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November 06, 2019

October 2019 patents

Innovations in soft exosuits, encapsulated agents, microbe-targeting molecules, human genome engineering, nanoscale temperature sensing, interactive learning, and more

Harvard faculty Conor Walsh, David Weitz, Don Ingber, George Church, Charlie Lieber, Mikail Lukin, Hongkun Park, Dyann Wirth, George Whitesides, Gary King, Eric Mazur, Doug Melton, Ting Wu, Adam Cohen, Arlene Sharpe, and Jennifer Lewis are among the inventors issued U.S. patents in October 2019.

The innovations recognized are as follows:

Soft exosuit for assistance with human motion
U.S. Patent 10,427,293 (October 1, 2019)

Alan Thomas Asbeck, Ignacio Galiana Bujanda, Ye Ding, Robert Joseph Dyer, Arnar Freyr Larusson, Brendan Thomas Quinlivan, Kai Schmidt, Diana Wagner, Conor J. Walsh, and Michael Wehner

Abstract: In at least one aspect, there is provided a system for generating force about one or more joints including a soft exosuit having a plurality of anchor elements and at least one connection element disposed between the plurality of anchor elements. The system also includes at least one sensor to determine a force the at least one connection element or at least one of the plurality of anchor elements and to output signals relating to the force, at least one actuator configured to change a tension in the soft exosuit and at least one controller configured to receive the signals output from the at least one sensor and actuate the at least one actuator responsive to the received signals.

Soft exosuit for assistance with human motion
U.S. Patent 10,434,030 (October 8, 2019)

Alan T. Asbeck, Ye Ding, Ignacio Galiana Bujanda, Sangjun Lee, Diana A. Wagner, and Conor J. Walsh

Abstract: Systems and methods for providing assistance with human motion, including hip and ankle motion, are disclosed. Sensor feedback is used to determine an appropriate profile for actuating a wearable robotic system to deliver desired joint motion assistance. Variations in user kinetics and kinematics, as well as construction, materials, and fit of the wearable robotic system, are considered in order to provide assistance tailored to the user and current activity.

Compositions comprising encapsulated actives within droplets and other compartments
U.S. Patent 10,434,485 (October 8, 2019)

John Christopher Wesner, Marco Caggioni, Taotao Zhu, David A. Weitz, Alireza Abbaspourrad, and Chang-Hyung Choi

Abstract: The present invention generally relates to microparticles and, in particular, to systems and methods for encapsulation within microparticles. In one aspect, the present invention is generally directed to microparticles containing entities therein, where the entities contain an agent that can be released from the microparticles, e.g., via diffusion. In some cases, the agent may be released from the microparticles without disruption of the microparticles. The entities may be, for instance, polymeric particles, hydrogel particles, droplets of fluid, etc. The entities may be contained within a fluid that is, in turn, encapsulated within the microparticle. The agent may be released from the entity into the fluid, and then from the fluid through the microparticle. In such fashion, the release of agent from the microparticle may be controlled, e.g., over relatively long time scales. Other embodiments of the present invention are generally directed to methods of making such microparticles, methods of using such microparticles, microfluidic devices for making such microparticles, and the like.

Microbe-binding molecules and uses thereof
U.S. Patent 10,435,457 (October 8, 2019)

Alexander Watters, Brendon Dusel, Michael Super, Mark Cartwright, Donald E. Ingber

Abstract: Described herein are engineered microbe-targeting molecules, microbe-targeting articles, kits comprising the same, and uses thereof. Such microbe-targeting molecules, microbe-targeting articles, or the kits comprising the same can not only bind or capture of a microbe or microbial matter thereof, but they also have improved capability (e.g., enhanced sensitivity or signal intensity) of detecting a microbe or microbial matter. Thus, the microbe-targeting molecules, microbe-targeting articles, and/or the kit described herein can be used in various applications, e.g., but not limited to assays for detection of a microbe or microbial matter, diagnostic and/or therapeutic agents for diagnosis and/or treatment of an infection caused by microbes in a subject or any environmental surface, and/or devices for removal of a microbe or microbial matter from a fluid.

Mutant Cas9 proteins
U.S. Patent 10,435,679 (October 8, 2019)

Alejandro Chavez, Frank J. Poelwijk, and George M. Church

Abstract: Methods of making mutant Cas9 proteins are described.

RNA-guided human genome engineering
U.S. Patent 10,435,708 (October 8, 2019)

Prashant G. Mali, George M. Church, 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.

Controlled growth of nanoscale wires
U.S. Patent 10,435,817 (October 8, 2019)

Charles M. Lieber, Robert Day, Max Nathan Mankin, Ruixuan Gao, and Thomas J. Kempa

Abstract: The present invention generally relates to nanoscale wires, and to methods of producing nanoscale wires. In some aspects, the nanoscale wires are nanowires comprising a core which is continuous and a shell which may be continuous or discontinuous, and/or may have regions having different cross-sectional areas. In some embodiments, the shell regions are produced by passing the shell material (or a precursor thereof) over a core nanoscale wire under conditions in which Plateau-Raleigh crystal growth occurs, which can lead to non-homogenous deposition of the shell material on different regions of the core. The core and the shell each independently may comprise semiconductors, and/or non-semiconductor materials such as semiconductor oxides, metals, polymers, or the like. Other embodiments are generally directed to systems and methods of making or using such nanoscale wires, devices containing such nanoscale wires, or the like.

Nanometer scale quantum thermometer
U.S. Patent 10,436,650 (October 8, 2019)

Peter Christian Maurer, Hyun Ji Noh, Georg Kucsko, Mikhail D. Lukin, Hongkun Park, and Minako Kubo

Abstract: An approach to nanoscale thermometry that utilizes coherent manipulation of the electronic spin associated with nitrogen-vacancy (NV) color centers in diamond is disclosed. The methods and apparatus allow for detection of temperature variations down to milli-Kelvin resolution, at nanometer length scales. This biologically compatible approach to thermometry offers superior temperature sensitivity and reproducibility with a reduced measurement time. The disclosed apparatus can be used to study heat-generating intracellular processes.

Nanopore sensing by local electrical potential measurement
U.S. Patent 10,436,747 (October 8, 2019)

Charles M. Lieber and Ping Xie

Abstract: There is provided a method for sensing the translocation of a molecule through a nanopore. In the method, there is directed to an inlet of a nanopore a molecule that is disposed in a first ionic solution of a first ionic concentration. The molecule is caused to translocate through the nanopore from the inlet of the nanopore to an outlet of the nanopore and into a second ionic solution of a second ionic concentration that is different than the first ionic concentration. An electrical potential, local to that ionic solution, of the first and second ionic solutions, which has a lower ionic concentration, is measured while the molecule is caused to translocate through the nanopore.

Density-based separation of biological analytes using multiphase systems
U.S. Patent 10,436,768 (October 8, 2019)

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.

Instructional support platform for interactive learning environments
U.S. Patent 10,438,498 (October 8, 2019)

Gary King, Eric Mazur, Kelly Miller, and Brian Lukoff

Abstract: In various embodiments, subject matter for improving discussions in connection with an educational resource is identified and summarized by analyzing annotations made by students assigned to a discussion group to identify high-quality annotations likely to generate responses and stimulate discussion threads, identifying clusters of high-quality annotations relating to the same portion or related portions of the educational resource, extracting and summarizing text from the annotations, and combining, in an electronically represented document, the extracted and summarized text and (i) at least some of the annotations and the portion or portions of the educational resource or (ii) clickable links thereto.

Serum-free in vitro directed differentiation protocol for generating stem cell-derived beta cells and uses thereof
U.S. Patent 10,443,042 (October 15, 2019)

Douglas A. Melton and Mads Gurtler

Abstract: Disclosed herein are methods for generating SC-β cells using chemically defined, completely serum free media, and isolated populations of SC-β cells for use in various applications, such as cell therapy.

Methods of elongating DNA
U.S. Patent 10,443,092 (October 15, 2019)

Chao-ting Wu

Abstract: The present invention relates to methods of elongating chromosomes. Embodiments of the present disclosure are directed to methods of elongating DNA by immobilizing or attaching the DNA to a substrate. According to one aspect, naturally occurring DNA includes a nucleic acid and one or more factors bound thereto, and may be referred to herein as "starting DNA".

Optogenetic probes for measuring membrane potential
U.S. Patent 10,457,715 (October 29, 2019)

Adam E. Cohen, Daniel Hochbaum, Peng Zou, Samouil Leon Farhi, Robert Earl Campbell, Yongxin Zhao, and Daniel Jed Harrison

Abstract: Provided herein are variants of an archaerhodopsin useful for application such as optical measurement of membrane potential. The present invention also relates to polynucleotides encoding the variants; nucleic acid constructs, vectors, cells comprising the polynucleotides, and cells comprising the polypeptides; and methods of using the variants.

Agents that modulate immune cell activation and methods of use thereof
U.S. Patent 10,457,733 (October 29, 2019)

Gordon J. Freeman, Arlene H. Sharpe, Yanping Xiao, Loise Francisco, Rosemarie Dekruyff, and Dale Umetsu

Abstract: The present invention relates to compositions and methods for the immunomodulation mediated by the interaction of PD-L2 and RGMb.

Particle-assisted nucleic acid sequencing
U.S. Patent 10,457,977 (October 29, 2019)

David A. Weitz and Adam R. Abate

Abstract: This invention generally relates to particle-assisted nucleic acid sequencing. In some embodiments, sequencing may be performed in a microfluidic device, which can offer desirable properties, for example, minimal use of reagents, facile scale-up, and/or high throughput. In one embodiment, a target nucleic acid may be exposed to particles having nucleic acid probes. By determining the binding of the particles to the target nucleic acid, the sequence of the target nucleic acid (or at least a portion of the target nucleic acid) can be determined. The target nucleic acid may be encapsulated within a fluidic droplet with the particles having nucleic acid probes, in certain instances. In some cases, the sequence of the target nucleic acid may be determined, based on binding of the particles, using sequencing by hybridization (SBH) algorithms or other known techniques.

Methods of storing information using nucleic acids
U.S. Patent 10,460,220 (October 29, 2019)

George M. Church

Abstract: The present invention relates to methods of storing data using one or more nucleic acids.

Printed three-dimensional (3D) functional part and method of making
U.S. Patent 10,462,907 (October 29, 2019)

Jennifer A. Lewis, Michael A. Bell, Travis A. Busbee, and John E. Minardi II

Abstract: A printed 3D functional part includes a 3D structure comprising a structural material, and at least one functional electronic device is at least partially embedded in the 3D structure. The functional electronic device has a base secured against an interior surface of the 3D structure. One or more conductive filaments are at least partially embedded in the 3D structure and electrically connected to the at least one functional electronic device.

Press Contact

Caroline Perry, (617) 495-4157

Press Contact

Caroline Perry
(617) 495-4157