Skip to Main Content Menu Search Site

Patent Digest: Winter 2020

Innovations in pathogen capture and detection, metabolic engineering, medical sensor and actuator technology, and more

To realize its overarching goal to invent and commercialize disruptive solutions for healthcare, energy, architecture, robotics, and manufacturing, the Wyss Institute is creating a patent portfolio in relevant areas that are or can become an essential basis for specific business development and commercialization efforts. To learn more about these innovations, contact our Business Development Team.

This Wyss Institute’s U.S. patents issued between January and March 2020 are as follows:

Patent Digest: Winter 2020
Pneumatic sensing actuator. Credit: Harvard University

Pneumatic sensing actuator

U.S. Patent 10,562,260 (February 18, 2020)

Yong-Lae Park, Robert J. Wood, Jobim Jose Robinsantos, and Eugene C. Goldfield

Abstract: A pneumatic artificial muscle (PAM) actuator body can be formed from an elastic material that includes an inflatable chamber and a restraining component, such as flexible, but inextensible fibers, that causes the actuator to contract when the chamber is inflated with fluid (e.g., air or water). The actuator body can be cylindrical or flat. The actuator body can include a sensor layer formed of an elastic material including a microchannel filled with a conductive fluid to sense the expansion of the actuator body. The sensor layer can be configured to expand when the actuator body is inflated causing the electrical resistance of the conductive fluid to change. A sensor layer between the actuator body and restraining component can be used to measure changes in the contraction force of the actuator and a sensor layer outside of the restraining component can be used to measure changes in the length of the actuator.

Methods and compositions for improving detection and/or capture of a target entity

U.S. Patent 10,551,379 (February 4, 2020)

Michael Super, Mark J. Cartwright, Martin M. Rottman, and Julie A. Tomolonis

Abstract: Methods, compositions, kits and systems for detecting and/or capturing a target entity in a sample are disclosed. In particular, the methods, compositions and kits described herein can be used for pretreatment of target-binding agents with a blocking agent to reduce non-target binding in a complex matrix (e.g., blood). Methods and compositions for detecting and/or capturing a microbe in a test sample, including bodily fluids such as blood and tissues of a subject, food, water, and environmental surfaces are also disclosed.

Methods for selecting microbes from a diverse genetically modified library to detect and optimize the production of metabolites

U.S. Patent 10,550,384 (February 4, 2020)

George M. Church, Srivatsan Raman, Noah D. Taylor, and Jameson Rogers

Abstract: The present invention relates to genetically modified bacteria and methods of optimizing genetically modified bacteria for the production of a metabolite.

Patent Digest: Winter 2020
Slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces and biological applications thereof. Credit: Harvard University

Slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces and biological applications thereof

U.S. Patent 10,550,272 (February 4, 2020)

Joanna Aizenberg, Benjamin Hatton, Donald Ingber, Michael Super, and Tak Sing Wong

Abstract: A self-healing, scratch resistant slippery surface that is manufactured by wicking a chemically-inert, high-density liquid coating over a roughened solid surface featuring micro and nanoscale topographies is described. Such a slippery surface shows anti-wetting properties, as well as exhibits significant reduction of adhesion of a broad range of biological materials, including particles in suspension or solution. Specifically, the slippery surfaces can be applied to medical devices and equipment to effectively repel biological materials such as blood, and prevent, reduce, or delay coagulation and surface-mediated clot formation. Moreover, the slippery surfaces can be used to prevent fouling by microorganisms such as bacteria.

Genetic reprogramming of bacterial biofilms

U.S. Patent 10,550,160 (February 4, 2020)

Neel Satish Joshi, Peter Q. Nguyen, and Zsofia Magarian

Abstract: Described herein are methods and compositions relating to engineered curli fibers, e.g. CsgA polypeptide. In some embodiments, the methods and compositions described herein relate to functionalized biofilms.

Patent Digest: Winter 2020
Genetic reprogramming of bacterial biofilms. Credit: Harvard University

Single-stranded DNA nanostructures

U.S. Patent 10,550,145 (February 4, 2020)

Dongran Han, Cameron Myhrvold, and Peng Yin

Abstract: The present disclosure relates to nanostructures assembled from nucleic acid consisting of a single strand of DNA rationally-designed to self-assemble into a hairpin loop, helical domains, and locking domains.

Fusion proteins for treating cancer and related methods

U.S. Patent 10,538,566 (January 21, 2020)

Jeffrey Charles Way and Avram Lev Robinson-Mosher

Abstract: Aspects of the disclosure provide fusion proteins that bind cells expressing one or more target molecules including, for example, one or more cell surface multisubunit signaling receptors (e.g., EGFRvIII-expressing cells that also express interferon receptors) and that induce anti-proliferative effects, and related compositions and methods for the treatment of cancer.

Engineered opsonin for pathogen detection and treatment

U.S. Patent 10,538,562 (January 21, 2020)

Michael Super, Jeffrey Charles Way, and Donald E. Ingber

Abstract: The present invention provides for engineered molecular opsonins that may be used to bind biological pathogens or identify subclasses or specific pathogen species for use in devices and systems for treatment and diagnosis of patients with infectious diseases, blood-borne infections or sepsis. An aspect of the invention provides for mannose-binding lectin (MBL), which is an abundant natural serum protein that is part of the innate immune system. The ability of this protein lectin to bind to surface molecules on virtually all classes of biopathogens (viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoans) make engineered forms of MBL extremely useful in diagnosing and treating infectious diseases and sepsis.

Patent Digest: Winter 2020
Artificial skin and elastic strain sensor. Credit: Harvard University

Artificial skin and elastic strain sensor

U.S. Patent 10,527,507 (January 7, 2020)

Robert J. Wood, Yong-Lae Park, Carmel S. Majidi, Bor-rong Chen, Leia Stirling, Conor James Walsh, Radhika Nagpal, Diana Young, and Yigit Menguc

Abstract: An elastic strain sensor can be incorporated into an artificial skin that can sense flexing by the underlying support structure of the skin to detect and track motion of the support structure. The unidirectional elastic strain sensor can be formed by filling two or more channels in an elastic substrate material with a conductive liquid. At the ends of the channels, a loop port connects the channels to form a serpentine channel. The channels extend along the direction of strain and the loop portions have sufficiently large cross-sectional area in the direction transverse to the direction of strain that the sensor is unidirectional. The resistance is measured at the ends of the serpentine channel and can be used to determine the strain on the sensor. Additional channels can be added to increase the sensitivity of the sensor. The sensors can be stacked on top of each other to increase the sensitivity of the sensor. In other embodiments, two sensors oriented in different directions can be stacked on top of each other and bonded together to form a bidirectional sensor. A third sensor formed by in the shape of a spiral or concentric rings can be stacked on top and used to sense contact or pressure, forming a three dimensional sensor. The three dimensional sensor can be incorporated into an artificial skin to provide advanced sensing.

Engineered microbe-targeting molecules and uses thereof

U.S. Patent 10,526,399 (January 7, 2020)

Donald E. Ingber, Michael Super, Jeffrey Charles Way, Mark J. Cartwright, Julia B. Berthet, Dinah R. Super, Martin Rottman, and Alexander L. Watters

Abstract: Described herein are engineered microbe-targeting or microbe-binding molecules, kits comprising the same and uses thereof. Some particular embodiments of the microbe-targeting or microbe-binding molecules comprise a carbohydrate recognition domain of mannose-binding lectin, or a fragment thereof, linked to a portion of a Fc region. In some embodiments, the microbe-targeting molecules or microbe-binding molecules can be conjugated to a substrate, e.g., a magnetic microbead, forming a microbe-targeting substrate (e.g., a microbe-targeting magnetic microbead). Such microbe-targeting molecules and/or substrates and the kits comprising the same can bind and/or capture of a microbe and/or microbial matter thereof, and can thus be used in various applications, e.g., diagnosis and/or treatment of an infection caused by microbes such as sepsis in a subject or any environmental surface. Microbe-targeting molecules and/or substrates can be regenerated after use by washing with a low pH buffer or buffer in which calcium is insoluble.

RNA-guided gene drives

U.S. Patent 10,526,618 (January 7, 2020)

Kevin M. Esvelt and Andrea L. Smidler

Abstract: RNA guided Cas9 gene drives and method for their use are disclosed.

Close menu