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BD, Tibotec, Millipore, Orion Biosolutions, and Duke University Awarded US Patents


Becton Dickinson has been awarded US Patent No. 7,016,087, "Photon-efficient scanner."

Inventors listed on the patent are David Heffelfinger, Aram Schiffman, and Bala Manian.

According to its abstract, the patent protects a system for optical interrogation of a sample adaptable for multiple-wavelength illumination and multiple-wavelength fluorescent or luminescent light collection, wherein the illumination wavelength profile and the light collection profile may overlap. In the system, coherent light from one or more lasers is focused onto a target layer on a sample to excite fluorescent or luminescent light from the layer. Emitted light is collected from a selected depth by a reflective light collector, and transmitted to detection optics. The light collector directs light at an angle to the optical axis of the illumination light, thereby separating collected emitted light from illumination light. The light collector may collect light from a focus, whereby the focused illumination light combined with the focused light collection aid in limitation of the depth of field to a selected depth. Additionally, a spatial filter positioned between the light collector and the detection optics may be used to confine the depth of field to a selected depth. The device may be incorporated into an optical scanner by scanning of illumination light in a first direction and translation of the sample in a tangent direction. Alternatively, the illumination and detection optics may remain stationary and the detectable targets moved past a scanning location, the abstract states.

Tibotec, of Beerse, Belgium, has been awarded US Patent No. 7,016,110, "Microscope suitable for high-throughput screening having an autofocusing apparatus."

Marc Leblans is the lone inventor listed on the patent.

According to its abstract, the patent protects an apparatus for automatically focusing an image onto an object plane in a microscope includes an optical system configured to form an optical image of a sample plane to be observed, an auto-focusing detection system, and a focus-correction system. The auto-focusing system includes an auto-focusing light beam source; a detection system lens for directing auto-focusing light beams to a detection device, and an auto-focusing detection device for determining the amount of displacement of the image of the object plane from a desired focused reference plane. The focusing correction system includes a feedback controller and focus-adjusting device for automatically adjusting the distance between an objective lens and the sample plane in order to properly focus the image in the optical system, the abstract states.

Millipore has been awarded US Patent No. 7,018,588, "Multiwell test apparatus."

Inventors listed on the patent are Kenneth DeSilets, Jeanne Phillips, and Donald Rising.

According to its abstract, the patent protects a multiwell test apparatus formed of a multiwell filter plate having a plurality of wells, a first feeding plate and second receiver plate, and a lid. The apparatus is utilized for promoting fluid interactions such as by growing cells in a nutrient medium within the wells. The multiwell test apparatus permits adding or removing liquid from the feeding plate without disturbing a material, such as cells, within the wells and two plates, one for growing the cells and the other for the assaying of the cells. After the desired level of cell growth on the membranes of the wells has been attained, the filter plate can be utilized in conventional assay methods. These assay methods involve positioning the membranes and cells on the filter plate into the wells of the receiver plate positioned below and having the same number of wells in register with the wells of the filter plate. The wells of the receiver plate contain a liquid composition to be assayed. The composition to be assayed diffuses into the cells and then through the membrane. The resultant liquid products within the wells of the filter plate or the wells of the receiver plate are then assayed to determine the capability of the composition to permeate the cell barrier.

Orion Biosolutions has been awarded US Patent No. 7,018,804, "Determination of cell viability and phenotype."

Francis Zeigler is the sole inventor listed on the patent.

According to its abstract, the patent protects methods to determine the viability of a cell by a first reagent; and the phenotype of a cell by use of one or more second reagent. The first reagent is one that is detectable in viable, or living, cells even after they have been fixed such that they are no longer viable. The one or more second reagent is compatible for use in fluorescence activated cell sorting, including intracellular FACS. The invention thus provides methods of simultaneously identifying a cell as both viable and having a phenotype of interest, the abstract states.

Duke University has been awarded US Patent No. 7,018,812, "Modified G-protein coupled receptors."

Inventors listed on the patent are Robert Oakley, Lawrence Barak, Stephane Laporte, and Marc Caron.

According to its abstract, the patent protects modified G-protein coupled receptors. The modified GPCRs include GPCRs that have been modified to have carboxyl terminal tails comprising one or more sites of phosphorylation, preferably one or more clusters of phosphorylation sites. The modified GPCRs may comprise a retained portion of a carboxyl-terminus region from a first GPCR fused to a polypeptide, wherein the polypeptide comprises the one or more clusters of phosphorylation. The present invention also relates to methods of screening compounds and sample solutions for GPCR activity using the modified GPCRs.

The Scan

Guidelines for Ancient DNA Work

More than two dozen researchers have developed new ethical guidelines for conducting ancient DNA research, which they present in Nature.

And Cleared

A UK regulator has cleared former UK Prime Minister David Cameron in concerns he should have registered as a consultant-lobbyist for his work with Illumina, according to the Financial Times.

Suit Over Allegations

The Boston Globe reports that David Sabatini, who was placed on leave from MIT after allegations of sexual harassment, is suing his accuser, the Whitehead Institute, and the institute's director.

Nature Papers on Esophageal Cancer, Origin of Modern Horses, Exome Sequencing of UK Biobank Participants

In Nature this week: genetic and environmental influences of esophageal cancer, domestic horse origin traced to Western Eurasian steppes, and more.