2015 Abstracts

University of Missouri

Semen Extender Additive for Artificial Insemination, In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer

The current invention developed by MU researchers is a simple and inexpensive additive for semen extenders and fertilization media that improves fertilization rates after
artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization. In addition, mammalian oocytes fertilized in vitro in a medium with the additive have superior developmental potential, benefiting commercial embryo transfer in livestock species and infertility treatment in humans.

Artificial insemination is a technology that has aided both human and animal reproduction.  However, artificial insemination does not always result in pregnancy. In the food animal production industry, an animal that does not conceive after artificial insemination results in inefficiencies and potential economic loss for the producer. In humans, the emotional toll and financial costs for couples unsuccessful in conceiving can be substantial. Both the human- and animal-assisted reproductive industries are billion dollar industries, and inventions that improve fertilization rates are highly sought after.

Potential Areas of Application
  • Semen extender with improved sperm viability and motility
  • Media increasing the pregnancy rates after in vitro fertilization
  • Media for embryo transfer in farm animals
Patent StatusPatents Pending
Inventor(s)
  • Peter Sutovsky
  • Young-Joo Yi
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Element 1 Antisense Morpholinos

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a lethal genetic disease in infants that causes degeneration of SMN protein in the spinal cord. In humans, SMN protein is produced by a gene called Survival Motor Neuron 1 (SMN1). Loss of the SMN1 gene in newborns leads to the development of SMA and ultimately death. An identical gene to SMN1 (known as Survival Motor Neuron 2(SMN2)) is expressed in humans but can only make a fraction of SMN protein. SMN2 lacks a final coding exon (exon 7) that permits SMN1 the ability to create an abundant amount of SMN protein. However, infants with SMA retain a copy of SMN2, thereby making an ideal target to modulate its splicing patterns and produce more SMN protein. The current invention developed by MU researchers utilizes Morpholino chemistry to create a SMN2 specific antisense oligonucleotide (ASO). This antisense oligonucleotide anneals to a repressor region of SMN2 exon 7 called Element 1 (E1). Uninhibited E1 activity leads to the reduced production of SMN protein by the SMN2 gene. The antisense oligonucleotide blocks E1 repressive activity and allows the SMN2 gene to express large amounts of SMN protein. This gene therapy can help replenish the defect of SMN protein seen in infants with SMA.

Potential Areas of Application
  • Pharmaceutical companies developing SMA-specific therapies
Patent StatusPatents Pending
Inventor(s)
  • Christian Lorson
  • Erkan Osman
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

TitleSuperior Method to Artificially Activate Pig Embryos to Generate Cloned Pigs

MU researchers have developed an improved method for increasing the efficiency of cloning pigs. This method improves the efficiency of oocyte activation with unfertilized mammalian oocyte and is less time-consuming than current industry methods.

This is a novel method to activate reconstructed pig embryos. Unlike other methods available, this new approach does not fully rely on calcium signal to activate reconstructed embryos. By chemically stimulating the downstream pathway of calcium signaling, reconstructed pig embryos can be successfully activated. In addition, the procedure is simple and user-friendly. This method may benefit the genetically-engineered pig industry by increasing the efficiency and success in generating genetically modified pigs at reduced costs.

Potential Areas of Application
  • Genetically-engineered pigs:
    • to provide human compatible cells, tissues and organs for the treatment of human diseases,
    • to produce tissues for human transplant surgeries,
    • for medical and veterinary research.
  • Increased production of porcine-derived food products
Patent StatusPatent Pending
Inventor(s)
  • Kiho Lee
  • Randall S. Prather
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Novel, Easy-to-Prepare Tarnished Plant Bug Rearing Diet

The current invention developed at the University of Missouri presents a new artificial diet for Tarnished Plant Bugs (Lygus lineolaris) and a unique method for preparing this bug diet. These bugs are considered pests for over half of all commercially-grown crops, including cotton and alfalfa. Tarnished Plant Bugs are the most common plant pest in the United States and cause millions of dollars in crop damage and yield loss annually. Previously, Tarnished Plant Bugs were commonly reared for study on difficult to prepare artificial diets that required multiple, labor and time-intensive steps or cost-prohibitive natural diets, such as host plant tissues. The current technology is a method and special combination of ingredients which removes the need for antibiotics and sterilization, shortens the process to two simple steps, and requires only ten minutes to make. Multiple generations of Tarnished Plant Bug nymphs and egg-laying adults have been successfully reared on this new diet.

There are many thousands of insect colonies being reared in laboratories throughout the United States by researchers at universities, chemical companies, and government facilities for research on characteristics such as the insects’ ecology, systematics, and resistance to chemicals. An artificial diet to feed these insects significantly reduces the costs and resources needed to maintain these pests on whichever host plant is the focus of the study. The current technology is a method and specific combination of nutrients that allows for the economical and rapid creation of a suitable diet for the Tarnished Plant Bug.

Potential Areas of Application
  • Artificial diet for the rearing of Tarnished Plant Bugs
  • Inexpensive approach to feed Tarnished Plant Bugs for research studies to determine more effective means of control
Patent Status
  • Under Evaluation
Inventor(s)
  • Moneen M. Jones
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Medium Supplement to Increase the Efficiency of Oocyte Maturation and Embryo Culture in Vitro

The current invention from MU describes a chemically defined medium supplement consisting of a synergistic combination of growth factors. This media supplement provides a greater number of high-quality in vitro matured (IVM) oocytes and in vitro cultured (IVC) embryos than other protocols currently marketed, and eliminates various drawbacks of using undefined conditions.

Oocyte IVM and embryo IVC have wide applications in basic research, human medicine and agricultural production. However, in many species, the success and the quality of in vitro produced oocytes and embryos is often very low when compared to their in vivo counterparts. Studies indicated that certain important components are still missing in the current culture system and result in compromised oocyte and embryo quality. This invention provides a defined oocyte maturation and embryo culture environment that can improve oocyte maturation and subsequent in vitro production of embryos.

Potential Areas of Application
  • Produce more competent IVM oocytes from livestock that can be used to produce a greater number of competent embryos for transfer
  • Improve the efficiency of human oocyte IVM and help broaden the use of IVM for fertility preservation
  • Improve the efficiency of IVM of oocytes from rare and endangered species for wildlife conservation
Patent StatusUnder Evaluation
Inventor(s)
  • Ye Yuan
  • Lee D. Spate
  • Randall S. Prather
  • R. Michael Roberts
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Air Pulse Device for Laryngeal Adductor Reflex Evaluation

The current invention developed at MU presents a unique technology to objectively measure the laryngeal adductor reflex (LAR). This technology may be used to quantify and evaluate the LAR in all types of mammals ranging from laboratory rodents to horses and humans. This system utilizes air pulses, which may be delivered to the vocal cords at varying pressures and durations, and has many advantages. The integrated control system allows numerous LAR responses to be obtained with minimal operator input and is designed to interface with commercially available endoscopes. This technology will improve the diagnosis and treatment of mammals affected with maladies that exhibit LAR abnormalities, such as dysphagia and neurological disorders. Current systems only measure the threshold pressure that elicited the LAR, whereas this technology is capable of measuring the response in its entirety, allowing  more accurate diagnosis and treatment.

The LAR is a brief, bilateral and involuntary closure of the vocal folds that prevents foreign material from entering the airway. One of the most clinically significant applications of the LAR is its use in laryngopharyngeal sensory
discrimination testing. 

Potential Areas of Application
  • Diagnosis of dysphagia in mammals
  • Early screening for neurological disorders, such as ALS and Parkinson’s
  • Prediction of vocal cord dysfunction and pediatric apneas
Patent StatusPatent Pending
Inventor(s)
  • Teresa Lever
  • Cameron Hinkel
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Optical Polarization Tractography: A New High Resolution Imaging Technology for Early Detection of Diseased Tissues

The current invention from MU utilizes non-destructive optical polarization tractography (OPT) to generate high-resolution, three-dimensional (3D) images of tissue fiber organization from cellular to organ levels. This technology can be utilized in clinical diagnosis to identify various abnormal and diseased tissues of various types, such as skeletal muscle, nerve fiber, dental tissue, cartilage, heart muscle and blood vessel. The technology is portable, low-cost to implement and can identify fiber disorganization/ damage in skeletal and cardiac muscle for early detection of heart diseases and other tissue fiber abnormalities.

Current tissue imaging technologies, such as optical coherence tomography (OCT), cannot provide accurate images of the fiber architecture in fibrous tissues. Changes to the fibrous structure of various biological tissues generally occur under disease or pathological conditions, such as the onset and progression of heart failure or atherosclerosis. Cellular level fiber architecture changes are excellent biomarkers for early disease diagnosis and for monitoring disease progression and response to therapy. Unfortunately, current tissue imaging technologies do not have the resolution to detect fiber organization changes at the cellular level. The current invention of OPT technology represents a revolutionary advancement in tissue imaging technology that can improve our understanding of pathogenesis, monitoring of progression of disease conditions and assist in treatment modalities by offering unique imaging capabilities, such as detailed 3D tissue visualization with cellular resolution.

Potential Areas of Application
  • An effective, low cost, portable imaging tool to reveal tissue fiber abnormalities in skeletal muscles, nerve fibers, dental tissue, cartilage, heart muscles and blood vessels
  • Provide more detailed images of complicated tissues by offering 3D capabilities, high imaging speed and cellular-level spatial resolution
Patent StatusPatent Pending
Inventor(s)
  • Gang Yao
  • Dongsheng Duan
  • Yuanbo Wang
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Non-Invasive Diagnosis of Pulmonary Diseases in Small Animals

The current invention from MU is a technology for non-invasive diagnostic analysis of pulmonary diseases in cats and dogs, such as feline asthma. The invention consists of methods and devices to capture the animal’s breath as a liquid and utilize NMR-based and statistical analyses combined with novel biomarkers to distinguish healthy from diseased (asthmatic) animals. This technology is also predicted to be applicable as a more sensitive alternative to current asthma diagnostics for humans.

Allergic asthma in cats is very similar to human asthma. The incidence of asthma in domestic cats is growing, due to an increase in exposure to environmental pollutants. When an asthma attack occurs, their airways constrict, making it very difficult for a cat to breathe. This often leads to respiratory distress, which can become grave in a matter of minutes and needs veterinary evaluation.

Current invasive measures, such as deep lung samples requiring general anesthesia, are usually taken to reach a definitive diagnosis of asthma in cats, but these approaches put the pet at risk. This invention provides a non-
invasive, pet-friendly option to diagnose asthma and
other pulmonary conditions in small animals.

Potential Areas of Application
  • Non-invasive, sensitive, and safe approach to detect allergic asthma in cats
  • Identification of biomarkers of asthma in small animals with possible application in human asthma diagnosis
  • Potential for development of a similar diagnostic approach to test for a variety of pulmonary diseases in small animals, many with relevance to human disease (e.g., lung cancer)
Patent StatusUnder Evaluation
Inventor(s)
  • Carol Reinero
  • Steven R. Van Doren
  • Yan G. Fulcher
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Novel Assay for Detecting Multiple Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia Coli and Salmonella for new USDA Standards

The current invention from MU is a novel assay to detect seven Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) serogroups, seven Shiga toxin genes and Salmonella in non-intact beef.  Specifically, the assay involves only two multiplex melt-curve real-time PCR reactions for detecting 15 target genes. The assay includes a specifically designed internal amplification control (IAC) for each reaction that ensures robustness and minimizes false negative results. Specific primers were designed and uniquely optimized to detect each individual STEC serogroup without any cross-reactivity to other STEC serogroups, or Salmonella strains. Unlike commercially available methods, this assay does not rely on fluorescent labelled probes or magnetic beads to detect and discriminate among targeted STEC serogroups. Instead, it relies on unique melting temperatures of the specific DNA sequences from each serogroup, which will reduce assay costs and extend test reagent shelf life. The assay has been tested on a variety of food products such as ground beef, beef trimmings, juices, produce and poultry products, has a shortened enrichment period (10-12 hours or less) and obtains a highly sensitive detection level while being simple to perform.

There is a current lack of rapid, accurate and sensitive methods for detecting STEC strains that cause serious illnesses, including a fatal hemolytic uremic syndrome (kidney failure). Moreover, commercially available assays for the detection of STEC serogroups use fluorescent probes or antibody-based approaches, which are more expensive and have shorter storage lives. This method has modest requirements and can be compatible with other real-time PCR, or automated diagnostics platform, making it a convenient and most cost effective method for the
detection of STEC and Salmonella.

Potential Areas of Application
  • Potential to become a standard assay for STEC detection in the food industry and food regulatory agencies, such as meat, produce and juice testing
Patent StatusPatent Pending
Inventor(s)
  • Azlin Mustapha
  • Prashant Singh
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Targeting Peptide for the HER2/ErbB-2 Receptor

Cancer is often treated with drugs that indiscriminately kill cells in the body that are actively growing, and these treatment regimes may have severe side effects. A large development effort is therefore directed toward designing treatments that only target cancer cells, and such treatments typically employ antibodies against proteins on the surface of cancer cells. For example, HER2/ErbB-2 is a growth-factor receptor that is amplified in 30 percent of breast cancers and that is a target for several antibody therapies. However, peptides possess properties that make them superior to large molecules like antibodies for many therapeutic and diagnostic uses, including identifying and targeting cancer cells and preventing cancer cells from growing. Peptides that target cancer cells are therefore of high value.

The current invention developed by MU researchers is a novel six amino acid peptide that selectively binds HER2/ErbB-2. HER2 is a growth factor receptor that is over-expressed by breast and prostate cancer cells.  Over-expression has been shown to be causative in the development of these cancers. The HER2 targeting peptide only binds to cells that express the HER2 receptor and has an excellent potential to be developed into an agent for targeted cancer therapy, cancer cell detection and cancer imaging.

Potential Areas of Application
  • A targeting vehicle for therapeutic agents and imaging agents against breast and prostate cancers
Patent StatusPatents Issued and Pending
Inventor(s)
  • Thomas P. Quinn
  • Natalia Karasseva
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Crop Yield Prediction from Aerial Images

Crop production is increasingly dependent on technology to maximize yield with minimum cost and labor. Crop yield loss can occur for various reasons, one of which is nitrogen deficiency caused by wet weather. Nitrogen loss is often patchy and many crop producers do not apply rescue nitrogen when nitrogen loss has occurred, due to expense and logistical difficulties.

The current invention developed by MU researchers is a technology that will predict crop yield loss at mid-season. This revolutionary technology allows corn, wheat, rice, and potato producers to assess economic loss due to nitrogen deficiency and make sound business decisions about the profitability of mid-season fertilizer application. The color measured aerial imagery produced can be used to target rescue nitrogen applications to areas where profitable yield responses will be obtained, thereby maximizing the crop’s yield potential using minimum labor and fertilizer. 

Potential Areas of Application
  • Detect areas for mid-season fertilizer application
  • Analyze economic outcome of mid-season fertilizer application
  • Predict yields of crops including corn, wheat, rice and potato 
Patent StatusPatents Issued
Inventor(s)
  • Peter C. Scharf
  • Vicky Hubbard 
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Crop Resistance to Nematodes

Parasitic nematodes that attack plant roots are estimated to cause an annual worldwide crop damage of over $100 billion. For soybeans, the most important pathogen is the nematode Heterodera glycines, which in the U.S. causes an annual loss of more than 120 million bushels valued at over $1.2 billion. Other Heterodera species can cause significant damage to corn, while potato nematodes of the Globodera genus can result in up to 60 percent reduction in potato yield. Crops resistant to nematodes are, therefore, of great economic interest.

The current invention developed by MU researchers is a genetic approach to make plants resistant to infestation from cyst nematodes attacking soybeans, corn and potatoes. The nematodes secrete effector proteins in order to connect with the plant’s root cells, and plants lacking the receptors these effector proteins interact with have increased nematode resistance. Disruption of the plant receptors did not result in obvious changes to root growth in the plant and can be employed to develop a novel management tactic to reduce cyst nematode parasitism of crop plants. 

Potential Areas of Application
  • Nematode resistant corn, soybean and potato crops
Patent StatusPatent Pending
Inventor(s)
  • Melissa Goellner Mitchum
  • Amy Replogle
  • Jianying Wang
  • Xiaohong Wang
  • Shiyan Chen
  • Ping Lang
  • Eric L. Davis
  • Thomas J. Baum
  • Richard Hussey 
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Engineered Minichromosomes in Plants

The use of genetically modified crops is constantly finding new areas of application, including the production of compounds with therapeutic value. Current technology for producing transgenic crops relies on random integrations that can have variable expression and could potentially disrupt the endogenous genes. Also, combining multiple transgenes requires a lengthy crossing scheme and can bring along linked genes from one variety into another.

The current invention developed by MU researchers is a technology that will allow continued addition of transgenes as the need arises using engineered plant minichromosomes. Artificial chromosome platforms were produced by telomere-mediated truncation while simultaneously adding DNA sequences that will permit amendments to the chromosome indefinitely. These minichromosomes can be used as a vector for efficient stacking of multiple genes for insect, bacterial and fungal resistances together with herbicide tolerance and crop quality traits unlinked to endogenous genes in a circumstance that would foster faithful expression. 

Potential Areas of ApplicationGenetically engineered crops 
Patent StatusPatents Issued and Pending
Inventor(s)
  • James A. Birchler
  • Weichang Yu
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Bucks Unlimited Oak

Swamp white oak is one of the most common tree types in the United States. The white oak grows predominantly in the Eastern and Midwestern regions of the U.S. and has adapted to a multitude of environments. With a significant presence in such diverse conditions, many animals rely on the white oak as a source of food. In particular, their acorns are considered the most favorable food source for many wildlife species, including white tail deer and wild turkey. However, normal white oak seedlings begin producing acorns at a minimum of 20-30 years with the greatest production between 75-100 years.

The current invention from researchers at the University of Missouri is a seedling-origin tree derived from grafted, select white oak clones that can produce acorns at a very young age. Over 50 percent of swamp white oaks grown at the Center for Agroforestry Research Farm in central Missouri produced acorns in as early as 5 years. This could prove to be very advantageous for individuals and organizations interested in habitat enhancement and environment conservation.

Potential Areas of Application
  • Private landowners interested in wildlife conservation
  • State and federal government agencies associated with forestry conservation
  • Research institutes specializing in forestry and wildlife
Patent Status
  • Registered Trademark 
Inventor(s)
  • Mark V. Coggeshall
Contact Info

Samuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

ThermalAid- A Smartphone Application to Aid in the Detection of Heat Stress in Livestock

The National Climatic Data Center stated that the 2011 summer was the hottest in over 75 years, with 2012 surpassing that level. Livestock are especially vulnerable to heat stress that could result in reduced productivity and death. Livestock loss from this stress can cost dairy, beef, and swine industries hundreds of millions of dollars. The present method to reduce heat stress uses a heat index that requires elaborate analysis and, as a result, is underutilized.

 The current invention, from researchers at the University of Missouri, is a smart phone application called ThermalAid that combines weather and animal information to identify heat stress in livestock and make decisions to animal welfare during the summer months. This application can be utilized at three levels depending on the specific needs. Weather information from a locality can be used to project a general level of heat stress. At the next level, the producer can enter herd information and a new index will be produced. Finally, the user can enter thermal stress information for specific animals. Additionally, the information gathered can be sent to a university web site, where it is logged to provide additional help and suggestions. 

Potential Areas of Application
  • Global livestock farmers in developed and third-world countries
  • Geographical areas with animals susceptible to heat stress
Patent Status

Registered Trademark 

Inventor(s)
  • Donald E. Spiers
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

K9 Observation Kennel

Radiographic examinations are one of the most common diagnostic tools in veterinary practices and animal research labs. The problem with many of these examinations is that an animal has to remain relatively still in order to obtain quality radiographic images. Likewise, if a videofluoroscopic test is required, the animal has to be restrained to complete the test. There are various methods employed to control an animal, including manual restraints, sedation, short-acting anesthesia and human intervention. However, each of these methods prevent testing of typical animal behaviors and result in anxiety in the animal, which prevents accurate diagnosis. In addition, the use of restraint methods results in increased radiation exposure to technicians.

The current invention developed by MU researchers is a translucent and radiolucent kennel designed for a safe and efficient means for conducting behavioral and radiographic examinations on animals. The kennel is designed to permit a variety of assessments in several anatomical planes while providing a comfortable testing environment for animals and technicians. Radiographic examinations can be conducted without restraints while permitting quality spot images as well as accurate videofluoroscopic tests. 

Potential Areas of Application
  • Veterinary practices that require radiographic and behavioral tests
  • Animal researchers who utilize radiographic and behavioral tests
  • Veterinary schools for the purpose of teaching
  • Pharmaceutical companies completing animal trials
Patent StatusPatent Issued
Inventor(s)
  • Teresa E. Lever
  • Joan R. Coates
  • Mitchell Allen
  • Laila Al-Khashti
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Osteoarthritis Biomarker Panel

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis in humans and affects almost 10 percent of the population in the U.S. and Europe. Currently, there is no commercially available assay(s) for diagnosis, staging or monitoring of the disease. The most common clinical approach uses physical examination and radiographic (X-ray) findings for evaluation of subjects that are exhibiting symptoms. This approach results in osteoarthritis being definitively diagnosed after it has significantly impaired function and quality of life. At this point, therapeutic options may be less efficacious.

The current invention developed by MU researchers is a human biomarker panel that may be useful for determining presence, severity and extent of OA. The panel uses readily available fluid samples, which are analyzed for specific biomarkers associated with OA. By comparing the levels of biomarkers in the fluid samples to normal values, the panels will allow for diagnosis, screening, staging and judging of the effectiveness of treatments with high certainty. 

Potential Areas of Application
  • In-clinic tests for diagnosis, screening, staging, treatment monitoring and prognostication of OA
Patent StatusPatents Pending
Inventor(s)
  • James L. Cook
  • Aaron M. Stoker
  • Keiichi             Kuroki
  • Bridget Garner
  • Cristi Reeves Cook
  • Richard Evans
  • Brandon Roller
  • Prakash Jayabalan 
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Hybrid Synthetic-Biologic Joint Arthroplasty Systems

The current invention developed by MU researchers comprises a group of related implants, instruments and techniques that provide a variety of options for performing joint replacement and resurfacing surgeries. The implants will be composed of a synthetic component and a biologic component combined together. The hybrid implants are designed to optimize long term success in joint replacement and resurfacing surgery of all major joints by combining the advantages of synthetic and biologic arthroplasty techniques while minimizing the disadvantages of each.

The demand for joint replacement surgeries is expected to rise exponentially in coming years, based on rising elderly populations and an increase in sedentary lifestyle in the United States. However, existing methods of implanting joint replacements are not capable of measuring forces from a variety of real-life impact situations and cannot be tailored to an individual patient’s needs.

Potential Areas of Application
  • Treatment for focal cartilage defects of the knee, ankle, elbow and shoulder
  • Partial and complete hemi-arthroplasties for trauma or arthritis
  • Total joint arthroplasty of the knee, shoulder, hip, ankle, elbow, wrist, TMJ, fingers and toes for trauma and/or arthritis 
Patent Status

Patents Issued and Pending

Inventor(s)
  • James L. Cook
  • Clark T. Hung
  • Gerard Ateshian
  • Eric Lima
  • Li Ming Bian
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Rotator Cuff Bone-Tendon Allograft

Rotator cuff problems occur when one or more tendons that connect shoulder muscles to bone become torn, leading to pain and dysfunction of the arm. The tears may occur as the result of acute trauma to the shoulder, particularly in athletes, or from chronic wear and tear, especially in the elderly. Rotator cuff problems are commonly associated with activities that require repetitive overhead motions or forceful pulling motions. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 50,000 rotator cuff surgeries per year. While smaller, single-tendon tears can often be managed successfully non-operatively or by direct arthroscopic repair, the majority of tears involve larger defects, multiple tendons, and/or a degenerative component that leaves the muscle-tendon unit severely dysfunctional and predisposes the shoulder to arthritis. For these more severe tears, surgical reconstruction is typically required to restore function to the arm. Current surgical repairs entail the use of suture and bone anchors or soft tissue scaffolds to address the tissue defects and associated dysfunction. However, these techniques are not designed to be "spanning" or "structural" grafts and therefore are not able to replace irreparable tendon tissue, re-establish the critical bone-tendon and tendon-muscle junctions, and restore full shoulder function.

The current invention developed by researchers at the University of Missouri provides a FDA-approved biomaterial for use in rotator cuff repair as well as a method that when used in rotator cuff repair, could result in the overall function of a repaired rotator cuff that is similar to a healthy, uninjured rotator cuff. 

Potential Areas of Application
  • Rotator cuff surgical repair
  • Rotator cuff surgical reconstruction
  • Glenoid bone reconstruction 
Patent Status

Patent Application Pending

Inventor(s)
  • James L. Cook 
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Tool and Process Alignment and Site Preparation of Novel Rotator Cuff Grafts

Rotator cuff tears are one of the most common shoulder joint injuries. This injury occurs when one or more tendons that connect shoulder muscles to bone become torn, leading to pain and dysfunction of the arm. Between 1998 and 2004, over 5 million physician visits were associated with rotator cuff problems.  There are multiple options to help repair a rotator cuff injury depending on the severity. Smaller tears can be managed non-operatively; however, larger injuries require surgical reconstruction to restore arm function.  In the U.S. alone, there are more than 50,000 surgeries completed every year. Tissue allografts are a common surgical technique utilized to repair tendon damage and fully restore function to the shoulder. However, without proper site preparation for the allograft site, failure rates of surgery can range from 20% to 70%, leading to increased discomfort and additional surgeries later in life. 

The current invention from researchers at the University of Missouri is an FDA-approved biomaterial used for rotator cuff repair/allograft site design as well as an improved surgery method that could increase surgery success rates.

Potential Areas of Application
  • Rotator cuff surgical repair
  • Rotator cuff reconstruction
Patent Status

Patent Application Pending

Inventor(s)
  • Ferris Pfeiffer
  • Matthew J. Smith
  • James L. Cook
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Anti-SARS Drug Using Helicase Inhibitors

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), a life-threatening form of pneumonia, was identified in 2003 as a never before seen disease. Currently, no approved therapeutics for the treatment of SARS infection exists. In 2002, SARS emerged from Southern China and spread to other parts of the world, including North America, South America, and Europe. The World Health Organization estimated that SARS killed ~1,000 people and had a mortality rate of ~15%. Moreover, SARS had an immense impact in the global economy, costing >15 billion dollars and devastating Asian economies. While SARS is currently not a public threat, the possibility of future outbreaks of both SARS and related viruses warrants continuous research for the discovery of antiviral therapies.

The current invention developed by researchers at the University of Missouri is a novel compound for the treatment of SARS and possibly other coronaviruses. This compound works by inhibiting the SARS helicase nsp13. This novel compound inhibits the nucleic acid unwinding activity of nsp13, but it does not interfere with the ATPase enzymatic activity or nucleic acid binding function of nsp13. Preliminary results also show that the compound inhibits Mouse Hepatitis Virus. Given the strong sequence similarities among coronaviruses, this inhibitor has the potential to be a valuable tool for understanding the replication mechanism of coronaviruses in addition to SARS CoV. 

Potential Areas of Application
  • SARS & Coronavirus therapy
  • Broad spectrum antiviral against other coronaviruses such as porcine coronavirus, transmissible gastroenteritis coronavirus (TGE), bovine coronavirus, canine coronavirus, and Feline Infectious Peritonitis Virus (which can be lethal to cats) 
Patent Status

Patent Application Pending

Inventor(s)
  • Stefan G. Sarafianos
  • Adeyemi O. Adedeji
  • Kamlendra Singh 
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

DNA Test for Canine Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative myelopathy is a neurological disease that is estimated to affect more than 150,000 dogs in the U.S.  The disease has been confirmed in many breeds with the highest prevalence in Boxers and Pembroke Welsh Corgis. Onset of clinical signs usually occurs after 9 years of age. It is chronic and progressive and also causes paralysis that begins in the hind legs and progresses to flaccid paralysis in all limbs and brainstem signs. Recently, a mutation was found in the canine superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) gene of affected dogs. This supports the idea that canine degenerative myelopathy has similarities to some forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), an adult-onset fatal paralytic neurodegenerative disease.

The current invention developed by researchers at the University of Missouri is a simple DNA test that will identify animals that have mutations in the superoxide dismutase gene associated with canine degenerative myelopathy. The test is based off DNA harvested by a simple mouth swab and is of high value to dog breeders.  Additionally, dog owners who want to know if their dog is at risk for this disease will have great interest for developing biomarkers for early diagnosis and for treatment strategies.

Potential Areas of Application
  • Assist with diagnosis of dogs with degenerative myelopathy
  • Dog breeders that want to develop their breeding pool
  • Dog owners that want to test their pets
Patent Status

Patents Issued and Pending

Inventor(s)
  • Gary S. Johnson
  • Joan R. Coates
  • Kerstin Linblad-Toh
  • Claire Wade
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Nanostructured Carbon Biocatalyst with a Variety of Applications

The current invention developed by MU researchers is a nanostructured carbon-based biocatalyst for remediation of unwanted organic substances such as pesticides and other environmental pollutants.  Enzymes capable of detoxifying organic chemicals are tethered to functionalized carbon-particles, which serve as delivery vehicles, stabilizers and chemo-attractants. The system is easy to produce and modify and can be tailored to the detoxification of a variety of chemicals.

The present invention provides a new and improved series of amide-functionalized ordered mesoporous carbon (AFOMC) as a vehicle and system to deliver enzymes that degrade pollutants, toxins or other unwanted organic substances. Additionally, this conjugation of bioactive enzymes onto the amide-functionalized ordered mesoporous carbon has a wide range of other commercial applications, ranging from the development of biocatalysts, biofilters, fuel cells, biofuel production, drug delivery systems other medical therapeutics and biosensors. The variety of potential applications makes this technology highly attractive.

Potential Areas of Application
  • Soil and water cleanup
  • Drug delivery systems
  • Biodefense applications
  • Fuel cell development
  • Biofuel production
Patent StatusPatents Issued
Inventor(s)
  • Chung-Ho Lin
  • Brian M. Thompson
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Increased Tocohromanol (Vitamin E) Content in Leaves and Seeds of Soybeans

Tocochromanols, or Vitamin E, is a group of plant-derived, lipid soluble compounds with beneficial antioxidant activities. Since humans and animals cannot product Vitamin E, it has to be supplied in the daily cited. Green leafy vegetables contain some of the highest levels of Vitamin E. There is also a growing body of evidence that Vitamin E may counteract the onset and progression of human diseases such as cancer and cardio-vascular diseases. The global vitamin market is forecasted to reach $3.2 billion by the year 2017. Vitamin E represents the largest segment.

Researchers at the University of Missouri have increased the level of tocochronmanols (Vitamin E) by 27-fold in soybean seed, mainly in the form of γ and β-tocopherols. This, coupled with the benefits from soybean isoflavones in men and women, make this addition of natural Vitamin E to soybeans a unique combination. Although not yet field tested, these high vitamin E lines also showed increased tolerance to the class of HPPD herbicides.

Potential Areas of Application
  • Use of soybeans as a source of natural Vitamin E
  • Source of soybean seeds as an edible snack with enhanced Vitamin E
  • Source of natural vitamin E in soybean based cosmeceuticals
  • Source for the animal feeds market and pet foods
  • Non-GMO source of herbicide resistance
Patent Status

Patent Application Pending

Inventor(s)
  • Gary Stacey
  • Minviluz G. Stacey
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

New Surgical Tools and Techniques to Make Patient Anatomy Specific Osteochondral Grafts Possible

The current invention developed by MU researchers includes the surgical instrumentation and method for creating custom anatomic osteochondral allografts (OCA), or autografts to treat damaged areas of joints. The revolutionary instrumentation allows for contouring of grafts to the patient’s anatomy and precise prepartion of the recipient site for an OCA (or autograft of complex geometry), rather than simple cylindrical grafts as currently performed.

Between 600,000 and 900,000 patients in the U.S. undergo surgical treatment for articular defects resulting from osteochondritis dessicans, injury, trauma and osteoarthritis. Currently, surgeries using OCA (or autograft) comprise a small portion of the total number of procedures performed to treat these conditions due to their limitations. Though current allografts/autograft techniques are relatively easy to perform, they are not optimal for treating large articular defects in joints with complex geometries. The use of cylindrical grafts for these types of joint damage results in sub-optimal use of donor tissues, inability for anatomic reconstruction of defects, comprised graft stability and removal of significant amounts of healthy cartilage in order to replace all damaged tissue. All of these downfalls can lead to unsuccessful outcomes for patients, such as graft failures and disease progression, mainly due to the function of the non-patient-specific geometry of a standard cylindrical OCA (or autograft). MU’s technology is predicted to overcome current OCA and autograft procedureal pitfalls to improve outcomes and increase the number of patients who can be effectively treated with OCA and autografts.

Potential Areas of Application
  • Human or veterinary orthopaedic surgery (treating focal cartilage defects in joints)
Patent StatusPatent Pending
Inventor(s)
  • Ferris Pfeiffer
  • James L. Cook
  • James P. Stannard
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Ultra-Rapid Cooling Method for Cell Cryopreservation

The current invention developed by MU researchers is an ultra-cooling method for cell cryopreservation. This novel method uses ultra-high heat transfer coefficient of thin film evaporation and vacuum regulation to create an ultra-rapid cooling method. In this method, liquid evaporates sharply using thin film evaporation and absorbs a large quantity of heat.

Cryopreservation is a process where cells or whole tissues are preserved by cooling to low sub-zero temperatures. At these temperatures biological activity, including cell death, is stopped. This method of preservation is often used in semen, blood, embryo, and other tissue storage, such as corneal tissues. The ultra-cooling method created at MU demonstrates cell cryopreservation through vitrification using relatively low concentrations of cryoprotectants.

Potential Areas of Application
  • Cryopreservation method for animal resource centers
  • Cryopreservation method for biological labs sending cell samples
  • Cryopreservation method for biotechnology companies using cell products
Patent StatusPatent Pending
Inventor(s)
  • Hongbin (Bill) Ma
  • Xu Han
  • Fengmin Su
  • Hsiu-hung Chen
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Tool and Method for Creating a Tapered Osteochondral Allograft Implant and/or Socket

Degenerative joint diseases, like osteoarthritis, are the leading cause of chronic disability in the U.S., affecting approximately 20% of the population. These types of disabilities stem from repetitive exposure of articular cartilage to stress. Eventually, the cartilage will lose the ability to adapt and, ultimately, the ability to function. Currently, there are multiple options available to help repair the damaged joint. One widely used option is an osteochondral allografts (OCAs) used to treat osteoarthritic joint defects. This process involves harvesting donor tissue and transplanting it into a prepared socket of a recipient. However, once placed in the recipient socket, it requires significant force using a press fit. This has been shown to reduce viability of the graft and can compromise the success rate of the procedure.

 The current invention from researchers at the University of Missouri is an improved tooling and method to create a tapered osteochondral allograft. By matching this tapered allograft design to a tapered recipient joint, the force required to seat the graft is greatly reduced. This can lead to improved longevity of the graft and increased success rates for the procedure.

Potential Areas of Application
  • Osteochondral allograft suppliers
  • Surgical instrument companies
Patent Status

Patent Applications Pending

Inventor(s)
  • Ferris Pfeiffer
  • Aaron M. Stoker
  • James L. Cook
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Q Fever Peptide Mimetic Vaccine

The current invention developed by the researchers at the University of Missouri is a Phase 1 Lipopolysaccharide (PI-LPS) targeted mimetic peptide vaccine against human Q fever. Testing has been successful in the mouse model.

Q fever is a worldwide zoonotic infection caused by Coxiella burnetii that is of significant public health concern. C. burnetii is an obligate intracellular Gram-negative bacterium. It is a highly infectious and hardy bacterium that can be used in biological weapons. It is also a significant occupational hazard among veterinarians, meat processing plant workers, sheep and dairy farmers, and researchers at facilities that house livestock. Q fever can present as an acute or chronic illness in human beings. Human symptoms vary but include nonspecific febrile illness, pneumonia, myocarditis, hepatitis, and headache, and can include endocarditis in chronic cases. Infected pregnant women may be at risk for pre-term delivery or miscarriage.

Humans typically contract Q fever by aerosol inhalation of the bacteria from excreta of infected animals or contaminated soil. Q fever is a nationally notifiable disease in the United States, and there is no FDA approved vaccine. There is a vaccine used in Australia, however, it can cause adverse reactions. Thus, people must be tested and screened before vaccination, which makes it costly, time consuming, and unavailable for a mass vaccination program. In the case of a bioterrorism event, a mass vaccine would be highly beneficial. 

Potential Areas of Application
  • Safe Q fever Vaccine
  • Immunotherapeutic strategies to control C. burnetii infections
  • Potential development of vaccines against other Gram-Negative bacteria
Patent Status

Patent Application Pending

Inventor(s)
  • Guoquan Zhang
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Device and Technique for Tibial Plateau Allografting with or without Attached Meniscus

This invention, developed by MU researchers, is a unique surgical instrumentation system that allows for standardized preparation of a tibial allograft from donor tissue with precisely matched preparation of the patient’s proximal tibia to receive a meniscal-tibial plateau allograft. This technology has the potential to revolutionize knee surgery by allowing for biological joint replacement of this difficult-to-treat region of the knee, increasing the use of organ donor tissue and improving outcomes for patients with this common knee problem.

Currently, patients with extensive damage to their tibial articular cartilage and/or meniscus in the knee have few treatment options that allow them to return to highly functional activities. Current standard-of-care allograft cartilage and meniscus transplantation techniques do not address these types of extensive injuries due to limitations in surgical site access, effective instrumentation, and stabilization of viable and functional tissues. Complications arising from graft   functionality, placement, and fixation to the tibia (as well as functionality of the underlying tibial cartilage) also inhibit success of current methods. Total and partial joint replacements using synthetic materials also do not allow return to these activities and have a limited functional lifespan. Younger, active patients want better options as surgeons search for biological treatments that consistently provide them with more optimal outcomes. MU technological advancement has the potential to address all of these limitations.

Potential Areas of Application
  • Human orthopaedic surgery
  • Veterinary medicine – orthopaedic surgery
Patent StatusPatent Pending
Inventor(s)
  • Ferris Pfeiffer
  • James L. Cook
  • James P. Stannard
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Wireless Force-Measuring System for Detecting Lameness and Analyzing Gaits in Animals

The current invention developed at MU presents a unique technology for the detection of lameness and the gait analysis of any four-legged animal. This technology is a system that utilizes specialized force-measuring sensors and electronic components for the acquisition and wireless transmission of data. This data can be transmitted to many types of storage systems where it can then be analyzed for detection and quantification of abnormal loads (or force distributions) on the animal’s feet. This system will improve the diagnosis and treatment of animals with gait issues.

Lameness detection in animals is a skill that trained experts struggle to master and that causes much disagreement, even between the experts. The human eye limits what can be observed visually, and small changes in the movement of a body part due to lameness can be missed, or misinterpreted. Further, humans subjectively express how the lameness appears to them and can be biased. Current technology allows for the objective quantification of lameness and gait issues and removes subjective observations from the equation.

Potential Areas of Application
  • Lameness detection in quadrupeds
  • Gait analysis in quadrupeds
  • Identification of superior animals through complete analysis of stride
Patent StatusPatent Pending
Inventor(s)
  • Marco Lopes
  • Kevin G. Keegan
  • Yoshiharu Yonezawa
  • Hiromitchi Maki
  • Perngjin Frank Pai
  • Rod Schlotzhauer
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Transgenic Plants with Increased Seed Yield

In an increasingly competitive agricultural market, the development of crops with increased seed yield is of great economic interest. The current invention pertains to the Brassicaceae family, also called the crucifers, the mustard family, and the cabbage family. An economically important member of this family is the rapeseed (canola). Rapeseed is used for the production of vegetable oil for human and animal consumption as well as for biodiesel. Rapeseed produces more oil per unit of land than crops like soy bean and it is therefore is the preferred source of biodiesel in Europe. World production passed 50 million metric tons in 2007 and is expected to keep growing rapidly.

The current invention developed by researchers at the University of Missouri is a method to make transgenic plants of Arabidopsis thaliana with a 33% increase in the number of seeds per fruit. The plants have three carpels instead of two, but are otherwise normal, including seeds of a normal size. We believe that the method can be used to increase the seed yield of commercially valuable crops of the Brassicaceae family, particularly rapeseed/canola. 

Potential Areas of Application
  • Make rapeseed/canola with increased seed yield for oil production
  • Make other Brassicaceae with increased seed yields
  • Potential to apply the technology to other crops
Patent Status

Issued US Patent

Inventor(s)
  • John C. Walker
  • Jiangqi Wen
  • Jia Li
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Protein Marker for Male Infertility and Testicular Cancer

The current invention developed by researchers at the University of Missouri detects a novel protein present in human and mammalian testis that accumulates in abnormal sperm. The presence of this protein in sperm is a marker for abnormal and incorrect maturation of the sperm. Therefore, it can be used as a fertility marker and as a diagnostic tool for male infertility. Additionally, the accumulation of this protein marker could be used as an indication of testicular cancer, autoimmune infertility, and obstruction of the seminal ducts.

One in six couples is affected by infertility, and half those cases are ascribed to the male partner. The diagnosis may be low sperm count or non-functional sperm, but in approximately 1 out of every 5 cases where couples seek infertility treatment, the reason for the male infertility is unknown. Inability to conceive often causes hardship for couples, and they desire to understand the cause of their infertility as early as possible so that they can make appropriate decisions. There are limited diagnostic options to evaluate both visible and cryptic abnormalities sperm. A simple, fast, and inexpensive diagnostic test for semen analysis that may substitute for or complement current tests and which would provide such information would be highly valuable.

Potential Areas of Application
  • Fertility marker and diagnostic tool for male infertility
  • Detection of autoimmune infertility and testicular cancer
  • Over-the-counter home fertility test
Patent Status

Three Issued US Patents

Inventor(s)
  • Peter Sutovsky
  • Antonio Miranda-Vizuete
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Engineering Animal Meat

The global market for meat has increased as the economies of developing countries advance. By 2050, it is estimated that there will be more than 9 billion people in the world to feed. With the increase in population and the decrease in natural resources and less arable land, alternate methods of food production must be found in order to increase the worldwide food supply and sustain the global population. The current invention is potentially an economically attractive method to address this increasing market. Additionally, an invention that can provide sustainable high quality protein for the growing population while decreasing the need for additional land and animals is likely to be highly marketable and commercially attractive.

The current invention developed by researchers at the University of Missouri is a method which uses bioprinting as its core technology. Bioprinting allows the rapid construction of living three dimensional structures of desired topology. The type of cells used to prepare the multicellular rods, which serve as bioink in this technology, determines the cellular composition of the construct. Using appropriate animal cells allows the fabrication of constructs with meat-like texture. For this method, cells obtained from animals by biopsy are subsequently grown to the needed numbers in vitro. The meat produced by this method has the potential to have the same or higher nutritional value and texture taste as well as a richer variety than conventional meat. 

Potential Areas of Application
  • Global Food Industry
Patent Status

Patents Issued and Pending

Inventor(s)
  • Gabor Forgacs
  • Francoise Marga
  • Karoly Jakab
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

A Process for Making High Quality, Fibrous Meat Analogs

As the population has become increasingly over-weight, there is also a growing interest in eating healthier food from sustainable sources. People are increasingly aware of the negative health consequences of a diet too high in meat. Almost half the population therefore desires a more balanced eating plan with several meatless meals per week, but at the same time crave the texture, mouthfeel, and taste of real meat.

The current invention developed by researchers at the University of Missouri describes a process for making high quality, fibrous meat analogs similar to chicken breast, beef or other animal meats. The meat analogs have the appearance, texture, and mouthfeel of whole muscle meat and retain more flavor than traditional meat analogs. The products can further be processed into ready-to-eat, refrigerated, frozen, canned, dehydrated, and fried protein foods.

Potential Areas of Application
  • Chicken-, turkey-, beef-, pork-, veal-, fish-, and crab-analogs
  • Ready-to-eat, refrigerated, frozen, canned, dehydrated, or fried 
Patent Status

Patent Application Pending 

Inventor(s)
  • Fu-Hung Hsieh
  • Harold E. Huff
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Gene Expression Profiling of Soybean Root and Leaf Tissues with Nucleic Acid Molecules Controlling Drought Stress Tolerance

Drought is the major abiotic stress factor limiting crop productivity worldwide. Water is an increasingly limited resource, and water availability limits crop productivity in many parts of the US. Major parts of the soybean producing areas in the mid-west have experienced severe drought conditions over the past few years. Repetitive occurrences of severe drought continued to affect the soybean yield significantly. The genetic basis of drought tolerance is not well understood, and understanding how plant growth responds to drought is vital for efforts to modify the impact of water supply on soybean plants. A better understanding of drought tolerance mechanisms at gene, protein and metabolite levels are prerequisite for the gene discovery and further crop improvement.

The current invention identified novel drought responsive genes and these candidates will be used for enhanced drought tolerance in soybean through both forward and reverse genetic approaches. This research pertains to nucleic acid molecules isolated from soybean comprising nucleotide sequences that encode polypeptides for drought stress tolerance. The identified genes controlling root growth and development, and leaf functions under water deficits leading to drought tolerance may improve yield under stress conditions.

Potential Areas of Application
  • Expression of isolated nucleic acid molecules in various cell and plant types
  • Useful in understanding specific roles in drought stress tolerance, yield stability, organ and plant development in crops
  • The candidate genes and markers to utilize in the development of improved germplasm and varieties with desired agronomic traits by molecular breeding programs
Patent Status
  • US and Foreign Patents pending
Inventor(s)
  • Babu Valliyodan
  • Henry T. Nguyen
Contact InfoSamuel E. Bish, bishs@missouri.edu, 573-882-5016, or; Nancy Parker, parkern@missouri.edu, 573-884-3553

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Subsurface Contamination Analysis with Solid Phase Micro-extraction

An alternative to time-intensive and expensive subsurface contamination analysis methods such as investigatory well placement, this in-planta analysis allows for quick and economic in-field evaluation. Using a variety of analytical techniques, analyses can provide sensitive and accurate detection in plant tissues. The availability of trees to sample on a site can also allow for sampling in areas inaccessible to traditional methods of sampling groundwater and soil. Monitoring of sites, including the expansion and contraction of plumes, can also be supported with in-planta analysis. This would lead to decreased monitoring costs, which can comprise the majority of expenses at contaminated sites

Potential Areas of Application
  • Several commercial applications related to site investigation and monitoring for organic contaminants
  • Detection of presence and concentration of contaminants in vegetation, delineation of a groundwater plume, monitoring and tracking contamination, assessment of vapor intrusion potential in buildings and projection of contaminant exposure history 
Patent StatusPatent Issued
Inventor(s)
  • Joel Burken
Contact InfoKeith Strassner, kdstrass@mst.edu, 573-341-6725

University of Missouri - St. Louis

Removing Hazardous Metals from Aqueous Solutions

There are numerous applications for resins capable of removing hazardous metal ions from water, including treatment of run-off and wastewater, as well as purification of drinking water. An effective resin would allow one to produce large volumes of purified water while concentrating the metals into a small volume for recycling or disposal. Researchers at UMSL have discovered immobilized chelating agents that achieve both higher binding affinities and greater selectivity among different metal ions than simple ion exchange resins. 

These novel chelators have been shown to effectively remove Lead (Pb) from aqueous solution and would most likely also work on Cadmium (Cd) and Mercury (Hg) along with other trivalent metals. Lead ranks second most hazardous on the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act’s (CERCLA) list of substances that pose the most significant potential threat to human health. Children’s chronic exposure to even low levels of lead has been associated with subtle reductions in cognitive abilities. Even as the U.S. has reduced the exposure to environmental lead over the last several decades, the perceived “safe” level for blood lead has also dropped. There remains a need to provide new and improved immobilized ligands and methods designed to target specific metal ions (or groups of metals) to improve their removal.

Potential Areas of Application
  • Products, services, and processes that remove metals from solutions
  • Environmental remediation
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Clinical settings
Patent StatusPatent Pending
Inventor(s)
  • Christopher Spilling
  • Surendra Dawadi
  • Wesley R. Harris
  • Bruce Hamper
Contact InfoCraig Weilbaecher, weilbaecherc@umsl.edu, 314-516-4248