The Research Connection – December 2018: Biotechnology Edition
- Portable biosensing strips for detecting food contamination
- Developing a blood test for autism spectrum disorder
- Virtual retina will aid search for blindness cure
- Using Light to Help Alzheimer’s Patients
- Detecting early stage Alzheimer’s disease
- Detection of chemical and biological toxins
- Futuristic device enables faster and more reliable drug screening
This edition’s contributors:
Clarkson University | Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute | SUNY Research Foundation | Union College
Project: Scientists at Clarkson University are developing portable sensing devices that can provide rapid and affordable measurements of food quality and safety indicators. Current detection methodologies require skilled personnel, are time consuming and involve expensive laboratory-based instrumentation. Clarkson’s patented technology utilizes a new detection system based on color changes of an activated paper surface, enabling direct measurements of food contaminants, adulterants or nutritional antioxidants. These sensors can be used by consumers or regulatory agencies or industry. They can be implemented as smart labels to check the quality, shelf life or origin of raw materials or products. The sensing platform is versatile with applicability extending to areas such as environmental pollution or disease monitoring.
The team is interested in collaborating with practitioners in these areas for implementing and commercializing the technology. Two patents describing the innovation are available for licensing and other opportunities.
- Professor Silvana Andreescu | Email
Potential applications: Food and environmental sector; Biotechnology; Bio-diagnosis; Sensing companies
Developing a blood test for autism spectrum disorder
Project: Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – led by Juergen Hahn, professor and head of biomedical engineering – developed a physiological test for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In a follow-up study, they recently affirmed its ability to predict with 88 percent accuracy whether children have autism. A physiological test that supports a clinician’s diagnostic process has the potential to lower the age at which children are diagnosed, leading to earlier treatment. Additional research is being conducted on tests that could determine a pregnant mother’s level of risk of having a child diagnosed with ASD.
- Reeve Hamilton, Director of Media Relations, 518-833-4277 | Email
Potential applications: Autism diagnostics, autism research, biomedical research
Project: Research by computer science and mathematics faculty at SUNY Polytechnic Institute could one day help scientists discover a cure for blindness. The interdisciplinary team is combining fundus image analysis (capturing a photograph of the back of the eye) and mathematical modeling of the blood flow in the eye to create a virtual retina. The long-term goal is to enhance the model to the point where doctors can look at its predictions as equally reliable and informative as MRI images or blood tests.
Collaborate with the research team and learn about licensing the technology.
- Michael J. Reale, Assistant Professor of Computer Science | Email
- Edmond Rusjan, Associate Professor of Mathematics | Email
Potential applications: Biomedical research, diagnostics
Using Light to Help Alzheimer’s Patients
Project: The National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health has awarded a five-year grant totaling more than $4 million to the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to support research that could benefit the more than 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is associated with circadian disruption, which may be amplified by exposure to irregular light-dark patterns or constant dim light. This will be the first study to investigate whether a lighting intervention designed to re-entrain circadian rhythms can improve metabolic control in Alzheimer’s patients.
- Reeve Hamilton, Director of Media Relations, 518-833-4277 | Email
Potential applications: Alzheimer’s research, Lighting research, Light therapy
Project: Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), some medications can slow its progress. The sooner a doctor makes a diagnosis, the sooner treatment can begin. Igor Lednev, professor of chemistry at the University at Albany, has developed a new, non-invasive method for diagnosing AD that is based on Raman spectroscopy. Lednev expects to discover a pattern of chemical changes in blood that signals the presence of AD, making it possible to diagnose the disease before a patient begins showing symptoms of dementia.
Collaborate with Dr. Lednev, learn about licensing the technology.
Detection of chemical and biological toxins
Project: An interdisciplinary team of electrical engineers at Clarkson University, biochemists at City College of New York, and scientists at small business Phoebus Optoelectronics LLC, are developing a handheld, rapid sensor system to detect selected chemical and biological toxins, at levels 100 times better than existing state-of-the-art handheld sensors. Surface Plasmon Identifying and Detecting Array Metamaterial (SPIDAM) technology achieves this by using a functionalized plasmonic metasurface – a novel combination of a nanoscale light controlling surface (developed at Clarkson) and computationally designed proteins (developed at CCNY) – which allows the extremely sensitive and selective detection of a wide variety of targets, ranging from small molecules (e.g., VX) to proteins (e.g., ricin) to bacterial pathogens (e.g., Listeria Monocytogenes). Eventually, researchers hope to rapidly and inexpensively detect toxins on-site, aiding military personnel, first responders, and point-of-care medical providers in a broad range of public health and environmental monitoring applications.
The SPIDAM chem/bio sensor system can be customized to detect specific toxins or pathogens. Please contact Dr. David Crouse to explore opportunities to collaborate to develop a detector for your desired target.
- Dr. David Crouse | Email
Potential applications: Biomedical diagnostics, detection of chemical/biotoxins, environmental monitoring, public health
Futuristic device enables faster and more reliable drug screening
Project: University at Buffalo startup Cytocybernetics developed and sells the Cybercyte, a device that integrates electronics with individual cells to study how new medicines affect the cell’s electrical activity. By linking the Cybercyte to heart muscle cells, scientists can test pharmaceuticals for potentially fatal side effects such as heart attacks. The company is developing the Cybercyte for use with brain cells. If successful, this advancement will allow researchers to use the Cybercyte to study how drugs being developed for neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, affect electrical activity within individual neurons.
Discuss your projects by writing to Info@cytocybernetics.com.
Potential applications: Biomedical research, therapeutics
About The Research Connection:
The Research Connection is a quarterly feature in the Center for Economic Growth’s monthly, online newsletter, The CEG Indicator. This special feature highlights R&D being conducted by researchers at Capital Region colleges and universities and others throughout the SUNY system. The Research Connection spotlights academic R&D in CEG’s focus technology sectors: Nanotechnology and Semiconductors, Cleantech/Energy, Biotechnology, Advanced Materials, Population Health Technology and Information Technology. Each edition of The Research Connection will highlight several research projects in a specific technology sector. The Research Connection will keep CEG investors (2,500+) and CEG Indicator subscribers (9,000+) informed on the cutting-edge R&D that is being conducted by SUNY and other academic researchers that could potentially transform their industries. It will also encourage collaboration, patent, licensing and other opportunities.
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