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New Recycling Methods For Li-Ion Batteries

Prof. Juchen Guo and his research team have discovered novel methods that use a liquid reagent to extract close to 100% of the metals lithium (Li), cobalt (Co), nickel (Ni) and manganese (Mn) from LiCoO2 (LCO) and LiNixMnyCo(1-x-y)O2 (NMC) cathodes, efficiently. This low cost process is easy to implement, scale up, low cost and is environmentally friendly.

Fast Electromigration Analysis For Multi-Segment Interconnects Using Hierarchical Physics-Informed Neural Network

Prof. Sheldon Tan and his team have developed a new hierarchical learning-based electro-migration analysis method called HierPINN-EM to solve for multi-segment interconnects in VLSI chips. HierPINN-EM provides much better accuracy, faster training speeds and faster inference speeds compared to current state-of-the-art techniques. 

Novel Hydrogel for Crop Drought Management

The Uhrich lab at the University of California, Riverside has developed a novel hydrogel, called salicylic acid-based poly(anhydride ester) or SAPAE,  for agricultural applications.  This hydrogel is comprised of bioactive, biocompatible polymers derived from salicylic acid that biodegrade into salicylic acid, which is a natural plant growth hormone. The hydrogel can cross-link itself or in combination with natural polymers forming three-dimensional networks capable of absorbing fertilizer, pesticides, and large amounts of water.  In addition to enhancing plant growth, salicylic acid alleviates drought stress.  The UCR hydrogel may be applied to soil so it not only releases salicylic acid but also water to counter drought. Fig 1: Illustration of SAPAE-based hydrogels that biodegrade into salicylic acid and also release encapsulated fertilizers and pesticides.

Rice Suberin Regulators For Abiotic Stress Tolerance

Professor Julia Bailey-Serres and colleagues from the University of California, Riverside have identified transcription factors involved in the synthesis and modulation of suberin in plants. These transcription factors can be gene-edited or otherwise engineered in rice or other monocot crops to alter suberin production – which can lead to development of new rice cultivars with enhanced tolerance to stresses ranging from increased soil salinity to drought to pest. Fig 1: Fluorol Yellow (FY) staining of rice crown roots for suberin in longitudinal views of the exodermis and radial cross sections under environmental conditions of well-watered (CON) or water deficit (WD).

Novel Cell Penetrating Peptide for Drug Delivery

Professor Min Xue and his lab at the University of California, Riverside have developed a novel hydrophilic endocytosis-promoting peptide (EPP6) rich in hydroxyl groups with no positive charge that may be used for drug delivery purposes. This peptide is non-toxic and has been shown to transport a wide array of small-molecule cargos into a diverse panel of cells. It enables oral administration and absorption through the intestinal lining, and crosses the BBB in vivo. UCR EPP6 is advantageous over existing technologies since it is nontoxic, efficiently enables oral absorption and transport across the BBB.  Fig 1: A) Structure of the UCR EPP. B) Confocal images showing that EPP6 was able to transport different cargo molecules into the cells. C) Orally administered EPP6 is absorbed by the intestines, entering the blood circulation and reaching the brain.  

Novel EphA4 Agonists for the Treatment of ALS

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) in collaboration Nationwide Children’s Hospital  have developed and characterized small peptidomimetics that act as EphA4 agonists. Given ALS is a heterogeneous disease, astrocytes reprogrammed from the fibroblasts of patients with sporadic and SOD1-linked ALS (iAstrocytes) were cultured with MNs and the UCR/Nationwide EphA4 agonists.  As seen in Fig. 1, these small agonistic peptidomimetics decrease MN death in iAstrocytes derived from sporadic ALS (sALS) cells.     

Heterogeneous Ruthenium Catalysts for Olefin Metathesis

Professor Matthew Conley from the University of California, Riverside has developed heterogeneous ruthenium catalysts for olefin metathesis. These catalysts have higher activity than state-of-the-art homogeneous catalysts in metathesis of terminal olefins.  They are combined with state-of-the-art anion capped materials that anchor positively charged Grubbs catalyst to the surface to form active heterogeneous olefin metathesis catalyst. This technology has the potential to produce heterogeneous catalysts that are less expensive, more efficient, and faster than the available homogenous ruthenium catalysts for olefin metathesis. Fig 1: Chemical structure of UCR’s heterogneous Grubb’s catalyst supported on functionalized silica for olefin metathesis.