMW2.3). The strain begins producing secondary metabolites when a gene promoter in the plasmid is triggered by culture conditions. This allows researchers to induce or repress production.

Peptide Mimics Last Longer, Target Protein-Protein Interactions

UW–Madison researchers have developed modified Z-domain peptides that last longer in vivo while retaining strong binding properties. The researchers removed one of the helices and stabilized the remaining two with a disulfide bond. They substituted some residues with alpha and beta amino acid residues; the latter helps resist degradation by proteolytic enzymes.

The α/β-peptide mimics (or foldamers) can be tailored to target a variety of different proteins and protein-protein interactions. Given their small size (39 amino acids) relative to full-length Z-domains (59 amino acids), the new peptide mimics are easier to synthesize and modify.

Hydrogel Arrays for Screening Cell-Substrate Interactions, Now in Multiwell Format

Building on their previous work, the researchers have now adapted their method to any commercially available, glass or polystyrene-bottom multiwell plate. In the new process, hydrogel is covalently immobilized to the bottom of each well and then selectively polymerized. In this way the spots are completely isolatable, allowing for systemic and independent control of their chemical composition and XYZ physical dimensions.

Once the hydrogel array is formed, each of the spots can be exposed to different soluble factors without risk of diffusion.

New Amphiphiles for Manipulating Membrane Proteins

UW–Madison researchers have developed improved amphiphiles for solubilizing, isolating and characterizing membrane proteins. They can be prepared from cholic acid, deoxycholic acid and lithocholic acid, which are steroids found in bile.

The new amphiphiles, called CAO, DCAO and LCAO, are effective in challenging biochemical systems, such as extraction of delicate photosynthetic superassemblies from native lipid bilayers.
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New Patents

Varied Monodisperse Oil or Liquid Crystal Emulsion Droplets for Improved Nanoviewing, Sensing and Biosensors

UW-Madison researchers have developed a versatile, scalable and highly parallel method of producing monodisperse emulsion droplets in a range of predetermined sizes.  The oil emulsion droplets, in which the oils can be liquid crystal molecules, can be prepared with or without polymeric shells or capsules.

This method is based on templating polyelectrolyte multilayer (PEM) capsules formed by the layer-by-layer adsorption of polyelectrolytes on sacrificial particles.  A polymeric shell is formed around a sacrificial particle, such as silica.  Then the silica is etched away and the shell is infiltrated with an oil.  The shell then can be removed to reveal monodisperse oil or liquid crystal emulsion droplets of a uniform, predetermined size.  These droplets could be used as biosensors to detect enzymatic activity or target analytes, such as bacteria or viruses, in a sample.

Improved Heat Transfer Fluid Helps Sun Drive Steam Power Plants

UW-Madison researchers have developed a system and method for transferring heat using a variable composition heat transfer fluid that remains liquid over a wide temperature range, up to 500 ºC or above. Typically, low molecular weight fluids stay fluid at low temperatures but evaporate quickly at high temperatures, while high molecular weight fluids stay liquid at high temperatures but solidify at lower temperatures. This new system and method utilizes a heat exchanging fluid comprised of a mixture of a high boiling point, high molecular weight fluid (H), and a low freezing point, low molecular weight fluid (L).

As the combined fluid mixture heats up during the heat exchange process, L evaporates and the vapor is collected in a tank and condensed back into the liquid phase, leaving the heated fluid comprised mostly of H. As the heated H is cooled after heat exchange, the liquid L is added back into the mixture to prevent H from solidifying as it cools. The high boiling point component of the mixture is useful in increasing the boiling point temperature of the heat transfer fluid and lowering the vapor pressure of the heat transfer fluid at high temperatures. The low freezing point component of the mixture is useful in lowering the freezing point temperature of the heat transfer fluid, ensuring that it does not solidify during the temperature cycle.

The system of the invention includes a vessel for containing the heat transfer fluid, a heat source, an outlet for removing some of L as temperature increases during the cycle and an inlet for re-adding L as temperature decreases during the cycle.

Probing Disease Chemistry with Joint Spatial and Spectral Imaging

UW–Madison researchers have developed a method for simultaneously generating spectral and spatial images of a subject using an MRI system.

A subject receives a dose of hyperpolarized imaging compound. MR image data is acquired from the subject according to a k-space sampling trajectory that spatially oversamples to encode both spatial and spectral frequency information at the oversampled points. The MR image data then can be reconstructed into the different image types using a model-based reconstruction technique and prior knowledge of the chemical species associated with the compound.
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