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July 01, 2016

June 2016 patents

Solid-state quantum memory, engineered TALEs, synthesis of tetracyclines, treatment of head and neck cancer, and more

Harvard faculty David Weitz, Jon Clardy, David Liu, Philip Demokritou, Mikhail Lukin, Andy Myers, David Mooney, and James Chou are among the inventors issued U.S. patents during June 2016.

The innovations recognized are as follows:

Valves and other flow control in fluidic systems including microfluidic systems
U.S. Patent 9,358,539 (June 7, 2016)

Adam R. Abate and David A. Weitz

Abstract: Articles and methods for controlling flow in fluidic Systems, especially in microfluidic Systems, are provided. A microfluidic System includes a configuration such that the actuation of a single valve can allow the switching of fluids from a first fluid path (e.g., a first channel section) to a second fluid path (e.g., a second channel section). This may be achieved by incorporating a valve (38) with a first channel section (24), which may have a lower hydrodynamic resistance than a second channel section (28) prior to actuation of the valve. Actuation of the valve (38) can cause only the hydrodynamic resistance of the first channel section (24) to increase, thereby redirecting fluid flow into the second channel section (28) (which now has a relatively lower hydrodynamic resistance). The valve comprises a control channel (40) for introducing a positive or reduced pressure, and is adapted to modulate fluid flow in an adjacent channel section by constricting or expanding the channel section (24).

Natural product antibiotics and analogs thereof
U.S. Patent 9,359,275 (June 7, 2016)

Paula I. Watnick, Patrick Ymele-Leki, Jon Clardy, and Shugeng Cao

Abstract: Provided herein are pure and isolated natural products and analogs thereof of Formula (I), (II), (III), and (IV), pharmaceutical compositions thereof, and methods of use, for example, for treating a bacterial infection. Further provided are methods useful in identifying an inhibitor of bacterial sugar fermentation in a bacterial strain, such as a compound (inhibitor) of Formula (I), (II), (III), or (IV): [see structural images] or a pharmaceutically acceptable salt thereof.

Engineered transcription activator-like effector (TALE) domains and uses thereof
U.S. Patent 9,359,599 (June 7, 2016)

David R. Liu, John Paul Guilinger, and Vikram Pattanayak

Abstract: Engineered transcriptional activator-like effectors (TALEs) are versatile tools for genome manipulation with applications in research and clinical contexts. One current drawback of TALEs is their tendency to bind and cleave off-target sequence, which hampers their clinical application and renders applications requiring high-fidelity binding unfeasible. This disclosure provides engineered TALE domains and TALEs comprising such engineered domains, e.g., TALE nucleases (TALENs), TALE transcriptional activators, TALE transcriptional repressors, and TALE epigenetic modification enzymes, with improved specificity and methods for generating and using such TALEs.

Methods of measuring effective density of nanoparticle agglomerates dispersed in a liquid using centrifugation
U.S. Patent 9,360,408 (June 7, 2016)

Philip Demokritou, Glen Deloid, and Joel Cohen

Abstract: The invention includes a method of determining the effective density of nanomaterial agglomerates in liquids, such as but not limited to physiological fluids, using volumetric centrifugation. The method of the invention allows for the development of reliable and efficient in vitro dosimetry and methods for toxicological testing of engineered nanomaterials.

Solid-state quantum memory based on a nuclear spin coupled to an electronic spin
U.S. Patent 9,361,962 (June 7, 2016)

Georg Kucsko, Peter Maurer, Liang Jiang, Norman Yao, and Mikhail Lukin

Abstract: A system comprising a solid state lattice containing an electronic spin coupled to a nuclear spin; an optical excitation configuration which is arranged to generate first optical radiation to excite the electronic spin to emit output optical radiation without decoupling the electronic and nuclear spins; wherein the optical excitation configuration is further arranged to generate second optical radiation of higher power than the first optical radiation to decouple the electronic spin from the nuclear spin thereby increasing coherence time of the nuclear spin; a first pulse source configured to generate radio frequency (RF) excitation pulse sequences to manipulate the nuclear spin and to dynamically decouple the nuclear spin from one or more spin impurities in the solid state lattice so as to further increase the coherence time of the nuclear spin; a second pulse source configured to generate microwave excitation pulse sequences to manipulate the electronic spin causing a change in intensity of the output optical radiation correlated with the electronic spin and with the nuclear spin via the coupling between the electronic spin and the nuclear spin; and a detector configured to detect the output optical radiation correlated with the electronic spin and the nuclear spin so as to detect a nuclear spin state of the nuclear spin.

Systems, methods, and devices for frozen sample distribution
U.S. Patent 9,363,991 (June 14, 2016)

Dale Larson, Jeffrey Ruberti, John Slusarz, Nicholas Goulas, Erin Rush, and Trevor Ehret

Abstract: A drilling system including a motor that produces a sonic, linear oscillatory motion is provided for removing a frozen biological sample from a stored frozen specimen and methods of use thereof without thawing the remainder of the specimen. The stator and slider assembly is operated by a servo controller which can communicate and be programmed through a port of a PC equipped with software.

Synthesis of tetracyclines and analogues thereof
U.S. Patent 9,365,493 (June 14, 2016)

Andrew G. Myers, Mark G. Charest, Christian D. Lerner, Jason D. Brubaker, and Dionicio R. Siegel

Abstract: The tetracycline class of antibiotics has played a major role in the treatment of infectious diseases for the past 50 years. However, the increased use of the tetracyclines in human and veterinary medicine has led to resistance among many organisms previously susceptible to tetracycline antibiotics. The modular synthesis of tetracyclines and tetracycline analogs described provides an efficient and enantioselective route to a variety of tetracycline analogs and polycyclines previously inaccessible via earlier tetracycline syntheses and semi-synthetic methods. These analogs may be used as anti-microbial agents or anti-proliferative agents in the treatment of diseases of humans or other animals.

Compositions and methods of treating head and neck cancer
U.S. Patent 9,370,551 (June 21, 2016)

Le Cong, Ann Marie Egloff, Levi A. Garraway, Jennifer Rubin Grandis, Eric S. Lander, Nicholas Stransky, Aaron D. Tward, and Feng Zhang

Abstract: The present invention provides methods related to the treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and its associated premalignant lesions. In particular, the invention features methods which may specifically target HNSCC-associated genes and alter gene expression to treat or alleviate a symptom of HNSCC, or its related premalignant lesions. These methods may involve decreasing the function of an HNSCC-associated gene with aberrant gain-of-function; or increasing the function of an HNSCC-associated gene with aberrant loss-of-function.

Controlled delivery of TLR agonists in structural polymeric devices
U.S. Patent 9,370,558 (June 21, 2016)

Omar Abdel-Rahman Ali, Glenn Dranoff, and David J. Mooney

Abstract: The present invention comprises compositions, methods, and devices for creating an stimulating an antigen-specific dendritic cell immune response. Devices and methods provide prophylactic and therapeutic immunity to subjects against cancer and infectious agents.

Nucleic acid nanotube liquid crystals
U.S. Patent 9,371,552 (June 21, 2016)

William M. Shih, Shawn M. Douglas, and James J. Chou

Abstract: Compositions and methods for preparing nucleic acid nanotubes using DNA origami techniques are described, which provide for nanotubes of predictable and uniform length. The nucleic acid nanotubes thus formed are suitable as liquid crystal preparations enabling liquid-crystal NMR spectroscopy of proteins solubilized in detergent.

Press Contact

Caroline Perry, (617) 495-4157

Press Contact

Caroline Perry
(617) 495-4157