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June 06, 2018

May 2018 patents

RNA-guided human genome engineering, OLED materials, macrolides, imaging for use in alternative reproductive technologies, and more

Harvard faculty George Church, Daniel Needleman, Andy Myers, Daniel Finley, Randy King, Zhigang Suo, George Whitesides, Peng Yin, Alán Aspuru-Guzik, Eric Mazur, Mike Aziz, Roy Gordon, Ted Betley, Gary King, Joanna Aizenberg, Don Ingber, and Gerhard Wagner are among the inventors issued U.S. patents in May 2018.

The innovations recognized are as follows:

Methods and compounds for the inhibition of cellular proliferation
U.S. Patent 9,956,226 (May 1, 2018)

Gerhard Wagner, Ricard A. Rodriguez-Mias, and Patrick R. Hagner

Abstract: Methods for inhibiting translation, treating a cellular proliferative disorder, and inhibiting proliferation of cells using the compounds disclosed herein are provided.

Rigidized inflatable structures
U.S. Patent 9,956,745 (May 1, 2018)

Kevin C. Galloway, Ryan Knopf, and Joshua Aaron Lessing

Abstract: A composite structural element is described, including: a first laminate layer comprising a plurality of first material layers; a second laminate layer comprising a plurality of second material layers; and an inflatable bladder configured for connection with a fluid inflation or deflation source and disposed in-between the first and second laminate layers.

Removing bubbles in microfluidic systems
U.S. Patent 9,962,698 (May 8, 2018)

Donald E. Ingber, Geraldine Hamilton, Daniel Levner, Christopher Hinojosa, and Daniel Patterson

Abstract: A microfluidic system includes a microfluidic device connected to a bubble trap device whereby fluid flowing to the microfluidic device passes through the bubble trap device to remove gas bubbles prior to entering the microfluidic device. The bubble trap can include a separation chamber and an exhaust chamber separated by a hydrophobic porous membrane and gas bubbles in the fluid entering the separation chamber pass through the hydrophobic porous membrane into the exhaust chamber while the fluid remains in the separation chamber. The bubble trap can be formed by bonding a first body portion to a first side of the hydrophobic porous membrane and bonding a second body portion to a second side of the hydrophobic porous membrane. The exhaust chamber can be connected to an elongated exhaust channel that limits the evaporation losses of the fluid through the hydrophobic porous membrane.

Magnetic assembly of soft robots with hard components
U.S. Patent 9,962,832 (May 8, 2018)

Sen Wai Kwok, Stephen A. Morin, Bobak Mosadegh, Ju-Hee So, Robert F. Shepherd, and George M. Whitesides

Abstract: Reconfigurable soft robotic actuators with hard components are described. Magnetic attraction is used to couple flexible molded bodies capable of actuation upon pressurization with other flexible molded bodies and/or with hard components (e.g., frames and connectors) to form a seal for fluidic communication and cooperative actuation. Pneumatic de-coupling chambers built into the hard components to de-couple the hard components from the magnetically-coupled soft molded bodies are described. The use of magnetic self-alignment coupling and pneumatic de-coupling allows for the remote assembly and disassembly of complex structures involving hard and soft components. The magnetic coupling allows for rapid, reversible reconfiguration of hybrid soft-hard robots for repair, testing new designs, and carrying out new tasks.

Slippery self-lubricating polymer surfaces
U.S. Patent 9,963,597 (May 8, 2018)

Joanna Aizenberg, Michael Aizenberg, Jiaxi Cui, Stuart Dunn, Benjamin Hatton, Caitlin Howell, Philseok Kim, Tak Sing Wong, and Xi Yao

Abstract: The present disclosure describes a strategy to create self-healing, slippery self-lubricating polymers. Lubricating liquids with affinities to polymers can be utilized to get absorbed within the polymer and form a lubricant layer (of the lubricating liquid) on the polymer. The lubricant layer can repel a wide range of materials, including simple and complex fluids (water, hydrocarbons, crude oil and bodily fluids), restore liquid-repellency after physical damage, and resist ice, microorganisms and insects adhesion. Some exemplary applications where self-lubricating polymers will be useful include energy-efficient, friction-reduction fluid handling and transportation, medical devices, anti-icing, optical sensing, and as self-cleaning, and anti-fouling materials operating in extreme environments.

Management of off-task time in a participatory environment
U.S. Patent 9,965,972 (May 8, 2018)

Gary King, Brian Lukoff, and Eric Mazur

Abstract: Participatory activity carried out using electronic devices is enhanced by occupying the attention of participants who complete a task before a set completion time. For example, a request or question having an expected response time less than the remaining answer time may be provided to early-finishing participants.

Small organic molecule based flow battery
U.S. Patent 9,966,622 (May 8, 2018)

Brian Huskinson, Michael Marshak, Michael J. Aziz, Roy G. Gordon, Theodore A. Betley, Alan Aspuru-Guzik, Suleyman Er, and Changwon Suh

Abstract: The invention provides an electrochemical cell based on a new chemistry for a flow battery for large scale, e.g., gridscale, electrical energy storage. Electrical energy is stored chemically at an electrochemical electrode by the protonation of small organic molecules called quinones to hydroquinones. The proton is provided by a complementary electrochemical reaction at the other electrode. These reactions are reversed to deliver electrical energy. A flow battery based on this concept can operate as a closed system. The flow battery architecture has scaling advantages over solid electrode batteries for large scale energy storage.

RNA-guided human genome engineering
U.S. Patent 9,970,024 (May 15, 2018)

George M. Church, Prashant Mali, and Luhan Yang

Abstract: A method of altering a eukaryotic cell is provided including transfecting the eukaryotic cell with a nucleic acid encoding RNA complementary to genomic DNA of the eukaryotic cell, transfecting the eukaryotic cell with a nucleic acid encoding an enzyme that interacts with the RNA and cleaves the genomic DNA in a site specific manner, wherein the cell expresses the RNA and the enzyme, the RNA binds to complementary genomic DNA and the enzyme cleaves the genomic DNA in a site specific manner.

Direct entangled triplet-photon sources and methods for their design and fabrication
U.S. Patent 9,971,228 (May 15, 2018)

Eric Mazur, Christopher Courtney Evans, Michael Gerhard Moebius, Orad Reshef, and Sarah E. Griesse-Nascimento

Abstract: In one aspect, a device for generating triplet photons is disclosed, which includes a waveguide extending from a proximal end for receiving pump radiation to a distal end through which triplet photons generated via nonlinear interaction of the pump radiation with the waveguide exit the waveguide, where the waveguide is configured such that the triplet photons generated within the waveguide reach its distal end at a rate in a range of about 0.05 triplet photons/second/mW and 0.3 triplet photons/second/mW, e.g., in a range of about 0.1 triplet photons/second/mW to about 0.2 triplet photons/second/mW.

Organic light-emitting diode materials
U.S. Patent 9,972,795 (May 15, 2018)

Alan Aspuru-Guzik, Rafael Gomez-Bombarelli, Jorge Aguilera-Iparraguirre, Marc Baldo, Troy Van Voorhis, Timothy D. Hirzel, Matthias Bahlke, David McMahon, and Tony Chang-Chi Wu

Abstract: Described herein are molecules for use in organic light emitting diodes. Example molecules comprise at least one moiety A and at least one moiety D. Values and preferred values of the moieties A and D are described herein. The molecules comprise at least one atom selected from Si, Se, Ge, Sn, P, or As.

Compositions and methods relating to complex nucleic acid nanostructures
U.S. Patent 9,975,916 (May 22, 2018)

Peng Yin, Diming Wei, Mingjie Dai, Cameron Myhrvold, Yonggang Ke, and Ralf Jungmann

Abstract: The invention provides SST motifs of controlled size and shape, comprised of a plurality of oligonucleotides, and methods for their synthesis. The motifs are formed, at least in part, by the self-assembly of single stranded oligonucleotides into curved, corrugated or twisted structures. The location of each oligonucleotide in the resultant motif is known. Accordingly, the motifs may be modified with specificity.

Flexible robotic actuators
U.S. Patent 9,981,377 (May 29, 2018)

Stephen A. Morin, Robert F. Shepherd, Adam Stokes, Filip Ilievski, Ramses V. Martinez, Jamie L. Branch, Carina R. Fish, Lihua Jin, Rui M. D. Nunes, Zhigang Suo, and George M. Whitesides

Abstract: Systems and methods for providing flexible robotic actuators are disclosed. Some embodiments of the disclosed subject matter include a soft robot capable of providing a radial deflection motions; a soft tentacle actuator capable of providing a variety of motions and providing transportation means for various types of materials; and a hybrid robotic system that retains desirable characteristics of both soft robots and hard robots. Some embodiments of the disclosed subject matter also include methods for operating the disclosed robotic systems.

Tricyclic proteasome activity enhancing compounds
U.S. Patent 9,981,981 (May 29, 2018)

Daniel J. Finley, Randall W. King, Byung-Hoon Lee, Min J. Lee, Timothy C. Gahman

Abstract: Proteinopathies result from the proteasome not acting efficiently enough to eliminate harmful proteins and prevent the formation of the pathogenic aggregates. As described herein, inhibition of proteasome-associated deubiquitinase Usp14 results in increased proteasome efficiency. The present invention therefore provides novel compositions and methods for inhibition of Usp14, enhancement of proteasome activity and treatment of proteinopathies.

Macrolides and methods of their preparation and use
U.S. Patent 9,982,005 (May 29, 2018)

Andrew G. Myers, Ian Bass Seiple, and Ziyang Zhang

Abstract: Provided herein are methods of preparing macrolides by the coupling of an eastern and western half, followed by macrocyclization, to provide macrolides, including both known and novel macrolides. Intermediates in the synthesis of macrolides including the eastern and western halves are also provided. Pharmaceutical compositions and methods of treating infectious diseases and inflammatory conditions using the inventive macrolides are also provided. A general diastereoselective aldol methodology used in the synthesis of the western half is further provided.

Non-linear imaging systems and methods for assisted reproductive technologies
U.S. Patent 9,984,278 (May 29, 2018)

Daniel Needleman, Manqi Deng, and Timothy H. Sanchez

Abstract: The present invention generally relates to non-linear imaging systems and methods for use in various assisted reproductive technologies and other applications. In one aspect, the present invention is generally directed to two-photon and other non-linear microscope techniques that can be used to determine the status or maturity state of eggs or egg follicles, for example by determining the presence of polar bodies within the egg follicles. In some embodiments, endogenous metabolites, such as NADH or FAD, can be determined, and in some cases without externally altering those metabolite concentrations or without adding other compounds. Other embodiments of the invention are also directed to computer programs or systems that can be used to determine the status or maturity state of eggs or egg follicles, kits in such systems, or the like.

Press Contact

Caroline Perry, (617) 495-4157

Press Contact

Caroline Perry
(617) 495-4157