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Patent Watch: Jan 20, 2009

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Bio-Rad Laboratories of Hercules, Calif., has received US Patent No. 7,478,571, "Balancing means for high-speed scanning." The patent describes a scanning system for scanning a microarray of biological species, where the microarray and a scanning head are defined as members of a scanning pair. The systems includes: a) a belt to which is mounted one member of the scanning pair defined as a mobile scanning pair member; b) a counterweight at locations where the rotation of the belt produces synchronous motion of the mobile scanning pair member and the counterweight in opposite directions along linear paths of motion parallel to and on a common side of the other member of the scanning pair; and c) a means for rotating the belt means to produce the described synchronous motion.


The University of California of Oakland and the California Institute of Technology of Pasadena have received US Patent No. 7,479,186, "Systems and methods for mixing reactants." The patent describes a method for the high-throughput screening of crystallization of a target material by simultaneously introducing a solution of the target material into the chambers of a microfabricated fluidic device. The microfabricated fluidic device is then manipulated to vary the solution condition in the chambers, thereby providing a large number of crystallization environments. Control over the changed solution conditions may result from a variety of techniques, including: a) metering volumes of crystallizing agent into the chamber by volume exclusion; b) entrapping volumes of crystallizing agent determined by the dimensions of the microfabricated structure; or c) the cross-channel injection of sample and crystallizing agent into an array of junctions defined by intersecting orthogonal flow channels.


HSG-IMAT of Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany, has received US Patent No. 7,479,256, "Method and device for applying a plurality of microdroplets onto a substrate." The patent claims a device for applying microdroplets onto a substrate using nozzle orifices in a dosing head. In addition to walls for defining a liquid column of a medium to be dosed on each nozzle orifice, a pressure chamber is provided, which is adapted to be filled with a buffer medium and which is arranged in such a way that the buffer medium can be used for applying a pressure to the liquid-column ends which are spaced apart from the nozzle orifices. A pressure generator is also provided for applying a pressure to the buffer medium in such a way that the microdroplets will simultaneously be applied onto the substrate through the nozzle orifices. Finally, liquid reservoirs for the media to be dosed, which are in fluid communication with the liquid columns on the nozzle orifices, are provided.

The Scan

Comfort of Home

The Guardian reports that AstraZeneca is to run more clinical trials from people's homes with the aim of increasing participant diversity.

Keep Under Control

Genetic technologies are among the tools suggested to manage invasive species and feral animals in Australia, Newsweek says.

Just Make It

The New York Times writes that there is increased interest in applying gene synthesis to even more applications.

Nucleic Acids Research Papers on OncoDB, mBodyMap, Genomicus

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: database to analyze large cancer datasets, human body microbe database, and more.