WARF: P110325US01

Patch Clamp Providing On-Chip Thermal Control


Robert Blick

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing methods for fabricating patch clamps with a component that enables precise and rapid temperature control of cell membranes.
OVERVIEWApproximately half of all diseases affect the function of ion channels in cell membranes. Testing the flow of ions and molecules through these membranes clearly is vital to drug discovery and research. Patch clamping is a well-known technique that uses micromachined chips or plates to seal in cell membranes and measure small electrical changes as ion concentrations vary.

For temperature-based experiments, the fluid bath surrounding the cell membranes can be heated. However, this process may be inexact and cause delay.
THE INVENTIONA UW–Madison researcher has developed a patch clamp chip providing precise, localized temperature control of cell membranes.

The chip’s temperature system uses a Peltier device, which is capable of heating or cooling depending on the direction of current flow. It is a semiconducting membrane and can be etched on a silicon wafer, separated and then bonded to the substrate of the patch clamp. Using techniques previously developed by the researcher, the sandwiched structure is exposed to laser radiation to drill a nanoscale pore.
  • The increasing demand for high throughput cellular assays continues to generate market growth.
  • Large pharmaceutical companies continually are increasing investment in high throughput patch clamping for drug discovery and safety testing, which will expand the market.
  • Temperature-controlled patch clamp plates for electrophysiology
  • High throughput drug screening
  • More precise temperature control
  • Rapid heating or cooling response
  • Supports wider range of possible experiments
  • Thermal component is readily wafer bonded.
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Jennifer Gottwald at or 608-960-9854.
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Since its founding in 1925 as the patenting and licensing organization for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, WARF has been working with business and industry to transform university research into products that benefit society. WARF intellectual property managers and licensing staff members are leaders in the field of university-based technology transfer. They are familiar with the intricacies of patenting, have worked with researchers in relevant disciplines, understand industries and markets, and have negotiated innovative licensing strategies to meet the individual needs of business clients.