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IP Roundup: MIT, CNRS, Fluidigm, Xerox, Duke University, Affymetrix, GE, and More


The Massachusetts Institute of Technology of Cambridge, Mass., has received US Patent No. 8,367,001, "Emissive sensors and devices incorporating these sensors." The patent claims sensors and methods for sensing analytes based on the sensors' luminescent properties. Analytes detectable by the sensors include electrophiles, alkylating agents, thionyl halides, and phosphate ester groups including phosphoryl halides, cyanides, and thioates such as those found in certain chemical warfare agents, according to the inventors.

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique of Paris has received US Patent No. 8,367,002, "Fluorescent organic nanocrystals for producing biosensors." The patent describes a nanomaterial containing an inorganic layer and an organomineral layer that is integrated with fluorescent nanocrystals that protrude from the layers to be in direct contact with the outside environment. According to the patent, the nanocrystals may be functionalized by grafting a biomolecule bearing a probe function, such as a half-strand of DNA, to produce a biochip.

Fluidigm of South San Francisco, Calif., has received US Patent No. 8,367,016, "Method and system for microfluidic device and imaging thereof." The patent claims a method for producing an image of an object within a chamber of a microfluidic device, providing the microfluidic device has x, y, and z dimensions and a chamber depth center point located along the z dimension. According to the patent, the chamber depth center point is located a known z dimension distance from a fiducial marking embedded within the microfluidic device. The method also includes placing the microfluidic device within an imaging system that includes an optical device capable of detecting the fiducial marking.

Xerox of Norwalk, Conn., has received US Patent No. 8,367,020, "Hydroxyl group-containing solid inks." The patent claims a method for making a microarray by ejecting droplets of a phase-change ink from an inkjet printer onto a substrate to form an image; allowing the image to solidify; and adhering a second substrate to the first substrate and the solidified image in a thickness direction. According to the patent, the phase-change ink consists of polymeric material containing hydroxyl groups, as well as an optional colorant.

Duke University of Durham, NC, has received US Patent No. 8,367,314, "Non-fouling polymeric surface modification and signal amplification method for biomolecular detection." The surface described in the patent contains a linking layer, a polymer layer consisting of brush molecules, and a specific binding pair, such as a protein, peptide, antibody, or nucleic acid, coupled to the brush molecules. According to the patent, the polymer layer is preferably formed by the process of surface-initiated polymerization of monomeric units.

Aaron Wheeler and Irena Barbulovic-Nad, both of Toronto, have received US Patent No. 8,367,370, "Droplet-based cell culture and cell assays using digital microfluidics." The claimed method relies on digital microfluidics to actuate nanoliter droplets of reagents and cells on a planar array of electrodes. According to the inventors, the DMF method is sutable for assaying and culturing both cells in suspension and cells grown on surface, and is advantageous for cell culture and assays due to the automated manipulation of multiple reagents in addition to reduced reagent use and analysis time.

Honeywell International of Morristown, NJ, has received US Patent No. 8,367,397, "Active biochip for nucleic acid analysis." The claimed biochip contains an inlet for introducing a nucleic acid sample, fluid channels, valves in contact with the fluid channels, and pumps in contact with the fluid channels that are adapted to generate a carrier gas or move a buffer through a portion of the fluid channels. The biochip also includes one or more hydroxyapatite columns for separating a portion of the nucleic acid sample, buffer reservoirs in contact with the fluid channels and positioned near the pumps, air exits, a waste reservoir, and a nucleic acid analysis region.

Affymetrix of Santa Clara, Calif., has received US Patent No. 8,369,596, "Feature intensity reconstruction of biological probe array." The patent provides methods and systems for reconstructing feature intensities from pixel level data. According to the patent, the method relies on an empirically determined transfer function to construct a theoretical estimate of pixel level data and then iteratively updates feature intensities based on a minimum multiplicative error between the pixel level data and the theoretical estimate of the pixel level data.

GE of Niskayuna, NY, has received US Patent No. 8,369,600, "Method and apparatus for detecting irregularities in tissue microarrays." According to the patent, in studies involving multiple biomarkers being studied on the same tissue microarray, the TMA slide is removed from the microscope, stained, and then imaged, often multiple times. The claimed techniques relate to validation of the registration of the acquired images of the same TMA. These include an automatic approach to register the images and detect registration failures, which could enhance the analysis of the tissues. Artifacts such as tissue folding and tissue loss are also determined automatically using the techniques, according to the inventors.