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IP Roundup: Fluidigm, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, Illumina

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Fluidigm of South San Francisco, Calif., has received US Patent No. 8,420,017, "Microfluidic reaction apparatus for high-throughput screening." The microfluidic device described has a slug mixing arrangement, where the reaction well has an input flow channel with a first valve near the well, and a second valve further from the well. A fluid source is connected to the segment in between the two valves. A second fluid source is connected behind the second valve. According to the patent, the channel between the two valves receives the first fluid by blind filling when the valves are closed, while the reaction well receives the first fluid followed by the second fluid when the valves are open.


Korea Institute of Science and Technology of Seoul has received US Patent No. 8,420,181, "Method of producing microfluidic devices based on a polymer." The method includes forming a microstructure on a lower polymer matrix; coating the lower polymer matrix; bonding the lower polymer matrix with an upper polymer matrix; and radiating UV lights to convert the coated regions into hydrophilic regions. A polymer-based microfluidic device obtained by the method is also described.


Illumina of San Diego has received US Patent No. 8,422,031, "Focusing methods and optical systems and assemblies using the same." The method includes providing a pair of incident light beams to a conjugate lens. The incident light beams are directed by the lens to converge toward a focal region. The method also includes reflecting the incident light beams with an object positioned proximate to the focal region. The reflected light beams return to and propagate through the lens. Additionally, the method includes determining relative separation measured between the reflected light beams and determining a degree-of-focus of the optical system with respect to the sample based upon the relative separation.

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New mRNA Vaccines Offer Hope for Fighting Malaria

A George Washington University-led team has developed mRNA vaccines for malaria that appear to provide protection in mice, as they report in NPJ Vaccines.

Unique Germline Variants Found Among Black Prostate Cancer Patients

Through an exome sequencing study appearing in JCO Precision Oncology, researchers have found unique pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants within a cohort of Black prostate cancer patients.