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Millipore, Clontech, Virginia Tech, and Cytokinetics Among Recent US Patent Recipients

Millipore has been awarded US Patent No. 7,148,060, “Feeding tray for multiwell test apparatus.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Aldo Pitt, Donald Rising, and Kenneth DiSilets.
According to its abstract, the patent protects a feeding tray for retaining a nutrient medium for use with a multiwell filter plate. The feeding tray includes an inclined support surface surrounded by walls that retain nutrient medium on the support surface. The support surface is inclined away from an area for introducing nutrient medium into the tray toward an area for draining the tray of nutrient medium. The invention more specifically enables adding or removing liquid from the feeding tray of the multiwell test apparatus without disturbing a material in the multiwell apparatus such as cells within the wells, the patent states.

Clontech Laboratories has been awarded US Patent No. 7,150,979, “Nucleic acids encoding non-aggregating fluorescent proteins and methods for using the same.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Sergey Lukyanov, Konstantin Lukyanov, Yuriy Yanushevich, Alexandr Savitsky, and Arcady Fradkov.
According to its abstract, the patent protects nucleic acid compositions encoding non-aggregating chromo/fluoroproteins and mutants thereof, as well as the encoded proteins. The proteins of interest are polypeptides that are non-aggregating colored and/or fluorescent proteins, where the non-aggregating feature arises from the modulation of residues in the N-terminus of the protein, and the chromo and/or fluorescent feature arises from the interaction of two or more residues of the protein. The patent also describes fragments of the subject nucleic acids and the peptides encoded thereby, as well as antibodies to the subject proteins and transgenic cells and organisms. Finally, the subject protein and nucleic acid compositions find use in a variety of applications, and the patent describes kits for use in such applications, e.g., that include the subject nucleic acid compositions.

Virginia Tech University has been awarded US Patent No. 7,150,991, “Method to preserve cells.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Malcolm Potts, Richard Helm, Mark Berninger, and Herbert Avila.
According to its abstract, the patent protects methods for preserving living human and other cells at room temperature or higher temperatures. The methods can be applied to research, medical, and defense applications, the patent’s abstract states. These methods represent a significant improvement relative to currently used methods that employ preservation at cryogenic temperatures. Using these methods, living human and other cells can be stored at room or higher temperature, and subsequently be recovered as living cells capable of dividing and exhibiting other well-recognized properties of living cells, the abstract states.

Cytokinetics has been awarded US Patent No. 7,151,847, “Image analysis of the golgi complex.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Eugeni Vaisberg, Ge Cong, and Hsien-Hsun Wu.
According to its abstract, the patent protects methods, code, and apparatus for analyzing cell images to automatically identify and characterize the Golgi complexes in individual cells. This is accomplished by first locating the cells in the image and defining boundaries of those cells that subsume some or all of the Golgi complexes of those cells. The Golgi complexes in the images typically have intensity values corresponding to the concentration of a Golgi component in the cell (e.g. a polysaccharide associated with the Golgi complex). The method then analyzes the Golgi components of the image – typically on a pixel-by-pixel basis – to mathematically characterize the Golgi complexes of individual cells. This mathematical characterization represents phenotypic information about the cells' Golgi complexes and can be used to classify cells. From this information, mechanism of action and other important biological information can be deduced, the abstract states.

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.