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Automated Noninvasive Periodontal Depth Measurement Using Photoacoustic Imaging

Many people are familiar with the pocket depth measurements that occur in the dentist’s office. The dental technician pokes her periodontal probe into a patient’s gum line to measure how deep the probe will go. This is repeated tooth by tooth until the entire mouth is covered. Although inexpensive, probing depth measurements are error prone and suffer from poor reproducibility, largely due to variation in probing force. Indeed, a recent meta-analysis showed that a range of a variation of 20-fold. Other error sources include variation in the insertion point, probe angulation, the patient’s overall gingival health, and the presence of calculus. Thus, the examination is subject to large errors with inter-operator variation as high as 40%. These error sources can result in poor patient treatment and, hence, poor patient outcomes. This variation also compromises epidemiologic studies and makes it difficult to compare outcomes among dentists or among populations. Given these limitations, new tools are urgently needed to improve this procedure.

Macrophage Programming for Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is one of the most important areas in modern medicine. Using antibodies, proteins, and cells, physicians are now able to target a range of conditions with specificity. UC San Diego researchers have recently developed a new process for engineering macrophages to possess a broad range of sensing and programed actions for directed therapeutics.

Identification of Novel NLRP3 Inflammasome Inhibitors

The NLRP3 inflammasome is a molecular machine that becomes activated during acute and chronic inflammation and leads to production of biologically active IL-1β and IL-18 that initiate inflammatory responses triggered by tissue damage. The NLRP3 inflammasome has also been implicated in many chronic inflammatory and degenerative diseases from gout, osteoarthritis, atherosclerosis to Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, there are no effective ways to inhibit the NLRP3 inflammasome, thus there is a therapeutic need for this class of molecule.

Directed Editing Of Cellular RNA Via Nuclear Delivery Of CRISPR/Cas9

CRISPR-Cas9 technology has revolutionized the field of biological research through the introduction of sequence-specific genomic manipulation at the DNA level. It has also been reported that catalytically-dead Cas9 (dCas9) can successfully be localized to specific mRNAs within live cells. However, no system exists to perform Cas9-mediated sequence editing at the RNA level.

Generation of an Improved Synthetic Splice Modulator (FDGLY) That Mirrors the Structural Features of the Potential CLL In Vitro Inhibitor FD-895

 An increasing body of research has shown that alternations in RNA splicing are involved in a number of human diseases, particularly cancer. Drug regulation of splicing has become an interesting new target for therapeutic discovery. A number of drug discovery efforts aimed at developing splicing-modulating small-molecules are being tested in clinic trials for cancer.

A New and Cost-Effective Technology to Produce Hybrid-Glass/Optical Bubble Probes

The ability to accurately quantify gas volumes in liquid flows has important applications in environmental science and industry. For example, environmental processes that significantly contribute to changes in earth’s climate, such as methane seeps from the sea floor and the exchange of gases between the ocean and atmosphere at the sea surface, demand precise sensors that are small and sensitive enough to measure the ratio of liquids and gases in these bubbly mixtures. These measurements also play a critical role in the operational efficiency of a wide variety of different engineering processes. Applications include, the monitoring the optimal amount of bubbled oxygen in the treatment of waste water and sewage, and the oil and gas industry, especially in undersea oil pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico alone, have spent billions of dollars annually on added refinement techniques to remove seawater that could be preventable if sensors were able to measure the ratio of crude oil, seawater and gas as the mixture is pumped through pipelines. These challenges exist in both research and industry because the current manufacturing process for making the needed gas/liquid probes have significant cost constraints. Clearly, there is a need for a new and cost-effective technology to produce these probes.

Clock Power Reduction Utilizing Adiabatic Charging Method Via a Switched-Capacitor Circuit

Normally, charging a capacitive load from a voltage source invokes a ½ CV2 energy penalty. The concept of adiabatic charging, where the capacitor is charged more slowly than nominally afforded by the natural RC time constant of the charging circuit in the pursuit of reducing energy dissipation to below ½ CV2, has been around for decades. However, there has not been any solution to enabling this slow charging phenomenon in a practical, low-overhead embodiment. For example, prior work used separate DC-DC converters to provide multiple voltage levels, or used resonant inductors, both of which invoke significant area overhead.