Through Technologies

New Patents

Click Chemistry-Based Multi-Enhanced Biomaterials Help Heal Wounds

The UW–Madison researchers have now adapted “click chemistry” in lieu of an external energy source to form the sIPNs. This allows a wider variety of sensitive bioactive molecules, including therapeutic cells, to be entrapped within the sIPNs, enhancing the clinical applicability of the technology.
(Mar 17, 2015) P100330US02

Selective Conversion of Lignin into Simple Aromatic Compounds

UW–Madison researchers have developed a metal-free, aerobic oxidation method that selectively transforms the benzylic alcohol in lignin to the corresponding ketone. The process uses a nitric acid (HNO3) catalyst combined with another Brønsted acid. The reaction leaves unchanged at least a portion of unprotected primary aliphatic alcohols in the lignin or lignin subunit.

The reaction may be carried out in any suitable polar solvent and in the presence of additional reagents including TEMPO and derivatives.
(Mar 3, 2015) P130104US01

Method and Electrocatalyst to Efficiently Produce Hydrogen Fuel over a Broad, Acidic pH Range

UW-Madison researchers have developed an improved method for generating oxygen and hydrogen with a cobalt-oxide electrocatalyst that uses fluorophosphate or a similar anion electrolyte as the electrolytic buffer in the electrolysis reaction. Using this method, an anode and a cathode are placed in an aqueous solution containing water, a cobalt cation and the anion electrolyte. Then an external source of energy (potentially derived from solar, wind or other renewable energy) drives the electrolysis reaction to generate oxygen and hydrogen. Alternatively, a catalyst containing cobalt, oxygen and the anion electrolyte can be deposited on the anode of the electrochemical cell prior to electrolysis in cobalt-free conditions.

This cobalt-oxide catalyst enables efficient oxidation of water at room temperature over a more favorable pH range. The reduction in overpotential makes it easier and less expensive to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, while the expanded pH range allows water oxidation to be coupled with desirable reactions such as reduction of carbon dioxide at the cathode. In addition, the electrolyte buffers are compatible with conventional materials used in electrochemical cells. The hydrogen gas output of this process can be collected and used as an alternative fuel source or as feedstock for conversion into other fuels or materials. The oxygen gas can be collected, dried and used for any process requiring pure oxygen.
(Feb 17, 2015) P110007US02

High-Definition Video with Low-Speed Cameras

UW–Madison researchers have developed a temporally offset sampling scheme for generating high-definition video.

For each pixel in a camera, image data is captured at different times and with differing exposure periods (e.g., randomly selected), and temporally offset from all others. This image data from the disparate pixels and times are compared and matched to construct video.

Images may be sampled at a relatively low rate with offset, per-pixel exposure time. In this way, the scheme achieves high dynamic range by spatial or temporal redundancy, thereby matching images captured at the different pixels.

A CMOS or CCD-based sensor can be implemented to generate high-speed video frames using low sampling rate.
(Feb 17, 2015) P130162US01

Monolithic Fiber Optic Sensor Assembly for High-Temperature or Corrosive Environments

A UW–Madison researcher has developed a high-temperature U-bench sensor constructed from monolithic optical ceramic material. The supporting structure of the sensor and elements such as two opposed lenses or an opposed lens and mirror are constructed of compatible materials and fused together. The material provides a system robust against high temperatures and temperature changes that might affect precision optical alignment or cause mechanical failure in more traditional sensors.
(Feb 10, 2015) P120024US01

Cell-Free System for Combinatorial Discovery of Enzymes Capable of Transforming Biomass for Biofuels

UW-Madison researchers have developed compositions and methods that expand the ability to make, express and identify target polypeptides, including enzymes capable of enhancing the deconstruction of biomass into fermentable sugars. 

This approach uses a cell-free system to express enzymes and other polypeptides in a combinatorial manner.  Because the system is cell-free, the enzymes can be assayed without intermediate cloning steps or purification of the protein products.  This system also is more reliable than conventional methods for analyzing biomass transformation because it does not utilize living systems, which could rapidly consume soluble sugars.

Specifically, the system compromises a cell-free extract for synthesizing the target polypeptide, a nucleotide sequence that encodes a fusion protein containing a cohesion domain and a biomass binding domain, and a nucleotide sequence that encodes a second fusion protein containing a dockerin domain and a polypeptide capable of catalyzing biomass transformation.  The system also may include additional polypeptides and fusion proteins.  The target polypeptides may be synthesized in the presence of different types of biomass to determine their effects on biomass deconstruction.
(Feb 3, 2015) P08301US02

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.
(Feb 3, 2015) P100120US02

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.
(Feb 3, 2015) P100278US02

Microwell Moat Prevents Spillover

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new microwell design for use with conventional micropipetting equipment (e.g., a hand-held micropipette or automated pipetting robot). Similar to other microwell designs, the flat device is checkered with nanoliter microwells. However, in the new design, groups of microwells are ringed by deeper moat-like channels that isolate the groups and prevent any spillover when a fluid droplet, e.g., a reagent or cell suspension, is deposited. The moat also keeps fluid from being ‘squished’ and spread out when a when a lid is applied to seal each microwell, avoiding cross-contamination of each experimental condition.

The design enables multiple different reagents/experimental conditions to be tested on the same device using standard pipetting operations. Together, the new features enable easier, more robust, quantitative and massively parallelized single-cell assays for a range of endpoints that can interface with standard pipette equipment.
(Feb 3, 2015) P120353US01

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.
(Jan 27, 2015) P07412US