New Patents

Bio-Based Production of Non-Straight-Chain and Oxygenated Fatty Acids for Fuels and More

UW–Madison researchers have identified several enzymes in the bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides that can be purified to produce non-straight-chain fatty acids in vitro or expressed in genetically modified microorganisms including E. coli for synthesis in vivo. Strains may be ‘fine-tuned’ to produce a specific type of non-straight-chain fatty acid (e.g., furan-containing) by expressing, overexpressing or deleting the enzymes in various combinations.
(Apr 30, 2019) P140318US02

“Green” Triboelectric Power Boards Turn Footsteps into Electricity and More

UW–Madison researchers have developed the first TENG device built entirely from biodegradable and green materials. The two active layers comprise cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs) or wood fibers chemically treated to alter their electron affinity. CNFs and wood fibers are ideal because they have high surface areas, can be functionalized with a variety of chemical groups and can be formed into flexible and optically transparent films.
(Apr 30, 2019) P160323US01

Enhancing Cell Penetration to Improve Drug Delivery

UW–Madison researchers have developed a method for enhancing cellular uptake of a cargo molecule by covalently bonding fluorenyl groups to it. The fluorenylated molecule is then contacted with the cell or tissue. Cellular uptake may be in vivo or in vitro and includes at least partial penetration into the cytosol.
(Apr 16, 2019) P150031US02

Adapted Rhinovirus C for Maximum Virus Yield

Building on their work, the researchers have now developed a mutated RV-C strain that induces strong cytopathic effect and replicates vigorously in the HeLa-E8 cells, yielding more than a log higher level of infectious rhinovirus particles compared to the parental clinical isolate.
(Apr 9, 2019) P160050US02

Indoor Navigation System for Mobile Devices

UW–Madison researchers have developed an indoor navigation system using a mobile device equipped with two photodetectors. The system is able to determine the angular position of different light fixtures while avoiding the limitations in bandwidth and sensitivity associated with standard camera detectors. It is suitable for facilities with high ceilings more than three or four meters above the floor

Specifically, the new method can be illustrated in three steps: (i) identify multiple light source signals within the field-of-view according to known light source signatures; (ii) determine the angles of the multiple light sources; and (iii) identify the location of the mobile device based on the angle of the multiple light sources and a known mapping of light sources to locations.
(Apr 2, 2019) P170079US01

Induction-Type Electrostatic Machine Improves Torque Profile, Design Flexibility

UW–Madison researchers have developed a versatile new design for large-scale electrostatic machines. The new design simplifies manufacturing by eliminating plates in favor of interdigitated pegs immersed in dielectric fluid. Concentric conducting ‘sleeves’ fit around/in between the rows of pegs and are used to shape the electrostatic field, reduce drag and improve torque characteristics and mechanical strength. Unlike conventional designs, torque is produced from electrostatic induction.
(Mar 26, 2019) P150323US01

Enhanced Drug Delivery Across the Blood-Brain Barrier: pH-Dependent Antibodies Targeting the Transferrin Receptor

UW–Madison researchers have developed several new single-chain antibody fragments to the transferrin receptor which exhibit increased dissociation at pH 5.5. Such targeting antibodies could have immense potential for drug delivery into and across target cells including cancer cells and the BBB.

Unlike other anti-TfR antibodies in development for cancer or brain delivery, the new antibodies have been endowed with pH-sensitivity resulting in differential trafficking and increased intracellular accumulation up to 2.6 times their wild-type parent.
(Mar 19, 2019) P150370US02

Zip-Lignin™ Assay: An Analysis and Validation Tool

The researchers have now developed the most sensitive assay to date for detecting and quantifying Zip-lignin monomers in plants. They modified an existing lignin assay known as DFRC (Derivatization Followed by Reductive Cleavage) that has been in use for almost a decade. They incorporated several new features to improve the sensitivity of the assay, including extended incubation periods and an additional purification step.

The modified DFRC assay is currently the only known technique capable of determining levels of monolignol ester conjugates in plant lignin.
(Mar 12, 2019) P150118US02

Enhanced Biomass Digestion with Wood Wasp Bacteria

UW–Madison researchers have derived preparations from ActE secretions that highly degrade lignocellulose. The bacteria can be obtained from Sirex noctilio wasps and grown on a substrate containing mostly cellulose, hemicelluloses, xylan, wood or non-wood biomass, and chitin. The substrate may be pretreated for better results. The ActE are grown aerobically to maximize the secretion of both oxidative and hydrolytic enzymes capable of rapid deconstruction of matter. The secretions can be purified and added directly to biomass slurry.
(Feb 26, 2019) P110314US03

Invertebrate Models for Studying Traumatic Brain Injury

UW–Madison researchers have developed a method for inflicting closed head TBI in invertebrates. The method can be used to screen candidate therapeutic agents for treating TBI.

Specifically, the researchers created a device that mechanically induces TBI in organisms such as Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies), which respond to impact trauma in many of the same ways as humans. Subjecting these organisms to a controlled impact and dosing with test agents could help identify the biological pathways associated with the consequences of TBI as well as enable screens for therapeutic compounds.

The device consists of a spring attached to a vial containing up to 100 flies. The spring is pulled back and then released, striking the vial against a rubber pad to inflict brain trauma as the flies collide with the bottom and walls of the vial. The device can be adjusted to inflict injury at differing severities.
(Feb 19, 2019) P130267US02