University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Prosthetic Fitment System
An ill-fitting prosthesis can result in discomfort and can compromise mobility and performance. Therefore, there is a strong need for innovative diagnostic tools for quantifying the socket-limb interface during the fitment process. Scientists at UMass Amherst have developed a prosthetic socket fitment tool which applies recently-available high-precision line-of-sight ultrasound transceivers and intuitive visualization software to provide a quantifiable internal measurement of the residual limb and bone movement to a prosthetist during the fitment process. This tool will inform the positioning of socket components to ensure a comfortable fit for the patient.
Published: 9/15/2016   |   Inventor(s): Frank Sup, Andrew Lapre, Michael White
Category(s): Devices, Diagnostic technology, Healthcare, Engineering
Silver Nanoparticles Detection and Analysis in Complex Matrices
Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are the most commonly used nanoparticles in many consumer products and related matrices. Given the wide application and formation of AgNPs, the environmental and biological fate and toxicity of the AgNPs needs to investigated comprehensively, including if AgNPs transfer through different trophic levels and impact food chains. This invention was developed by combining hydrophobization-mediated extraction with unique capability of Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS).
Published: 9/13/2016   |   Inventor(s): Lili He, Baoshan Xing, Huiyuan Guo
Category(s): Devices, Diagnostic technology, Environmental, Healthcare, Engineering, Nanotechnology
Baterial Detection Platform
This invention invention is a bacterial detection platform integrating sensitive surface-enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) capabilities and advanced mapping technique that generates detailed chemical images based on a sample’s Raman spectrum. The identification is based on the fingerprint of the bacterial SERS spectra.  The quantification of the cells will be based on the mapping technique
Published: 9/13/2016   |   Inventor(s): Lili He
Category(s): Diagnostic technology, Food technology & plant science, Environmental, Healthcare, Nanotechnology
Economical Surface Treatment for Harvesting Epithelial Cells from Biological Fluids
This invention provides economical, bio-interactive surfaces and surface treatment methods for selective capture of targeted epithelial cells or other cell types from cell mixtures or complex biological fluids. Preparation or fabrication of the engineered surfaces provided by this technology does not require the use of expensive and unstable biomolecular materials, and the resulting surfaces can distinguish different cell types or cells that express different levels of the same surface adhesion marker. Such engineered surfaces can be used as economical tools for assessment of cancer risk, cancer diagnosis, and tracking of the effectiveness of cancer treatments, among other potential applications.
Published: 6/3/2015   |   Inventor(s): Maria Santore, Kathleen Arcaro, Surachate Kalasin
Category(s): Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, Diagnostic technology, Devices & sensors, Life Sciences, Healthcare, Research tools
A New Class of Nanopore Sensors for Rapid Detection of Bioanalytes
Protein nanopores have been used to detect small molecule analytes by monitoring changes in ionic current upon analyte binding in the nanopore lumen. The fixed inner diameter of the nanopore lumen, however, presents challenges for detection of proteins and other large bioanalytes. This invention provides a new class of protein nanopore sensors capable of detecting large bioanalytes without the need for such bioanalytes to enter the nanopore lumen. The nanopore is genetically engineered or chemically modified to contain a target-binding ligand in a flexible loop region at one end of the nanopore lumen. The dynamic movement of the flexible loop creates a distinct grating pattern when ionic current passes through the nanopore lumen. The nanopore-target analyte Interactions outside the pore lumen result in an instantaneous change in the gating pattern of the flexible loop, enabling rapid detection of the target analyte. This invention not only provides the ability to distinguish between protein homologues within an analyte mixture but also allows for the detection of target proteins in the presence of serum.
Published: 4/22/2015   |   Inventor(s): Min Chen, Christina Chisholm, Monifa Fahie
Category(s): Devices & sensors, Biotechnology, Healthcare, Diagnostic technology, Life Sciences, Research tools
Cavitation Rheology for Measuring Local Mechanical Properties in Biologically Relevant Soft Materials
Measuring the mechanical properties of a complex biological tissue is crucial to developing knowledge about its physiology. Determining these physical properties in vivo is essential to innovation in tissue engineering, as well as to investigating the effects of aging and disease. Due to the heterogeneous structure of complex tissues, localized testing is necessary since probing surface properties only provides an incomplete picture of a tissue’s mechanical properties. Cavitation Rheology Technique (CRT), a novel methodology that originated in Dr. Alfred J. Crosby’s lab, succeeds where traditional techniques fall short. CRT involves measuring the pressure to induce cavitation at the tip of a needle within a soft material. This pressure is quantitatively related to the local modulus of the material. This allows for localized testing of non-transparent materials and tissues. Furthermore, CRT adopts a simple device and system design and requires only minimal amounts of sample material and testing time. This technique has been successfully demonstrated in a broad range of synthetic hydrogels and natural tissues, and can be applied in vivo.
Published: 12/1/2014   |   Inventor(s): Alfred Crosby, Jessica Zimberlin
Category(s): Biotechnology, Healthcare, Devices & sensors, Devices, Diagnostic technology, Material science
Compositions and Methods for Modulating Hedgehog Signaling
Mis-regulation of Hedgehog (Hh) signaling is implicated in a large number of human diseases such as skin cancer and brain cancer, as well as in a number of relatively common birth defects. In addition, Hh signaling plays a major role in regulating stem cell proliferation and growth in adults. The current invention provides new genetic tools for understanding Hh signaling in living vertebrate embryos and adults. These tools include proprietary hedgehog-pathway transgenic zebrafish lines that allow inducible activation, inactivation, and monitoring of Hh signaling within responding cells at any time in the life cycle of this vertebrate species. In addition to the temporal manipulation of Hh signaling, regulation of Hh signaling can also be controlled spatially within the whole organism through the use of a local heatshock device.
Published: 11/19/2014   |   Inventor(s): Rolf Karlstrom
Category(s): Life Sciences, Research tools, Diagnostic technology
A team of innovative polymer scientists lead by Dr. Gregory N. Tew at University of Massachusetts Amherst has designed and developed a new class of synthetic polymers, called protein transduction domain mimics (PTDMs), for applications in pharmaceutical delivery and disease diagnosis. These novel polymers are synthetic mimics of protein transduction domains (PTDs), and are designed to mimic and improve the biological activity of PTDs. They can be readily synthesized and transport across lipid bilayers with efficiencies significantly better than their natural peptide analogs. Their rich chemical diversity and structural tunability allow for highly efficient delivery of many different cargos, such as DNA, siRNA and proteins, into a variety of cells.
Published: 5/13/2013   |   Inventor(s): Gregory Tew, Gregory Gabriel, Abhigyan Som, Arife ozgul Tezgel
Category(s): Diagnostic technology, Healthcare, Biotechnology, Therapeutics & prevention, Life Sciences, Research tools