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Universities of California, British Columbia, Tennessee-Battelle Win Patents

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The University of California, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and the State of Oregon have been awarded US Patent No. 6,780,975, “Long wavelength engineered fluorescent proteins.”

Inventors listed on the patent are: Roger Tsien, James Remington, Andrew Cubitt, Roger Heim, and Mats Ormo.

According to its abstract, the patent describes engineered fluorescent proteins, nucleic acids encoding them, and methods of use.


The University of California has been awarded US Patent No. 6,787,321, “Mammalian two-hybrid system for screening for modulators of the accumulation of metabolic products.”

Inventors listed on the patent are: Osamu Tetsu, Kenichi Wakita, and Frank McCormick.

According to its abstract, the patent describes a two-hybrid system to screen for agents that modulate the ability of a cell to degrade or to accumulate a metabolic product, or to selectively express a gene or cDNA that has a defect in its ability to do so.


The University of Tennessee-Battelle has been awarded US Patent No. 6,783,647, “Microfluidic systems and methods of transport and lysis of cells and analysis of cell lysate.”

Inventors listed on the patent are: Christopher Culbertson, Stephen Jacobson, Maxine McClain, and Michael Ramsey.

According to its abstract, the patent discloses microfluidic systems and methods which are adapted to transport and lyse cellular components of a test sample for analysis. The microfluidic systems and methods employ an electric field to rupture the cell membrane causing unusually rapid lysis, and thereby minimizing continued cellular activity and resulting in greater accuracy of analysis of cell processes, the abstract states.


The University of British Columbia has been awarded US Patent No. 6,780,641, “Immortalized human microglia cell line.”

Kim Seung is the inventor listed on the patent.

According to its abstract, the patent covers an immortalized human cell line that has the characteristics of human embryonic microglia. Such immortalized cells express CD68, CD11c, and MHC class I and II antigens as surface markers; have demonstrable phagocyitc properties; and produce progeny continuously while maintained in culture, the abstract states. The patent also provides methods for transforming human microglial cells into an immortalized cell line. Such cells, the abstract states, can be used for screening of compounds for diseases.


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been awarded US Patent No. 6,780,580, “Method of screening candidate compounds for susceptibility to biliary excretion.”

Inventors listed on the patent are: Edward LeCluyse, Kim Brouwer, and Xingrong Liu.

According to its abstract, the patent describes a method of screening a candidate compound for susceptibility to biliary excretion. The method includes the steps of providing a culture of hepatocytes, the culture having at least one bile canaliculus; exposing a candidate compound to the culture; and determining an amount of candidate compound in the at least one bile canaliculus, the amount of … [which] indicates the susceptibility of the candidate compound to biliary excretion, the abstract states. Optionally, the culture of hepatocytes is a long-term culture in a sandwich configuration. The method is particularly applicable to the screening of multiple candidate compounds in a single effort, the abstract states.

The Scan

Dropped Charges

The US Justice Department has dropped visa fraud charges against five Chinese researchers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

More Kids

The Associated Press says Moderna is expanding its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine study to included additional children and may include even younger children.

PNAS Papers on Rat Clues to Human Migration, Thyroid Cancer, PolyG-DS

In PNAS this week: ancient rat genome analysis gives hints to human migrations, WDR77 gene mutations in thyroid cancer, and more.

Purnell Choppin Dies

Purnell Choppin, a virologist who led the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has died at 91, according to the Washington Post.