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February 03, 2016

January 2016 patents

Enhancing cognitive performance, measuring bending curvature, treating filoviridae infections, controlling emulsions, and more

Harvard faculty David Liu, Robert Wood, Joanna Aizenberg, Ulrich von Andrian, Sean Whelan, David Weitz, Gokhan Hotamisligil, David Sinclair, and Federico Capasso are among the inventors issued U.S. patents during January 2016. The patents are as follows:

Modulation of BCL11A for treatment of hemoglobinopathies
U.S. Patent 9,228,185 (January 5, 2016)

Stuart H. Orkin and Vijay G. Sankaran

Abstract: The invention relates to methods and uses of modulating fetal hemoglobin expression (HbF) in a hematopoietic progenitor cells via inhibitors of BCL11A expression or activity, such as RNAi and antibodies.

Switchable gRNAs comprising aptamers
U.S. Patent 9,228,207 (January 5, 2016)

David R. Liu and Johnny Hao Hu

Abstract: Some aspects of this disclosure provide compositions, methods, systems, and kits for controlling the activity and/or improving the specificity of RNA-programmable endonucleases, such as Cas9. For example, provided are guide RNAs (gRNAs) that are engineered to exist in an "on" or "off" state, which control the binding and hence cleavage activity of RNA-programmable endonucleases.

Non-differential elastomer curvature sensor
U.S. Patent 9,228,822 (January 5, 2016)

Carmel Majidi, Rebecca K. Kramer, and Robert J. Wood

Abstract: A hyperelastic, soft microfluidic film measures bending curvature using a novel non-differential mechanism. Disclosed embodiments of the elastomer-based solution allows for curvature sensing directly on a bending plane and thus eliminates limitations imposed by strain gauge factor (GF) and sensor thickness (Z). Due to soft lithography microfabrication and design methods the disclosed curvature sensors are elastically soft (modulus 0.1-1 MPa) and stretchable (100-1000% strain). In contrast to existing curvature sensors that measure differential strain, embodiments of the present invention measures curvature directly and allows for arbitrary gauge factor and film thickness. Moreover, the sensor is composed entirely of soft elastomer (PDMS or Ecoflex® and conductive liquid (eutectic gallium indium, (eGaIn)) and thus remains functional even when stretched to several times its natural length. Electrical resistance in the embedded eGaIn microchannel is measured as a function of bending curvature for a variety of sensor designs.

Environmentally responsive optical microstructured hybrid actuator assemblies and applications thereof
U.S. Patent 9,229,218 (January 5, 2016)

Joanna Aizenberg, Michael Aizenberg, and Philseok Kim

Abstract: Microstructured hybrid actuator assemblies in which microactuators carrying designed surface properties to be revealed upon actuation are embedded in a layer of responsive materials. The microactuators in a microactuator array reversibly change their configuration in response to a change in the environment without requiring an external power source to switch their optical properties.

Adjuvant incorporation in immunonanotherapeutics
U.S. Patent 9,233,072 (January 12, 2016)

Frank Alexis, Matteo Iannacone, Jinjun Shi, Pamela Basto, Elliott Ashley Moseman, Ulrich von Andrian, Robert S. Langer, Omid C. Farokhzad, and Elena Tonti

Abstract: The present invention provides compositions and systems for delivery of nanocarriers to cells of the immune system. The invention provides nanocarriers capable of stimulating an immune response in T cells and/or in B cells. The invention provides nanocarriers that comprise an immunofeature surface and an immunostimulatory moiety. In some embodiments, the immunostimulatory moiety is an adjuvant. The invention provides pharmaceutical compositions comprising inventive nanocarriers. The present invention provides methods of designing, manufacturing, and using inventive nanocarriers and pharmaceutical compositions thereof.

Bacterial spore based energy system
U.S. Patent 9,234,508 (January 12, 2016)

Ozgur Sahin

Abstract: A method and system for providing an engine for producing mechanical energy through the absorption and evaporation of moisture uses a hygroscopic material in one or more configurations to do mechanical work. The hygroscopic material can include microbial spores, plant cells and cell materials, silk and hydrogel materials that absorb moisture and expand or swell when exposed to high relative humidity environments and shrink or return to nearly their original size or shape when exposed to low relative humidity environments wherein the moisture evaporates and is released. By exposing the hygroscopic material to a cycle of high relative humidity environments and low relative humidity environments, useful work can be done. One or more transmission elements can be used to couple the hygroscopic material to a generator that converts the mechanical energy to, for example, electrical energy. The hygroscopic material can be applied to flexible sheet materials that flex as the hygroscopic material absorbs or evaporates moisture. The hygroscopic material can also be applied to elastic conductive materials, such that the plates of a capacitor mechanically change the capacitance of the device.

Methods and assays for treating filoviridae infections
U.S. Patent 9,234,885 (January 12, 2016)

Kartik Chandran, Sean Whelan, Thijn Brummelkamp, Jan Carette, and Matthijs Raaben

Abstract: Methods and assays for treating a subject with a filovirus infection using an agent that inhibits Niemann-Pick CI (NPCI), VPSII, VPSI6, VPSI8, VPS33A, VPS39, VPS41, BLOCISI, BLOCIS2, GNPTAB, PIKFYVE, ARHGAP23 or FIG4. Methods for screening for an agent that treats and/or prevents infection of a subject with a filovirus, where the methods comprise determining whether the agent inhibits one or more of Niemann-Pick CI (NPCI), VPSII, VPSI6, VPSI8, VPS33A, VPS39, VPS41. BLOCISI, BLOCIS2, GNPTAB, PIKFYVE, ARHGAP23 or FIG4, wherein an agent that inhibits one or more of NPCI, VPSII, VPSI6, VPSI8, VPS33A, VPS39, VPS41, BLOCISI, BLOCIS2, GNPTAB, PIKFYVE, ARHGAP23 or FIG4 is a candidate for treating and/or preventing an infection with a filovirus and wherein an agent that does not inhibit NPCI, VPSII, VPSI6, VPSI8, VPS33A. VPS39, VPS41, BLOCISI, BLOCIS2, GNPTAB, PIKFYVE, ARHGAP23 or FIG4 is not a candidate for treating and/or preventing an infection with a filovirus.

Control of emulsions, including multiple emulsions
U.S. Patent 9,238,206 (January 19, 2016)

Assaf Rotem, David A. Weitz, Adam R. Abate, and Christian Holtze

Abstract: The present invention generally relates to emulsions, and more particularly, to double and other multiple emulsions. Certain aspects of the present invention are generally directed to the creation of double emulsions and other multiple emulsions at a common junction of microfluidic channels. In some cases, the microfluidic channels at the common junction may have substantially the same hydrophobicity. In one set of embodiments, a device may include a common junction of six or more channels, where a first fluid flows through one channel, a second fluid flows through two channels, and a third or carrying fluid flows through two more channels, such that a double emulsion of a first droplet of the first fluid, contained in a second droplet of the second fluid, contained by the carrying fluid, flows away from the common junction through a sixth channel.

Fatty acid C16: 1N7-palmitoleate a lipokine and biomarker for metabolic status
U.S. Patent 9,239,334 (January 19, 2016)

Haiming Cao and Gokhan Hotamisligil

Abstract: The present invention provides for a novel lipokine, C16:1n7-palmitoleate, which also serves as a biomarker for metabolic status. More specifically, a low concentration of C16:1n7-palmitoleate in the free fatty acid component of the serum indicates a risk of metabolic disease, and that de novo lipogenesis should be stimulated. Additionally, administering C16:1n7-palmitoleate to a subject (via nutraceutical or other means), positively impacts lipid metabolism.

Cognitive performance with sirtuin activators
U.S. Patent 9,241,916 (January 26, 2016)

David A. Sinclair, Li-Huei Tsai, and Andre Fischer

Abstract: Provided herein are methods and compositions for enhancing the cognitive performance of a subject in need thereof. A method may include administering to a subject an agent that increases the level of protein or activity of a sirtuin, such as SIRT1.

Macrocyclic insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE) inhibitors and uses thereof
U.S. Patent 9,243,038 (January 26, 2016)

David R. Liu, Juan Pablo Maianti, Alan Saghatelian, and Ralph E. Kleiner

Abstract: Macrocyclic compounds that specifically inhibit insulin degrading enzyme (IDE) are provided. Pharmaceutically acceptable salts, solvates, hydrates, stereoisomers, polymorphs, tautomers, isotopically enriched forms, and prodrugs of the macrocyclic IDE inhibitors are also described. Pharmaceutical compositions are also provided. In vivo and in vitro methods of using the IDE inhibitor, and pharmaceutical compositions comprising the IDE inhibitor, for example, for the inhibition of IDE in a subject exhibiting aberrant IDE activity, impaired insulin signaling, or insulin resistance, for example, a subject having diabetes, are also provided.

Wavelength beam combining of quantum cascade laser arrays
U.S. Patent 9,246,310 (January 26, 2016)

Anish Goyal, Benjamin G. Lee, Christian Pfluegl, Laurent Diehl, Mikhail Belkin, Antonio Sanchez-Rubio, and Federico Capasso

Abstract: A laser source based on a quantum cascade laser array (QCL), wherein the outputs of at least two elements in the array are collimated and overlapped in the far field using an external diffraction grating and a transform lens.

Press Contact

Caroline Perry, (617) 495-4157

Press Contact

Caroline Perry
(617) 495-4157