New Inventions

New Hormone Analogs for Treating Hypoparathyroidism

UW–Madison researchers have developed backbone-modified analogs of PTH(1-34). The analogs exhibit advantageous properties; they are biased toward Gs activation/cAMP production relative to β arrestin recruitment.

The analogs were generated via an unconventional strategy in which the backbone of a natural PTHR-1 agonist was altered, rather than the side-chain complement. More specifically, selected α-amino acid residues were systemically replaced with either β-amino acid residues or with unnatural D-stereoisomer α-amino acid residues.

The researchers have shown that backbone-modification can rapidly identify potent agonists with divergent receptor-state selectivity patterns relative to a prototype peptide.
(Aug 22, 2018) P180053US02

Industrial Furnace With Flameless Combustion and Impingement Flow for Increased Efficiency, Reduced Emissions and Intensified Heat Transfer

An assistant professor of mechanical engineering technology and inventor from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has developed an industrial natural gas furnace and oven design that combines flameless combustion with high velocity impingement gas and air jets directed toward the product being heated. This novel combination has the potential to provide advantages over conventional technology that include higher energy efficiency, uniform temperature distribution, reduced NOx emissions, and intensified convection heat transfer. The design also has the potential to increase productivity by allowing more material to be processed within the same combustion area. This innovative system can be used for production of new furnaces as well as retrofitting existing installations.
(Aug 3, 2018) T170023US01

Soybeans with Increased Resistance to Sclerotinia Stem Rot and Drought Tolerance

UW–Madison researchers have demonstrated that knocking down expression of a specific soybean respiratory burst oxidase homolog protein (GmRBOH-VI) leads to enhanced resistance to S. sclerotiorum and confers drought tolerance.

Using protein sequence similarity searches, the researchers identified seventeen GmRBOHs and studied their contribution to Sclerotinia disease development, drought tolerance and nodulation. Transcript analysis of all seventeen GmRBOHs revealed that out of the six identified groups, group VI (GmRBOH-VI) was specifically and drastically induced following S. sclerotiorum challenge. Virus-induced gene silencing of GMRBOH-VI resulted in enhanced resistance to the fungus and, coincidently, drought stress.

Based on these discoveries, the researchers have developed modified soybeans and production methods available for licensing.
(Jul 31, 2018) P170294US03

Modified Newton’s Cradle Demonstrating Mechanical Impedance

A Physics professor and inventor at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater has developed a modified Newton’s Cradle that allows the user to visualize and test the concept of mechanical impedance in addition to momentum and energy conservation. The traditional version of Newton’s cradle has a cradle of identical metal spheres. In this modified and improved device, the user is able to interchange these spheres with ones of varying mass and material composition. By allowing the user to strategically align and create a unique cradle, they have the opportunity to visualize mechanical impedance. For example, a sphere with a small mass would have the ability to strike the cradle and lift a sphere of greater mass on the opposite side if the spheres in-between had a gradient of increasing mass themselves. The possibility of changing a sphere at any position in the cradle allows for an exceptionally large number of possible experiments and would overall lead to an enhanced understanding of the aforementioned physics concepts, something a traditional cradle device does not provide for.
(May 16, 2018) T170047US02

Novel Transparent Dilatant Materials Comprised of Single Chemical Component

Research from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point has resulted in the synthesis of a series of materials exhibiting a range of dilatant properties. The materials show good transparency and are chemically uniform (e.g. consisting of a single chemical component). The degree of dilatancy is easily controlled by adjusting the compositions of the materials. Due to the range of dilatant properties, good transparency, and single chemical component nature of the dilatant samples, these materials show significant promise for novel uses in protective equipment and other areas related to impact protection, especially where transparency is desirable.
(May 7, 2018) T170056WO01

Device to Monitor Airborne Silica for Enhanced Occupational Safety

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire have designed a new device to rapidly quantify breathable, airborne silica. This device uses a novel adaption of a technique previously used almost exclusively for water quality analysis. To achieve this, it collects ambient air and uses specialized components to purify the air and collect particles of interest into an aqueous solution. Silica particles in solution then undergo chemical processes to create an acid that is subsequently bound to a light-emitting (chemiluminescent) molecule that can be detected and measured by light-sensitive electronics. This chemiluminescence-based strategy is simpler and likely more sensitive than a potential alternative strategy of absorbance, which is more cumbersome because it requires multiple components to provide a light source, reference cell, and a light detector. The current design of this device can fit comfortably on a table top for portability, and employers can use it without specialized laboratory experience. Preliminary studies suggest that this new device has a silica particle detection limit of approximately 20 µg/m3, appropriate for use towards compliance with the new OSHA personal exposure limit of 50 µg/m3. In addition, preliminary work also indicates that the device can make measurements in as quickly as 20 minutes, making it a much faster complement to the current analysis standards that take days to weeks. Overall, this new airborne silica detection device is a compelling answer to the challenge of rapidly and cost-effectively detecting life-threatening contaminants in occupational air environments.
(Apr 9, 2018) T180036US01

Designing Programmable Inducible Promoters for Biosensor Applications

UW–Madison researchers have developed a method for de novo design of synthetic inducible promoters for transcription factors and other DNA binding proteins such as aTFs with tunable dynamic range behavior and compatibility with virtually any host organism.

The method can include selecting inducible promoters, for example, by converting a constitutive promoter of an organism into an inducible promoter by introducing binding sites near the RNA polymerase binding site. By controlling the access of a transcription factor and the RNA polymerase to the promoter, the dynamic range of the system can be controlled.
(Apr 4, 2018) P170081US02

Nylon-3 Polymers to Treat Fungal Infections

UW–Madison researchers have found that nylon-3 polymers developed in their lab display potent antifungal activity against a broad spectrum of common fungal pathogens, with minimal toxicity towards mammalian cells. The polymers have some activity alone, and when used in combination with existing drugs provide synergistic effects against Candida albicans, Cryptococcus neoformans and Aspergillus fumigatus strains, including some resistant strains.

Synergistic combination offers efficacy with significantly reduced amounts of drug and corresponding toxicity, which could potentially expand the relevant patient population.

The polymers were designed to resemble host-defense peptides (HDPs), which are natural molecules that exhibit antimicrobial activities.
(Dec 21, 2017) P170021US02

Creating ‘Designer’ Yeast Hybrids for Brewing and More

UW–Madison researchers have developed HyPr, a simple and efficient method for generating synthetic Saccharomyces hybrids without sporulation or modification of the nuclear genome.

Specifically, using the new method, induction of HO endonuclease expression by a promoter in two diploid cultures, followed by co-culture and subsequent double-drug selection, will produce hybrids at a rate approaching 1 out of 1,000 cells plated. Plasmids can then be easily cured or spontaneously lost to produce strains without genome modifications.

The resulting strains can be rapidly screened for plasmid loss, opening an efficient route towards meeting the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) standards of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and FDA.
(Nov 7, 2017) P160107US03

Analogs of Diptoindonesin G for Breast Cancer Drug Development

UW–Madison researchers have synthesized analogs of Dip G that have shown a greater ability than the parent molecule to decrease ERα expression and stabilize ERβ in cultured breast cancer cells. The compounds are active for ameliorating, attenuating and halting the growth/metastasis of breast cancers.
(Aug 29, 2017) P170010US02