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.

New Inventions

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.

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.

Superabsorbent, Sustainable Aerogels

UW–Madison researchers have developed organic aerogels with excellent absorbent properties. They are made by combining a water soluble polymer and cellulose nanocrystals/nanofibers (CNFs) derived from biomass. The polymer, such as PVA (polyvinyl alcohol), is cross-linked to form a gel and then water is removed by freeze-drying. The surface of the aerogel is coated with an organosilane, making it highly water repellent and superoleophilic (‘oil loving’).

Hydrogel Arrays for Screening Cell-Substrate Interactions

UW–Madison researchers developed a new method for forming patterned hydrogel arrays featuring any number of test spots possessing different characteristics, such as shape and chemical composition. The arrays can be used to culture a range of cell types and rapidly analyze their behavior (e.g., attachment, spreading, proliferation and differentiation).

The arrays are prepared using a hydrogel precursor solution containing a polymer and crosslinker. The solution is sandwiched between stenciled SAM layers containing hydrophilic (‘water-loving’) and hydrophobic (‘water-hating’) regions, then polymerized and released.

As a result of the process, the array features hydrophilic spots surrounded and isolated by hydrophobic regions, preventing any mixing of contents. The spots can have any desired shape, size and chemical composition.

Predicting Male Fertility in Cattle

A UW–Madison researcher has developed a method for predicting whether a sperm sample will have high or low fertility based on average sperm head brightness. Generally, samples that exhibit brighter DNA staining have lower fertility.

In the process, a fresh or frozen sample is stained with DNA-binding fluorescent dye and imaged with a microscope. The brightness of the sperm head is averaged and compared with samples of known fertility.
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New Patents

Prioritized Data Mapping to Recover High Usefulness Data for Improved Wireless Communications

UW-Madison researchers have developed a wireless communication system with a physical transmitter that transmits symbols mapped to multiple bits under an encoding system that allows data in an incorrectly received symbol to be salvaged. This encoding system exploits predictable expectations in error rates of different bit positions of symbols to promote transmission of high usefulness data. By placing the high usefulness data preferentially in bit positions that have fewer errors, the likelihood that high usefulness data can be recovered even after symbol errors occur is increased. The system recovers data by harvesting a portion of the bits of erroneous symbols rather than discarding the bits.

The entire system consists of a transmitter, a prioritizer, an encoder and an interleaver. The wireless transmitter transmits the symbols. The prioritizer divides received multibit data units into categories of relatively high and low usefulness, and creates mixed multibit data units made up of high and low usefulness bits. The encoder maps the mixed multibit data units to symbols and provides the symbols to the transmitter for transmission. The interleaver and encoder work together to map high usefulness bits to positions within the symbols having lower data error rates.

Biocompatible Formulations of Poorly Soluble Anticancer Drugs Such as Gossypol

UW–Madison researchers have developed biocompatible micelles loaded with gossypol or combinations of gossypol and other anticancer drugs such as paclitaxel, 17-AAG and cyclopamine. These drug formulations are stable and provide improved bioavailability without causing toxicity. They enable the intravenous delivery of cancer therapeutics like gossypol that are poorly soluble in water.

Sensitive Assay for Detecting Botulinum Neurotoxin, Neutralizing Antibodies or Inhibitors

UW-Madison researchers have developed a sensitive and specific method of detecting the presence or activity of botulinum neurotoxin, neutralizing antibodies to the toxin or inhibitors of botulinum toxin.  This method may provide a viable alternative to the mouse bioassay. 

To detect neutralizing antibodies or other inhibitors of botulinum toxin, the method involves exposing cultured neuronal cells to the toxin and a test sample.  The cells are incubated to allow active toxin to cleave an endogenous substrate.  Then the cells are harvested and probed to determine how much substrate was cleaved.  The more neutralizing antibodies or other inhibitors there are, the less cleavage is observed as compared to the control. 

To detect the presence of active neurotoxin, the cultured cells are exposed to a test sample and control samples with known amounts of toxin.  The amount of substrate cleavage can be evaluated to determine how much botulinum neurotoxin is present in the test sample as compared to the control samples.
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