University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Graphene-Based Microfluidic Devices
This invention is the first example where large-area graphene has been harnessed as an architectural material in microfluidic devices. Incorporation of single-layer graphene enables a drastic reduction in device thickness. The resulting ultra-thin architecture facilitates on chip X-ray diffraction analysis. Graphene layers serve as a diffusion barrier to protect sample against evaporative losses and from external contaminants, e.g. such as oxygen for anaerobic work.

 

These devices have tremendous utility for applications in X-ray science, such as X-ray diffraction for structural biology and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) as well as other lab- on- a- chip applications. 

 

Published: 12/21/2017   |   Inventor(s): Sarah Perry, Christos Dimitrakopoulos, Shuo Sui, Yuxi (Nancy) Wang
Category(s): Devices & sensors, Research tools, Devices
Ultra-Compact Carbon Nanotube Sources and Integrated Circuits for Low-Cost Terahertz Spectroscopy and Imaging
Terahertz imaging is becoming an increasingly important non-destructive evaluation method, with biomedical, security, aerospace, and materials characterization applications. Large size and high cost currently limit broad commercial implementation of terahertz imaging and spectroscopy systems.

 

In this invention, a compact, low-cost terahertz source has been developed that may be easily integrated into several common high-frequency circuit designs, such as microstrip and coplanar waveguide.  In operation, the source, palladium or platinum nanowires, is coupled to antennas and subjected to a low voltage, causing the emission of terahertz radiation. The terahertz radiation emitting from the antennas is collimated by a silicon lens, which gives the system a broadcast range of 1-2 m. The required power to generate the radiation is extremely low, on the order of 100 nW. The UMass Terahertz Laboratory has successfully demonstrated the technology in a number of applications, including characterizing RNA flowing through a nanofluidic channel and the crystalline polymer PHB.

Published: 12/14/2017   |   Inventor(s): Sigfrid Yngvesson, Martin Muthee
Category(s): Nanotechnology, Electronics, Research tools
EyeFrame: Real-time domain-general multitasking assistance
Though many paradigms have been developed to study multitasking using eye tracking, most traditional applications of eye tracking are not used in real time, but instead to augment training or simply to observe optimal strategies. As eye tracking methods become more popular, they have been applied in the field of human-computer interaction and usability, as well as human-robot interaction. Recent real-time eye tracking assistance systems have focused on specific domains such as training, evaluation, or basic hypothesis testing in areas such as medical imaging, security, and aviation.

 

EyeFrame successfully addresses the need for domain-general multitasking assistance. EyeFrame allows the user to program sensory cues on a screen display which direct the user’s attention to neglected areas of the screen. These neglected areas are determined from real-time attention data gathered by an input device, such as a mouse or an eye tracker. EyeFrame is an assistive system for managing multiple visual tasks, which is domain-general, transparent, intuitive, non-interfering, non-command, improves control (without replacing direct control), and adaptively extrapolates to a variety of circumstances.

Published: 12/14/2017   |   Inventor(s): Hava Siegelmann, Patrick Taylor
Category(s): Software & information technology, Research tools, Healthcare, Computers
Polymeric Nanocapsules for Efficient Intracellular Delivery of Theraputic Proteins
Designing protein therapeutics is becoming one of the fastest growing strategies to treat a variety of diseases including cancer and diabetes. Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)/Cas9, a bacterially constructed protein-nucleic acid complex has shown great potential to reverse various genetic disorders. The delivery of this complex into the cell and finally the nucleus is challenging, however, due to the large size of the Cas9 protein. This invention provides a general and efficient protein delivery platform that enables the intracellular delivery of therapeutic proteins. The delivery system involves the use of novel synthetic polymers capable of forming nanocapsules spontaneously under controlled conditions.
Published: 6/22/2015   |   Inventor(s): Vincent Rotello, Ryan Landis, Moumita Ray
Category(s): Biotechnology, Life Sciences, Research tools, Healthcare, Therapeutics & prevention
Efficient Cytosolic Delivery of siRNA Using Nanoparticle-Stabilized Nanocapsules
This invention provides a general and efficient protein delivery platform that enables intracellular delivery of proteins having different physiochemical properties. The delivery system involves the use of surface functionalized nanoparticles to form self-assembled superstructures with the protein to be delivered. The nanoparticle-protein assemblies effectively escape endosomal entrapment and rapidly deliver the protein into the cell cytosol or the targeting organelle. This protein delivery system has been successfully demonstrated for the efficient delivery of the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing system as well as a number of other proteins with different physiochemical properties.
Published: 6/19/2015   |   Inventor(s): Vincent Rotello, Ying Jiang, Rui Tang
Category(s): Biotechnology, Life Sciences, Healthcare, Research tools, Therapeutics & prevention
NEW T7 RNA POLYMERASE MUTANTS WITH SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED ABORTIVE PROFILES
RNA is increasingly used as both a research and therapeutic tool to control gene expression. T7 RNA polymerase is the primary enzyme used for in vitro RNA synthesis. One problem that exists in any transcription system is that many initial RNA sequences yield substantial amounts of short, abortive products that complicate both the yield and the purity of the desired in vitro transcript.

 

Researches at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed a new series of T7 RNA polymerase mutants based on mechanistic understandings of the polymerase function. These new mutant forms of T7 RNA polymerase dramatically reduces the yield of undesired (short, abortive) transcripts in transcription. This leads to a higher fraction of transcripts being the desired full-length RNA product.

Published: 6/8/2015   |   Inventor(s): Craig Martin, Luis Ramirez-Tapia
Category(s): Biotechnology, Research tools, Life Sciences, Healthcare
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
An Efficient Intracellular Delivery Vehicle for the CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Editing System and Other Proteins
This invention provides a general and efficient protein delivery platform that enables intracellular delivery of proteins having different physiochemical properties. The delivery system involves the use of surface functionalized nanoparticles to form self-assembled superstructures with the protein to be delivered. The nanoparticle-protein assemblies effectively escape endosomal entrapment and rapidly deliver the protein into the cell cytosol or the targeting organelle. This protein delivery system has been successfully demonstrated for the efficient delivery of the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing system as well as a number of other proteins with different physiochemical properties.
Published: 4/27/2015   |   Inventor(s): Vincent Rotello, Rubul Mout
Category(s): Biotechnology, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Research tools, Nanotechnology, Therapeutics & prevention
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
Optically-Responsive Quantum-Dot-Based Sensors for Rapid Detection and Quantitation of Bioanalytes
This platform technology employs a new class of nanoscale fluorescent biosensors with rapid and quantifiable responses to the binding of target bioanalytes. Each biosensor consists of a semiconductor nanocrystal (quantum dot) tethered to a biomolecular probe via a stabilizing linker. The binding of the biomolecular probe to its intended target bioanalyte causes a change in the fluorescence emission intensity of the quantum dot, enabling instantaneous sensing of the presence of the bioanalyte. Quantitative analysis of the bioanalyte can be readily performed by using simple dose-response assays.
Published: 1/26/2015   |   Inventor(s): Triantafillos Mountziaris, Jun Wang
Category(s): Biotechnology, Research tools, Devices & sensors
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