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Advanced Lithium-Sulfur Battery Technology

Profs. Cengiz and Mihrimah Ozkan from the University of California, Riverside have developed multiple improvements to lithium-sulfur battery technology to increase their viability in commercial applications. These methods include the suppression of the shuttle effect via a magnetron sputtered titanium dioxide thin film, silicon and carbon nanocomposite spheres to enhance electrochemical performance, and a methodology for conditioning Li-S cells. With improvements like these, Li-S batteries may succeed lithium-ion cells because of their theoretically longer battery life and larger storage capacity that is ideal for devices like electric vehicles and handheld electronics. Fig 1: Schematic of enhanced Li-S battery anode material.  

Cycloadditions In Biological Systems Promoted By Strained Pi-bonds

The present invention provides modified cycloalkyne compounds; and method of use of such compounds in modifying biomolecules. The present invention features a cycloaddition reaction that can be carried out under physiological conditions. In general, the invention involves reacting a modified cycloalkyne with an azide moiety on a target biomolecule, generating a covalently modified biomolecule. The selectivity of the reaction and its compatibility with aqueous environments provide for its application in vivo (e.g., on the cell surface or intracellularly) and in vitro (e.g., synthesis of peptides and other polymers, production of modified (e.g., labeled) amino acids).

MicroRNA regulation of airway mucins for treatment of lung diseases

This invention describes a novel therapeutic microRNA target regulating mucus production for the management of symptoms caused by a range of lung diseases, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, and the common cold. Recently, a specific miRNA, along with its highly homologous family members, has been shown to be dysregulated in asthmatic subjects. To modulate the effect of these miRNAs, antagomirs (which target specific endogenous miRNAs and dampen their effect) or miRNA mimics can be administered via an inhaler, allowing for the regulation of mucus production. This invention is at the preclinical stage, and in vivo testing in a mouse model of asthma has shown that treatment with a specific miRNA antagomir results in a significant reduction of airway mucus production. While there are currently no effective therapies targeting mucus production in the airways, miRNAs are a promising new avenue for therapeutic intervention as they are fast-acting and reversible. 

Using Vacuolar Na+/H+ Antiporters to Increase Salt Tolerance in Plants

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a method that increases salt tolerance in plants. This method introduces a polynucleotide that encodes a Na+/H+ transporter polypeptide.

Esophageal Deflection Device

Cardiac ablations are common medical treatments for people with atrial fibrillation (Afib). During the ablation procedure, a cardiac electrophysiologist will thermally ablate, or burn off, defective heart tissue with radiofrequency or cryoablation technology. The esophagus is often in close proximity to the left atrium. Since the left atrial tissue is approximately 2mm thin, the heat can transfer through it to the esophagus in contact and cause thermal damage / lesions on the esophagus.  In worst-case rare scenarios, an atrio-esophageal fistula, or hole between the esophagus and the heart, can occur which has a ~75% mortality rate.  It would be ideal to move the esophagus away from the heart before or during the ablation procedure preventing thermal damage.

Automated Histological Image Processing tool for Identifying and Quantifying Tissue Calcification

Researchers at UCI have developed a method of identifying, quantifying, and visualizing tissue with calcification. The image processing tool can automatically characterize calcium deposits in CT images histological tissue, especially when it has accumulated in unusual places in the body.

Flow Chemistry Synthesis Of Diisocyanates From Algae Oil Derived Diacids

Isocyanates serve as important and versatile chemical intermediates in the manufacture of diverse products ranging from flexible and rigid polyurethane foams to agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals. The production of isocyanates today draws mainly from petrochemical raw materials, including benzene, toluene, propylene, and aniline, and they are produced industrially using phosgenation of alkyl or aromatic amines. This involves highly toxic phosgene and produces corrosive HCl, limiting synthetic applications.

Silicon Nanocrystals for Photon Up/ Down-Conversion

Profs. Ming Lee Tang and Lorenzo Mangolini from the University of California, Riverside have developed a method for synthesizing chemically functionalized non-toxic silicon nanocrystals. This technology works by producing silicon NCs with non-thermal plasma synthesis which are then functionalized with triplet acceptors to produce photon upconversion systems. This technology stands out among other NC-based triplet-fusion upconversion systems because when incorporated into aqueous micelles, this system functions indefinitely under anaerobic conditions and for tens of minutes upon exposure to oxygen. Fig. 1 Schematic of the aqueous photon upconverting micelles.