FEATURED BIOTECHNOLOGY TECHNOLOGY PREVIEW

PNNL - Bio-Based Products - Renewable Commercial Commodities from Biological Materials

Companies are increasingly looking into transforming biomass—such as agricultural waste and even sewage-- into biofuel and other valuable products. PNNL is a leader in renewables research and technologies, including catalyst development, conversions of sugars to chemicals, thermochemical conversions, bio-oil upgrading, fermentation, and algal biotechnology. These fuels and products are significantly valuable to the airline and chemical industries for adding bio-based product lines and re-using waste from various sources. At SciTech Northwest you will see “before” and “after” samples of biomass to biofuel. You’ll also learn how PNNL has partnered with business to use these capabilities.   

University of Washington Institute for Protein Design - Designing Synthetic Proteins

The exquisite functions of naturally occurring proteins solve the challenges faced during evolution.  However, we face challenges today that were not faced during natural evolution. The goal of the Institute for Protein Design (IPD) is to develop and apply methods for designing a whole new world of synthetic proteins to address these challenges. To achieve this goal, the Institute for Protein Design was established in 2012, and is building on strengths within the University of Washington and Seattle more generally.  Protein design requires high-level expertise and talent in computing and software, biochemistry, genome sciences, biological structure, pharmacology, immunology and other basic science disciplines, as well as clinical medicine.  We are marshaling deep institutional strengths in our faculty, scientific staff, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, our partners from collaborating institutions, innovator networks, and from the computer and biotechnology industries — bringing extraordinary expertise to bear on a singular focus to advance the potential of protein design. Over the past 16 years, UW researchers have made significant progress in protein design and protein structure prediction, developing the world leading Rosetta software.  During this period, UW scientists have developed methods for designing proteins with a wide range of new functions, including catalysts for chemical reactions, HIV and RSV vaccine candidates, and flu virus inhibitors.  The IPD integrates these strengths in protein design with Seattle-area expertise in biochemistry, engineering, computer science and medicine, and leverages the exceptional Seattle strength in the software industry.

University of Washington - No More Rolling Stones, Innovations in Non-Invasive Kidney Stone Treatment

Each year, more than three million Americans see a physician for kidney stones and over 700,000 procedures are performed to break large kidney stones. A University of Washington research team developed ultrasound to reposition kidney stones in order to alleviate pain and facilitate passage of stones. Operated with a handheld probe that sends only sound waves through the skin, the machine images, accurately measures, fragments, and repositions kidney stones.  With patients awake, kidney stones can be managed in an office or clinic, while avoiding the radiation issues and cost of X-rays. One clinical trial has been conducted and additional human trials are planned. A new company, SonoMotion, Inc. has licensed the technology. At SciTech Northwest, participants will be able to image fragments and reposition stones inside a mannequin just as a doctor would, seeing the stones breaking and moving in real time. 

Washington State University - Expanding Capabilities of Personal Glucose Monitors

Personal glucose meters are accurate, portable, affordable monitoring devices that have helped diabetic patients keep track of their blood glucose levels for over 30 years. WSU researchers Annie Du and Yuehe Lin, who has a joint-appointment with PNNL, developed a technology that could expand the capabilities of these devices to monitor a nearly infinite number of environmental and health factors. The device allows an antibody paired to a molecule of interest to become the indicator on a standard glucose test strip. Using this method, any molecule that can be attached to an antibody can be tested in the field or office without the use of expensive or complicated laboratory equipment. The technology can be applied to existing strips and meters.Attendees can see the device and prototype test strips. Drs. Du and Lin are looking for industrial partners to commercialize this technology.

Washington State University - Accelerating Vaccine Development with Software Tool

A major challenge facing vaccine development for cattle worldwide is targeting the strains of bacteria that cause disease. Pathogens often have a large variety of strains that are dispersed globally. A quick way to track the presence of the pathogen and also look at strain distribution requires advanced capabilities for analysis of short DNA sequences called repeats. Researchers currently analyze and manually keep track of repeats – a time consuming and error-prone endeavor. Researchers Assefaw Gebremedhin and Kelly Brayton developed a software, RepeatAnalyzer, to improve that process. RepeatAnalyzer tracks, manages, analyzes and catalogues short, repeating sequences of bacterial DNA. The interdisciplinary team has developed a database that can analyze A. marginale, a tick-borne bacterium that affects cattle. The software can be extended to any other species with similar repeats. Attendees will be able to see demonstrations of the analysis and management capabilities offered by RepeatAnalyzer. 

 

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