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University of California, Promega, Matthew Gevaert , Karen Burg

The Regents of the University of California in Oakland have been awarded US Patent No. 7,118,899, entitled “Detection of transmembrane potentials by optical methods.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Roger Y Tsien and Jesus E. Gonzalez, III
According its abstract, the IP covers “methods and compositions [that] are provided for detecting changes in membrane potential in membranes biological systems. In one aspect, the method comprises: a) providing a living cell with a first reagent comprising a charged hydrophobic molecule which is typically a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) acceptor or donor, or is a quencher and is capable of redistributing within the membrane of a biological membrane in response to changes in the potential across the membrane; b) providing the cell with a second reagent that can label the first face or the second face of a biological membrane within the cell; [and] c) detecting light emission from the first reagent or the second reagent. One aspect of this method involves monitoring membrane potential changes in subcellular organelle membranes in a living cells. Another aspect of the invention is the use of certain embodiments of the method for the screening of test chemicals for activity to modulate the activity of a target ion channel. Another aspect of the present invention is a transgenic organism comprising a first reagent that comprises a charged hydrophobic fluorescent molecule, and a second reagent comprising a bioluminescent or naturally fluorescent protein.”

Promega has been awarded US Patent No. 7,118,878, entitled “Method for increasing luminescence assay sensitivity.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Erika Hawkins; John M. Centanni; Jacqueline Sankbeil; and Keith V. Wood
According to its abstract, the patent covers an invention that “provides kits and methods for increasing the sensitivity of a bio-luminescent assay, which employ an organic compound that, for instance, reduces luminescence that is not dependent on the presence of an analyte by at least about 10 fold and reduces luminescence that is dependent on the presence of an analyte by less than about 7 fold, reduces luminescence generated by luminogenic molecules not bound to an enzyme by at least about 10 fold and reduces the luminescence generated by luminogenic molecules bound to an enzyme by less than about 7 fold, or reduces autoluminescence by at least about 10 fold and reduces luminescence that is
dependent on the presence of an analyte by less than about 7 fold.”

Matthew Gevaert and Karen Burg have been awarded US Patent No. 7,118,909, “Apparatus and method for biomaterial assay.”
According its abstract, the patent covers “an apparatus to facilitate precise and efficient evaluation of biomaterials using direct contact cell culture techniques. The apparatus positions the biomaterial and creates the potential to form a fluid-tight seal between the biomaterial and the apparatus, at which point the biomaterial is exposed to cells and/or media. An assay method based on the apparatus is claimed.”
The abstract said the invention “is directed towards a laboratory device that facilitates studies using cell culture techniques to assay biomaterials. Specifically this invention is a device that facilitates control of the exposure of animal cells and/or media to biomaterials and the measure of the main and interaction effects of the cells, tissue and media on the biomaterials. By way of example, but not as a limitation, the device can be used to evaluate biomaterial toxicity or drug release from films. The laboratory device also facilitates the recovery of biomaterials, cells, tissues, and/or the cell-material interface following controlled experiments.”

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