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Seiko Epson, Nanogen, Kaiwood Technology

Seiko Epson of Tokyo has received US Patent No. 7,172,262, “Capping unit, capping method, and droplet dispense unit.” The patent describes a capping unit, a capping method, and a droplet dispense unit. According to the patent’s abstract, the dispense unit is capable of a liquid-filling operation to an inkjet head and recovery operation of the inkjet head in imperfect dispense condition without useless discharge of liquid. The capping unit is used to cover the dispense head with a covering device that is equipped with a first cover, including a gas-permeable member having high gas permeability, and a second cover, including a wetting member to keep the vicinity of the nozzles in a wet condition. The unit can be used for the manufacture of biochips, the patent claims.

Nanogen of San Diego has received US Patent No. 7,172,864, “Methods for electronically-controlled enzymatic reactions.” The patent claims a self-addressable, self-assembling microelectronic device to carry out and control multi-step and multiplex molecular biological reactions in microscopic formats. These reactions include nucleic acid hybridizations, antibody/antigen reactions, diagnostics, and biopolymer synthesis, according to the patent’s abstract. The device can electronically control the transport and attachment of specific binding entities, including molecular biological molecules such as nucleic acids and polypeptides, to specific micro-locations. The device can subsequently control the transport and reaction of analytes or reactants at the addressed specific micro-locations and is able to concentrate analytes and reactants, remove non-specifically bound molecules, provide stringency control for DNA hybridization reactions, and improve the detection of analytes, the patent claims.

Kaiwood Technology of Tainan, Taiwan, has received US Patent No. 7,173,701, “CCD-based biochip reader.” The patent claims a CCD-based biochip reader that includes a light source for emitting light beams and a collimating lens for converting the light beams into wide parallel rays of light. The wide parallel rays of light are then passed through a biochip, exciting fluorescence from fluorescent targets on the biochip. A focusing lens for focusing the fluorescence is then used, and, after the lights are filtered out by a filter, a charge-coupled device camera generates images from the fluorescence. Finally, images from the charge-coupled device camera are converted into digital data through an image converting device.

The Scan

Shape of Them All

According to BBC News, researchers have developed a protein structure database that includes much of the human proteome.

For Flu and More

The Wall Street Journal reports that several vaccine developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

To Boost Women

China's Ministry of Science and Technology aims to boost the number of female researchers through a new policy, reports the South China Morning Post.

Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.