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April 02, 2018

March 2018 patents

Innovations in surgical robotics, gas spectroscopy, genome engineering, treatments for tuberculosis, compartmentalized chemistry, information storage in nucleic acids, and more

Harvard faculty John Doyle, Francis D. Moore, Jr., George Church, Wesley Wong, David Weitz, Darren Higgins, Michael Starnbach, Alfred Goldberg, and Eric Rubin are among the inventors issued U.S. patents in March 2018.

The innovations recognized are as follows:

Soft retractors
U.S. Patent 9,907,545 (March 6, 2018)

Kevin C. Galloway and Joshua Aaron Lessing

Abstract: A soft material retractor includes at least two soft actuators, each actuator having at least one pressurizable interior space, wherein the actuator has a first flexible resting state and a second stiffer pressurized state; and a flexible sheet spanning the actuators such that the actuators can be spaced apart from each other by a distance selected to displace a volume of material of a body cavity. The retractor can be uses for holding open wounds or incisions, with trochars, or to displace anatomical features such as organs within a body cavity.

Buffer gas cooling and mixture analysis
U.S. Patent 9,909,998 (March 6, 2018)

David S. Patterson and John M. Doyle

Abstract: An apparatus for spectroscopy of a gas mixture is described. Such an apparatus includes a gas mixing system configured to mix a hot analyte gas that includes at least one analyte species in a gas phase into a cold buffer gas, thereby forming a supersaturated mixture to be provided for spectroscopic analysis.

Natural IGM antibodies and inhibitors thereof
U.S. Patent 9,914,751 (March 13, 2018)

Michael C. Carroll, Francis D. Moore, Jr., and Herbert B. Hechtman

Abstract: The invention provides natural IgM antibody inhibitors that may be used to treat various inflammatory diseases or disorders.

Genome engineering
U.S. Patent 9,914,939 (March 13, 2018)

George M. Church, Luhan Yang, Marc Guell, and Joyce Lichi Yang

Abstract: Methods of genome engineering in cells using a TALEN lacking repeat sequences or Cas9 is provided.

Nucleic acid-based linkers for detecting and measuring interactions
U.S. Patent 9,914,958 (March 13, 2018)

Wesley Philip Wong and Kenneth Anders Halvorsen

Abstract: The invention provides compositions comprising nucleic acid complexes for use in monitoring binding interactions and in measuring association and/or dissociation kinetics with or without force, detecting analytes, screening aptamers, and encoding/encrypting information. In some instances, the nucleic acid complexes are double-stranded nicked nucleic acids comprising a scaffold nucleic acid hybridized to one or more oligonucleotides. In some instances, a first and/or a second oligonucleotide are linked to moieties that are known to interact with each other or which are suspected of interacting with each other.

Spatial sequencing of nucleic acids using DNA origami probes
U.S. Patent 9,914,967 (March 13, 2018)

George M. Church, Richard C. Terry, and Frederic Vigneault

Abstract: A method of sequencing nucleic acids by probe hybridization and/or ligation is provided using DNA origami as a barcode for a nucleic acid probe.

In vitro evolution in microfluidic systems
U.S. Patent 9,919,277 (March 20, 2018)

Andrew David Griffiths, David A. Weitz, Darren Roy Link, Keunho Ahn, and Jerome Bibette

Abstract: The invention describes a method for isolating one or more genetic elements encoding a gene product having a desired activity, comprising the steps of: (a) compartmentalising genetic elements into microcapsules; and (b) sorting the genetic elements which express the gene product having the desired activity; wherein at least one step is under microfluidic control. The invention enables the in vitro evolution of nucleic acids and proteins by repeated mutagenesis and iterative applications of the method of the invention.

Compositions for and methods of identifying antigens
U.S. Patent 9,920,314 (March 20, 2018)

Darren E. Higgins, Michael N. Starnbach, Todd Gierahn, and Nadia R. Roan

Abstract: Replicable libraries having discrete members in defined locations for screening for antigens to a pathogenic organism are provided. Also provided are methods for using such libraries as well as a specific antigen, CT788, which induces T-cell activation during a Chlamydia infection.

Treatments for Mycobacterium tuberculosis
U.S. Patent 9,925,251 (March 27, 2018)

Tatos Akopian, Olga Kandror, Alfred Lewis Goldberg, Ravikiran M. Raju, Meera Unnikrishnan, and Eric J. Rubin

Abstract: The technology described herein relates to treatments for tuberculosis which target the ClpP1P2 protease complex, including ClpC1. Further embodiments relate to assays and screens for modulators of the ClpP1P2 protease complex, including ClpC1.

In vitro evolution in microfluidic systems
U.S. Patent 9,925,501 (March 27, 2018)

Andrew David Griffiths, David A. Weitz, Darren R. Link, Keunho Ahn, and Jerome Bibette

Abstract: The invention describes a method for isolating one or more genetic elements encoding a gene product having a desired activity, comprising the steps of: (a) compartmentalising genetic elements into microcapsules; and (b) sorting the genetic elements which express the gene product having the desired activity; wherein at least one step is under microfluidic control. The invention enables the in vitro evolution of nucleic acids and proteins by repeated mutagenesis and iterative applications of the method of the invention.

Compartmentalised combinatorial chemistry by microfluidic control
U.S. Patent 9,925,504 (March 27, 2018)

Andrew Griffiths, David Weitz, Keunho Ahn, Darren Link, and Jerome Bibette

Abstract: The invention describes a method for the synthesis of compounds comprising the steps of: (a) compartmentalizing two or more sets of primary compounds into microcapsules; such that a proportion of the microcapsules contains two or more compounds; and (b) forming secondary compounds in the microcapsules by chemical reactions between primary compounds from different sets; wherein one or both of steps (a) and (b) is performed under microfluidic control; preferably electronic microfluidic control The invention further allows for the identification of compounds which bind to a target component of a biochemical system or modulate the activity of the target, and which is co-compartmentalized into the microcapsules.

Methods, apparatus and systems for production, collection, handling, and imaging of tissue sections
U.S. Patent 9,927,327 (March 27, 2018)

Kenneth Jeffrey Hayworth and Amy Au Hayworth

Abstract: Methods, apparatus and systems for collecting thin tissue samples for imaging. Thin tissue sections may be cut from tissue samples using a microtome-quality knife. In one example, tissue samples are mounted to a substrate that is rotated such that thin tissue sections are acquired via lathing. Collection of thin tissue sections may be facilitated by a conveyor belt. Thin tissue sections may be mounted to a thin substrate (e.g., by adhering thin tissue sections to a thin substrate via a roller mechanism) that may be imaged, for example, by an electron beam (e.g., in an electron microscope). Thin tissue sections may be strengthened before cutting via a blockface thinfilm deposition technique and/or a blockface taping technique. An automated reel-to-reel imaging technique may be employed for collected/mounted tissue sections to facilitate random-access imaging of tissue sections and maintaining a comprehensive library including a large volume of samples.

Methods for retrievable information storage using nucleic acids
U.S. Patent 9,928,869 (March 27, 2018)

George M. Church

Abstract: A method of storing information using monomers such as nucleotides is provided including converting a format of information into a plurality of bit sequences of a bit stream with each having a corresponding bit barcode, converting the plurality of bit sequences to a plurality of corresponding oligonucleotide sequences using one bit per base encoding, synthesizing the plurality of corresponding oligonucleotide sequences on a substrate having a plurality of reaction locations, and storing the synthesized plurality of corresponding oligonucleotide sequences.

Press Contact

Caroline Perry, (617) 495-4157
Email

Press Contact

Caroline Perry
(617) 495-4157
Email