November 2015 patents
Content analysis, inhibitors of Ebola and Lassa fever, new PCR techniques, optical sensor, and more
Professors David Liu, George Whitesides, Todd Zickler, David Weitz, Gary King, Amin Kassis, and Kevin Eggan are among the faculty members issued U.S. patents this November. The patents include:
Compositions of microbiota and methods related thereto
U.S. Patent 9,173,910 (November 3, 2015)
Lee M. Kaplan, Alice P. Liou, Peter J. Turnbaugh, and Jason L. Harris
Abstract: Methods and compositions are provided for treating weight related conditions and metabolic disorders by altering microbiota in a subject. One aspect provides methods and compositions to alter microbiota in a subject by administering to the subject a composition that includes a substantially purified microbiota from phyla such as Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria, Firmicutes and Verrucomicrobia or orders such as Bacteroidales, Verrucomicrobiales, Clostridiales and Enterobacteriales or genera such as Alistipes, Clostridium, Escherichia, and Akkermansia. Another aspect includes a pharmaceutical composition for altering microbiota that includes a therapeutically effective amount of substantially purified microbiota and a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier. Yet another aspect includes methods for treating a disorder, such as obesity, in a subject in need of such treatment by changing relative abundance of microbiota in a gastrointestinal tract of the subject without or in addition to a surgical procedure.
Reactivity-dependent and interaction-dependent PCR
U.S. Patent 9,175,340 (November 3, 2015)
David R. Liu, David Gorin, Adam Kamlet, Lynn M. McGregor, and Christoph E. Dumelin
Abstract: Methods, reagents, compositions, and kits for reactivity-dependent polymerase chain reaction (RD-PCR) and interaction-dependent polymerase chain reaction (ID-PCR) are provided herein. RD-PCR is a technique useful for determining whether a reactive moiety can form a covalent bond to a target reactive moiety, for example, in screening a library of candidate reactive moieties for reactivity with a target reactive moiety, and in identifying an enzyme substrate, for example, in protease substrate profiling. ID-PCR is a technique useful for determining whether a ligand can non-covalently bind to a target molecule, for example, in screening a library of candidate ligands for non-covalent interaction with a target molecule. RD-PCR and ID-PCR are also useful in detecting the presence of an analyte or an environmental condition.
Density-based separation of biological analytes using multiphase systems
U.S. Patent 9,176,105 (November 3, 2015)
Charles R. Mace, Ashok A. Kumar, Dyann F. Wirth, and George M. Whitesides
Abstract: The disclosed methods use a multi-phase system to separate samples according to the density of an analyte of interest. The method uses a multi-phase system that comprises two or more phase-separated solutions and a phase component such as a surfactant or polymer. The density of the analyte of interest differs from the densities of the rest of the sample. The density of the analyte of interest is substantially the same as one or more phases. Thus, when the sample is introduced to the multi-phase system, the analyte of interest migrates to the phase having the same density as the analyte of interest, passing through one or more phases sequentially.
U.S. Patent 9,176,263 (November 3, 2015)
Todd Zickler, Sanjeev Jagannatha Koppal, Geoffrey Louis Barrows, and Ioannis Gkioulekas
Abstract: Briefly, embodiments of an optical micro-sensor are described.
Neurodegenerative diseases and methods of modeling
U.S. Patent 9,180,114 (November 10, 2015)
Kevin Eggan and Francesco Paolo DiGiorgio
Abstract: This invention relates to methods for neuroprotection, promoting survival of motor neurons and the treatment of motor neuron diseases by preventing cell signaling through the classic prostaglandin D2 receptor DP1.
Methods for tumor diagnosis and therapy
U.S. Patent 9,186,425 (November 17, 2015)
Amin I. Kassis and Ravi S. Harapanhalli
Abstract: The present invention discloses a method for the enzyme-mediated, site-specific, in-vivo precipitation of a water soluble molecule in an animal. The enzyme is either unique to tumor cells, or is produced within a specific site (e.g., tumor) at concentrations that are higher than that in normal tissues. Alternatively, the enzyme is conjugated to a targeting moiety such as an antibody or a receptor-binding molecule.
In vitro evolution in microfluidic systems
U.S. Patent 9,186,643 (November 17, 2015)
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) compartmentalizing 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.
System for estimating a distribution of message content categories in source data
U.S. Patent 9,189,538 (November 17, 2015)
Gary King, Daniel Hopkins, and Ying Lu
Abstract: A method of computerized content analysis that gives "approximately unbiased and statistically consistent estimates" of a distribution of elements of structured, unstructured, and partially structured source data among a set of categories. In one embodiment, this is done by analyzing a distribution of small set of individually-classified elements in a plurality of categories and then using the information determined from the analysis to extrapolate a distribution in a larger population set. This extrapolation is performed without constraining the distribution of the unlabeled elements to be equal to the distribution of labeled elements, nor constraining a content distribution of content of elements in the labeled set (e.g., a distribution of words used by elements in the labeled set) to be equal to a content distribution of elements in the unlabeled set. Not being constrained in these ways allows the estimation techniques described herein to provide distinct advantages over conventional aggregation techniques.
Microfluidic, electrochemical devices
U.S. Patent 9,192,933 (November 24, 2015)
George M. Whitesides, Zhihong Nie, Christian Nijhuis, Xin Chen, Andres W. Martinez, and Max Narovlyansky
Abstract: Microfluidic, electrochemical devices are described. The microfluidic, electrochemical device comprises one or more electrode(s) on a substrate and a patterned porous, hydrophilic layer having a fluid-impermeable barrier which substantially permeates the thickness of the porous, hydrophilic layer and defines boundaries of one or more hydrophilic channels within the patterned porous, hydrophilic layer, wherein the hydrophilic channel(s) comprises a hydrophilic region which is in fluidic communication with the electrode(s). In some embodiments, the electrodes comprise a working electrode, a counter electrode, and a reference electrode. In some embodiments, the microfluidic, electrochemical device further comprises a fluid sink. The method of assembling the microfluidic, electrochemical device is described. The method of using the device for electrochemical analysis of one or more analytes is also described.
Small molecule inhibitors of ebola and lassa fever viruses and methods of use
U.S. Patent 9,193,705 (November 24, 2015)
James Cunningham, Kyungae Lee, Tao Ren, and Kartik Chandran
Abstract: The present invention relates to compositions and methods for the treatment of infection by enveloped viruses, such as Ebola and Lassa fever viruses.
Lateral flow and flow-through bioassay devices based on patterned porous media, methods of making same, and methods of using same
U.S. Patent 9,193,988 (November 24, 2015)
George M. Whitesides, Scott T. Phillips, Andres W. Martinez, Manish J. Butte, Amy Wong, Samuel W. Thomas, Hayat Sindi, Sarah J. Vella, Emanuel Carrilho, Katherine A. Mirica, and Yanyan Liu
Abstract: Embodiments of the invention provide lateral flow and flow-through bioassay devices based on patterned porous media, methods of making same, and methods of using same. Under one aspect, an assay device includes a porous, hydrophilic medium; a fluid impervious barrier comprising polymerized photoresist, the barrier substantially permeating the thickness of the porous, hydrophilic medium and defining a boundary of an assay region within the porous, hydrophilic medium; and an assay reagent in the assay region.