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IP Roundup: Aug 3, 2010


The California Institute of Technology of Pasadena has received US Patent No. 7,766,055, "Microfabricated elastomeric valve and pump systems." The patent describes a method of fabricating an elastomeric structure. The method includes forming an elastomeric layer on top of a micromachined mold, where the micromachined mold has a raised protrusion that forms a recess extending along a bottom surface of the elastomeric layer. A second elastomeric layer is then formed on top of a second micromachined mold that also contains a raised protrusion that forms a second recess extending along a bottom surface of the second elastomeric layer. The bottom surface of the second elastomeric layer is bonded onto a top surface of the first elastomeric layer so that a control channel forms in the second recess between the first and second elastomeric layers. The first elastomeric layer is then positioned on top of a planar substrate so that a flow channel forms in the first recess between the first elastomeric layer and the planar substrate.

CapitalBio of Beijing has received US Patent No. 7,767,438, "Microarray devices having controllable reaction volume." The patent provides a microarray reaction device where reaction spaces are formed between two projections, where the heights of the reaction spaces are identical and are controllable by a supporting structure, and the relative positions between the first and second projections are similarly controllable by a positioning structure. Methods for manufacturing the microarray reaction device and assaying an analyte using the device are also claimed.

Eppendorf of Hamburg, Germany, has received US Patent No. 7,767,440, "Cover for a hybridization chamber." The patent describes the cover of a hybridization chamber with a peripheral frame with filling and ventilation holes extending from the upper face to the lower face of the frame and a peripheral shoulder outside the filling and ventilation holes on the lower face of the frame. The cover includes a wall arranged within the frame that is flush with its lower face and downwardly offset relative to its upper face, which consists of a resilient plastic material.

GE Healthcare has received US Patent No. 7,767,829, "Water-soluble fluoro-substituted cyanine dyes as reactive fluorescence labelling reagents." The patent claims cyanine dyes that are useful for labeling and detecting biological and other materials. The dyes contain fluorine and sulphonic acid groups, which, according to the inventors, results in a labeled product where there is reduced dye-dye aggregation and improved photostability compared with cyanine dyes having no such substitutions. The described dyes are useful in assays involving fluorescence detection where continual or repeated excitation is a requirement, for example in kinetic studies, or in microarray analyses where microarray slides may need to be reanalyzed over a period of days, according to the patent.

Illumina has received US Patent No. 7,768,638, "Systems for and methods of facilitating focusing an optical scanner." The patent claims a method of facilitating the focusing of an imaging system by: a) obtaining a dynamic profile for a scanline of an array of probes at a specific time via a light source and a confocal scanning system, where the scanline is extended across one dimension of a two-dimensional scan area, and where the dynamic profile includes values for at least one parameter at two or more points along the one dimension of the two-dimensional scan area; b) associating the dynamic profile to a profile selected from a set of stored baseline profiles, where each of the stored baseline profiles includes values for at least one parameter at two or more points along the one dimension of the two-dimensional scan area, and where each of the stored baseline profiles is associated with a correction; c) applying the correction associated with the selected profile; d) repeating steps b) and c) for the scanline of the test array of probes until a desired focus has been obtained; and e) repeating steps a) through d) for additional scanlines of the array of probes at subsequent specific times for each scanline.

Illumina has also received US Patent No. 7,769,548, "Microarray analytical data stitching system and method." The patent provides a technique for analyzing image data for biological microarrays. Images are made of multiple swaths in multiple passes of an imaging system. Sites encoded by the image data are then assigned a value and these values are indexed by site location. An overlapping region of the swaths may be identified by analysis of the indexed site values. The site values for all image sites are then stitched and the data is integrated and stored for later analysis.

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.