Thank you for your interest in the Knoxville Scipreneur Challenge! Available IPs for this year's competition are posted below.

  1. ProFECT Plus - NonCationic-Lipid Nanoparticles for siRNA Encap-sulation and Delivery
    • Inventors/Liaisons: Graham Taylor, Nima Tamaddoni, Richard T. Fisher
    • Description: Liposome siRNA Encapsulation (LSE) is a liposome assembly technique to enhance siRNA cargo loading into PEGylated neutral liposomes for improved biocompatibility and pharmacokinetics. This results in liposomal nanocarriers with efficient nucleic acid encapsulation and enhanced cellular association, while minimizing the cytotoxic effects associated with cationic-mediated transfection. LSE is a quick, easy, reproducible, scalable method for nanoparticle-mediated applied transfection.

  2. Novel Method for the Quantification of Toxic, Residual Phase Transfer Catalyst in Fluorine-18 Labeled Radiotracers
    • Inventors/Liaisons: Dustin Osborne, David Blevins
    • Description: Fluorine-18 labeled radiopharmaceuticals undergo quality control testing for residual phase-transfer-catalyst content. The almost universally used quality-control test is a silica plate spot-test comparison of the radiopharmaceutical beside a 50-ppm standard. Once developed by staining, the radiopharma-ceutical spot must be of equal or less intensity to pass the test. There is currently a need for a less subjective, quantitative, and inexpensive quality control method that allows the automatic incorpora-tion of the acquired measurement directly into electronic batch reports. In the developed method, a sodium resazurin test solution is mixed with an aliquot of the radiopharmaceutical analyte along with DCM whereby the potassium resazurin- phase transfer catalyst complex solubilizes into the DCM imparting a blue color. A simple prototype spectrophotometer were constructed to acquire data with the resazurin dye solution found to be a suitable test chromophore for residual phase transfer cata-lyst analysis of aqueous solutions. Quantitative spectrophotometric measurements are possible in the 0-100-ppm range (18-crown-6) and 0-150-ppm range (kryptofix® or tetrabutylammonium).

  3. Integration of Photosystem I Nano Discs into Biohybrid Solar Devices for the Sustainable Production of Electricity
    • Inventor/Liaison: Nate Brady
    • Description: Photosynthetic protein complexes such as photosystem I reaction center convert photonics energy into electrical energy at an internal quantum efficiency approaching 100% in nature. When we re-move these proteins from their native membrane environments using canonical methods, we lose approximately 99% of this inherent efficiency. Recently, advances in a novel extraction method to produce native nanodiscs (particles which preserve the proximal lipid environment) have shown in-creased, more native-like efficiency in vitro. These photosynthetic complexes can be immobilized on electrode surfaces, to create so-called Biohybrid Solar Devices, which have the ability to convert sun-light to electricity. This approach steps around the issues of resource limitation, and significantly reduces production cost compared to traditional silicon based photovoltaic technology.

  4. Staphylococcus pseudintermedius Recombinant Vaccine
    • Inventor/Liaison: Stephen Kania
    • Description: Canine pyoderma represents nearly 500 million dollars in annual veterinary care, with an average visit cost of $175. Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, the primary cause of this disease, has become re-sistant to antimicrobials often leaving few treatment options. It produces proteins that inhibit the ability of dogs to mount an effective immune response. Our group at the University of Tennessee has used cutting edge technology to develop a safe vaccine which stimulates the ability of dogs to pro-duce antibodies capable of neutralizing the bacteria’s major toxic and immunosuppressive proteins. Benefits of this technology include an inexpensive vaccine with a 20x increase in immune response over the natural proteins. It has the potential to treat infections without the use of antimicrobials and provides a way to treat infections for which there is not alternative therapy.

  5. Rapid Native Single Cell Mass Spectrometry
    • Inventor/Liaison: Jack Cahill
    • Description: Single cell metabolomic and lipidomic information is crucial when studying disease progression at the cellular level. Cells are naturally heterogeneous yet most analytical technologies measure average cellular chemistry or require molecular probes to investigate the chemistry in a single cell, the latter of which may have unforeseen consequences on cellular chemistry. This invention describes an innova-tive methodology for rapid, in situ molecular characterization of single cells suspended in their native media. This invention enables quantitative, targeted and/or untargeted chemical analysis of single cells without extensive sample preparation procedures while being able to measure single cells with high throughput. Current technologies require an involved preparation procedure and use of matrix matched standards to quantitate cellular metabolites. This invention provides a simple method for absolute determination of the concentration of target analyte(s) within a single cell. Further, many single cell analysis techniques trade chemical coverage for sampling throughput. This invention will provide untargeted mass spectrometric analysis of single cells with the throughput necessary to ob-tain statistics of cellular populations.

  6. Bacterial Quantitative Trait-Locus Mapping
    • Inventor/Liaison: Josh Michener
    • Description: One of the key choices in a metabolic engineering project is the identification of a suitable host strain. Even within a given species, variations between lineages can have significant, unpredictable effects on productivity. We have developed a technique to generate and characterize a panel of hybrid bacteria to serve as hosts for engineered metabolic pathways. After introducing an engineered pathway and screening a limited panel of strains, we can identify genetic loci throughout the genome that affect pathway productivity. By combining beneficial alleles, we can rapidly build engineered hosts that increase pathway output.

  7. NanoFermentation: Nanoparticles from Bacteria
    • Inventor/Liaison: Jennifer Cauldwell
    • Description: Nanoparticles having metal non-oxide compositions (i.e., “semiconductor” or “quantum dot” nano-particles) are increasingly being used in numerous emerging applications. Some of these applications include electronics (e.g., transistors and diode lasers), LED displays, photovoltaics (e.g., solar cells), and medical imaging. Quantum dot nanoparticles are also being investigated as powerful new com-puter processing elements (i.e., qubits). Semiconductor nanoparticles often possess a metal chalco-genide composition, such as CdSe and ZnS. The ORNL technology offers a system for producing pure semiconductor nanoparticles on a commercial (i.e., bulk) scale at a non-prohibitive cost. This system uses selected thermophilic bacteria cultured with suitable reducible metals in the presence of an electron donor under culture conditions that reduce at least one metal to form a doped crystal or mixed oxide composition. The bacteria forms nanoparticles outside the cell, allowing easy recovery. Selection of metals depends on the redox potentials of the reducing agents added to the culture for the biomineralization.

  8. Novel Soybean CystNematode Resistant and Susceptible genes
    • Inventor/Liaison: Tarek Hewezi
    • Description: Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) has threatened the U.S. crop since the 1950s, reducing returns to soybean producers by $500 million each year and reducing yields by as much as 75 percent. Using DNA methylation for genetic mapping and data analysis have identified several novel SCN resistant and susceptible genes. These genes have shown significant difference as compared to the control when tested using hairy root experiments. Researchers have identified over 50 candidate SCN resistance genes that can be used in biotechnology and breeding programs to improve soybean yield. From these three major SCN resistance genes were discovered based on epigenetic analysis. The functional roles of these three novel genes in SCN resistance were confirmed using transgenic soybean hairy root system. Statistical analysis revealed significant association between the genetic polymorphisms and soybean resistance against one or more races. Certain genetic polymorphisms were linked to soybean resistance against all five SCN races. Some genetic polymorphisms are within 20 nucleotide distance, enabling the development of very accurate molecular markers.

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