CAT Projects

2017-2018

Unraveling the Mechanism of Action of orally administered F. prausnitzii to mitigate the emergence of antimicrobial resistance in food animals and improve animal health and productivity

The proposed work will evaluate a novel strategy that has the potential to be a superior alternative to antibiotic use, and will ultimately result in reduced antimicrobial resistance, and improved health and productivity of calves.

Antibiotic resistance has become a major clinical and public health concern worldwide. We have identified and isolated Faecalibacterium prausnitzii (FP) from fecal samples of healthy animals. Moreover, we conducted in vivo studies and demonstrated the beneficial effects of administration of FP on calf health and growth. The goal of our work is to demonstrate that FP will be an efficacious and better alternative to the antimicrobials currently used in agriculture, firstly by helping to mitigate the emergence of antimicrobial resistance in food animals and its consequent spread to humans, and second by improving animal health and productivity. We postulate that these beneficial effects on productivity are due to increased insulin sensitivity induced by a systemic anti-inflammatory response. Thus, the proposed experimental design will allow for evaluation of applied and mechanistic aspects of the use of FP. Lastly, we hypothesize that FP treatment will significantly lower the presence of antibiotic-resistance genes in the fecal microbiome of calves treated with FP compared with calves treated with Medicated Milk Replacer. Our industry partner is Bactana Animal Health, LLC.

 

Rodrigo BicalhoCollege of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciencesrcb28@cornell.edu

Folate.Scan – A Comprehensive Point-of-Care Diagnostic for Folate Status in Women of Childbearing Age

Folate deficiencies in pregnant women are recognized as a cause of neural tube birth defects, including spina bifida and anencephaly, which occur during early stages of pregnancy, often before a woman knows she is pregnant. Fifty to seventy percent of these defects are preventable if recommended levels of folic acid are consumed before conception and through the first trimester of pregnancy. Our goal in this effort to prevent folate deficiencies is to develop Folate.Scan, a rapid point-of-care assay for diagnosing folate deficiency, which we plan to integrate with our existing NutriPhone platform. We believe that development of this test will reduce misdiagnosis of nutritional deficiencies leading to anemia, and inform treatment and broader public health interventions. We envision near term commercial success of the folate test itself as a stand-alone diagnostic for deficiencies in women of childbearing age and as part of the larger anemia suite of tests. Our industry partner, VitaScan, has significant experience in the development of nutritional diagnostic tests.

David EricksonSibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering de54@cornell.edu
Julia FinkelsteinDivision of Nutritional Sciencesjfinkelstein@cornell.edu

Process Development for Biomimetic Boundary Lubricants to Treat Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) affects more than 40 million Americans, accounting for up to 1 million hospitalizations each year. The disease also dramatically increases the risk of death, as well as causes about 500 deaths each year. Taking into account direct healthcare costs and indirect costs due to lost productivity and decreased quality of life, OA has an annual economic burden of more than $180 billion. OA patients have reduced amounts of lubricin – the slick, mucinous materials that, in healthy joints, is normally found on the surface of joint cartilage to lubricate the body’s heavier, slower movements. To meet this need, Dynamic Boundaries, Inc. and Cornell researchers developed, studied, and identified Biomimetic Boundary Lubricants (BBL) as potential revolutionary treatments that may slow or halt the progression of OA. The BBL are synthetic lubricins that restore natural lubrication of the knee, thus slowing disease progression similar to native lubricin. Additionally, the BBL have significant manufacturing advantages over native lubricin, which is currently being produced through more complicated and expensive methods.

Brett ForsChemistry and Chemical Biologybpf46@cornell.edu

Performance evaluation of an on-farm qPCR-diagnostic test to detect mastitis pathogens in dairy cows

Mastitis is a major health concern on dairy farms and causes substantial economic losses for the industry in New York State and worldwide. Pathogen-based management decisions are most economical and crucial to avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics. The faster the infectious organism can be identified, the sooner the appropriate management protocol can be applied, reducing financial losses for the farmer. At present pathogens are commonly detected by aerobic culture of milk samples, requiring at least 24 to 48h to obtain results. Partnering with Acumen Detection LLC we previously developed an on-farm applicable, quantitative real time PCR assay to detect pathogens in milk. Requiring only minimal sample preparation, the assay can detect a panel of the most relevant pathogens within 3 to 5 hours. The system is designed to first identify presence or absence of a pathogen and then the organism at genus and/or species level. Farmers will be able to quickly decide whether treatment is indicated. Our present goal is to define sensitivity and specificity of the pathogen specific assays in a high throughput screening using milk samples with confirmed results from Quality Milk Production Services (QMPS). Furthermore we plan to evaluate the on-farm performance of the previously developed assay platform AcuPolaris™ in a field study on 3 commercial dairy farms in NYS including usability and effect on mastitis management decisions. The evaluated product will be ready to enter the market and provide farmers with a cost effective diagnostic test to identify mastitis pathogens in a timely manner.

Daryl NydamPopulation Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicinedvn2@cornell.edu
Anja SipkaPopulation Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicineass233@cornell.edu

Bone-binding Polymers to Relieve Bone-on-Bone Articulation Pain in Severe Osteoarthritis

The goal of the proposed research is to develop and ultimately commercialize injectable bone-binding polymers capable of lubricating exposed bone in severe osteoarthritis.  Based on the initial successes of the collaborators, including the founding of Articulate Biomedical, LLC (initially funded through the CAT program and entering clinical efficacy trials for moderate osteoarthritis in canines), we will synthesize a series of bone-binding polymers that form a lubricating coating on exposed bone in arthritic joints. The clinical goal is to decrease pain in severe osteoarthritis patients through mechanical, not pharmacologic, means thereby minimizing NSAID, COX-2 inhibitor, corticosteroid and opiate use.  Intra-articular hyaluronic acid injections do not relieve pain in severe osteoarthritis. The commercial goal is to establish a new Class III medical device to reduce severe osteoarthritis pain and improve the quality-of-life for patients who are either awaiting total joint replacement, are not surgical candidates, or who choose to opt against surgical intervention. 

David PutnamChemical and Biomolecular Engineering/Biomedical Engineeringdap43@cornell.edu
Larry BonassarMechanical and Aerospace Engineering/Biomedical Engineeringlb244@cornell.edu

Autonomous Tissue Cartridges for Regenerative Medicine and Diagnostic Screening

Open deep tissue wounds affect 6.5 million Americans at an annual cost of $25 billion dollars. Despite best reconstructive practice, these often result in permanent damage, disfigurement, and potentially death. Current methods of treatment are insufficient due to tissue replacements being too thin and having no embedded vascular network. Tissue with adequate vascular supply is the most crucial factor to successful grafting. Partnering with CorSolutions, LLC, we will develop an Autonomous Tissue Cartridge (ATC), a self-contained, miniature tissue culture platform for regenerative medicine and diagnostic screening. This system will provide closed-loop, high precision fluid control, connectors, and other features all integrated within a single 6-inch by 6-inch by 5-inch box. The system will be used to grow pre-vascularized tissue constructs for surgical implantation in regenerative medicine using patient derived adipose tissue cells, and serve as a biomimetic tissue platform for high throughput drug screening and toxicology studies.

Jason SpectorWeill Cornell Medical, Surgery Department, Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

Student Internship and Industry Partnership

Coordinated by Entrepreneurship at Cornell for the past eight summers, this project matches 15 to 20 student interns with the opportunity to work in small entrepreneurial companies in New York State by offering fund subsidies that will allow the companies to economically participate. Companies range from intellectual property development firms to early-stage companies working to commercialize promising scientific discoveries. Since its inception, this program has placed more than 70 interns at small high-tech and scientific companies in New York State, including companies in the areas of agricultural and environmental biotechnology, genomics, biochemistry, biophysics, healthcare, biomedical engineering, nanobiotechnology, medical devices and medical biotechnology. The Entrepreneurship at Cornell summer internship program is unique in its focus on small companies and its personal knowledge and matching abilities for interns and companies. Companies report that these summer interns have helped identify leads for technologies and services, train customers on company technology, advance and develop products, develop company "green" policies, move into a new headquarters, research licensing and intellectual property options, set company strategy and develop websites, among other significant accomplishments.

Debra MoeschEntrepreneurship at Cornelldlm8@cornell.edu
Zachary ShulmanEntrepreneurship at Cornellzjs2@cornell.edu

2016-2017

Customized Bioreactors for the Production of Tissue Engineered Meniscus Constructs

The overall goal of this project is to develop bioreactors for the production of tissue engineered meniscus. We have previously demonstrated that our image-based design of tissue engineered meniscus enables us to produce tissue with appropriate structure that mimics native tissue. We have also shown that mechanical conditioning of these implants greatly improves their mechanical performance; however, the bioreactors used in these studies are for laboratory-scale generation of tissue. We are partnering with GE Global Research, which has great experience in developing production-scale bioreactors, benchmark a bioreactor that we have designed together for scale-up for production of large numbers of engineered implants.

Medicine on Demand: Rapid Cell-Free Production of Glycoengineered Monoclonal Antibodies

Our long-term goal is to design and build a device capable of 24-hour production, purification and characterization of glycoprotein therapeutics. A key first step towards this goal, which was accomplished during our 2015-16 CAT Project, was to integrate a cutting edge yet proven cell-free expression system for biosimilar production with newly established cell-free glycosylation methods. Now, in this continuation project, we seek to leverage this newly developed technology for cell-free production of monoclonal antibodies with more human-like glycan structures. In follow-on collaborative studies with GE Global Research, the resulting cell-free glycoprotein synthesis (CF-GPS) system will be linked to a portable and flexible closed system for automated protein production, purification and validation. These studies will leverage the DeLisa lab's core expertise in cell-free glycoprotein synthesis with existing GE Global Research projects developing Class II medical devices and established downstream processing expertise. 

Matthew DeLisaChemical and Biomolecular Engineeringmd255@cornell.edu

Student Internship and Industry Partnership

Coordinated by Entrepreneurship at Cornell for the past seven summers, this project matches 15 to 20 student interns with the opportunity to work in small entrepreneurial companies in New York State by offering fund subsidies that will allow the companies to economically participate. Companies range from intellectual property development firms to early-stage companies working to commercialize promising scientific discoveries. Since its inception, this program has placed more than 70 interns at small high-tech and scientific companies in New York State, including companies in the areas of agricultural and environmental biotechnology, genomics, biochemistry, biophysics, healthcare, biomedical engineering, nanobiotechnology, science education & public policy, medical devices and medical biotechnology. The Entrepreneurship at Cornell summer internship program is unique in its focus on small companies and its personal knowledge and matching abilities for interns and companies. Companies report that these summer interns have helped identify leads for technologies and services, train customers on company technology, advance and develop products, develop company "green" policies, move into a new headquarters, research licensing and intellectual property options, set company strategy and develop websites, among other significant accomplishments.

Debra MoeschEntrepreneurship at Cornelldlm8@cornell.edu
Zach ShulmanEntrepreneurship at Cornellzjs2@cornell.edu

Optimization of Non-Thermal Plasma Technology for the Treatment of Onychomycosis

Onychomycosis is a fungal infection of the nail unit, representing the most common nail disorder. Current therapies for onychomycosis have less than ideal efficacy and have the potential for adverse effects. Since our previous study has shown that non-thermal plasma is safe and beneficial for the treatment of toenail onychomycosis, our goal is to optimize this device for therapeutic intent. Our industry partner is MOE Medical Devices in Valhalla, NY.

Shari LipnerWeill Cornell Medical College

Development and validation of milk differential cell count technology to diagnose subclinical mastitis in dairy cows

The goal of our research is to improve mastitis detection in dairy cows, which will lead to more effective treatment strategies, decreased production losses, and improved animal welfare. We propose to develop a strategy, with the help of our industry partner, Mastatix of New York, LLC., to produce a superior alternative for mastitis detection to the dairy industry, helping to reduce the impact of mastitis in the areas of economics, welfare, and antibiotic usage.

Jessica McArtPopulation Medicine & Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicinejs448@cornell.edu

Engineering, efficacy and scale-up manufacture of a prototype universal vaccine against influenza

The goal of the proposed research is to develop and ultimately commercialize a universal vaccine against influenza.  Based on the initial success of the collaborators, we will engineer non-toxic outer membrane bacterial vesicles to create a safe and effective vaccine prototype that mimics the natural influenza infection and creates a coordinated and protective immune response directed against the virus.  By the end of one year, we will have created and evaluated the efficacy of a safe and effective prototype vaccine, and established the SOPs for its manufacture in pilot-scale (100 liter) bioreactors. Our industry partner is VesiVax and we have an in-kind match from Genentech, Inc.

David PutnamBiomedical Engineeringdap43@cornell.edu
Gary WhittakerMicrobiology and Immunology, College of Veterinary Medicinegrw7@cornell.edu

A new mastitis diagnostic test for dairy cows enabling rapid and cost effective pathogen detection supporting prudent use of antibiotics

We will develop a PCR based mastitis diagnostic test for dairy cows. The test will be applicable on-farm and enable cost effective, rapid diagnosis of a panel of the most common mastitis pathogens in milk, allowing dairy farmers to make fast and accurate management decisions and avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics, thus increasing their profitability. Our industry partner is Acumen Detection, LLC.

Daryl NydamPopulation Medicine & Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicinedvn2@cornell.edu
Anja SipkaPopulation Medicine & Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicineass233@cornell.edu

Non-Thermal Plasma: A Novel Treatment for Infected Wounds

Chronic, non-healing wounds remain a significant health care burden in terms of their morbidity, potential mortality, and overall cost. Industry partner Sterifre’s Steri-lysisTM is a novel, non-thermal plasma (NTP)/free radical, portable technology that delivers a highly active reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS) and hydrogen peroxide mixture within a closed loop system. This innovative device has the potential to radically change the current clinical treatment paradigm of chronic and infected wounds to a low cost, minimally morbid therapy for wound disinfection and the promotion of wound healing.

Jason SpectorWeill Cornell Medical College

A Temporary Jejunal Feeding Tube with a Bolstered Securement Device

Jejunostomy feeding tubes (J-tubes) are commonly used to support the enteral nutritional needs of a patient during  short and long term illnesses. The catheters used today are typically simple red-rubber tubes placed surgically through the abdominal wall into the small intestine and anchored to the skin by a single suture. They are prone to luminal obstruction, migration, and inadvertent removal, which usually necessitates surgical replacement, oftentimes emergently for intra-abdominal sepsis and peritonitis. Our goal is to design a novel J-tube that addresses the aforementioned problems. Our industry partner is Parker Hannifin Corporation.

Rasa ZarnegarWeill Cornell Medical College
Carl CrawfordWeill Cornell Medical College
Thomas CiecieregaWeill Cornell Medical College

2015-2016

Enhancing the Precision of Plant Disease Management

Late blight of potato and tomato is caused by Phytophthora infestans, an oomycete plant pathogen. It is responsible for huge losses globally – often very dramatically. Huge amounts of fungicide are used globally to protect plants from late blight. In the USA alone, fungicide amounts in the range of 2000 tons annually are used. The goal of this project is to improve a Decision Support System (DSS) for tomato and potato late blight management that will facilitate ease of use by an important subset of users. This DSS will link several models into a system that can be used to predict disease dynamics based on weather conditions, host-crop resistance, and fungicide use (type and amount) as pertinent to the user’s locality, and will provide recommendations for fungicide application. We will evaluate via simulation analysis, the magnitude of benefit due to the proposed improvements. Benefit will be measured in the effectiveness of plant disease suppression and in terms of reducing fungicide load released to the environment. Our industry partner is Green Field CropTech, LLC.

 

William FryPlant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biologywef1@cornell.edu

Development and Validation of Customized Loading Bioreactors for Cartilage Tissue Engineering

 

The overall goal of this project is to develop bioreactors for the production of tissue engineered intervertebral disc (IVD) tissue. We have previously demonstrated that our image-based design of tissue engineered IVD enables successful replacement of spinal discs in rats, with promising preliminary data in dogs as well. We have also shown that mechanical conditioning of these implants greatly improves their mechanical performance; however, the bioreactors used in these studies are for laboratory-scale generation of tissue. We are partnering with GE Global Research, which has great experience in developing production-scale bioreactors, to design and validate prototype bioreactors that are more efficient and more amenable to scale-up for production of large numbers of engineered implants. This technology can someday be used in the treatment of degenerative disc disease in humans, which is a leading cause of disability in the US, affecting approximately 30 million Americans at a total annual cost of $80 billion.

 

 

 

Medicine on Demand: Cell-Free Production of Glycosylated Protein Therapeutics

Protein-based therapeutics currently represent one in every four new drugs approved by the FDA and command a market in excess of $120 billion annually. The vast majority of these are modified by glycosylation, the process of attaching complex sugars known as glycans to a polypeptide. The work for this project merges the fields of cell-free protein synthesis and bacterial glycoengineering in a new paradigm of biology-by-design that is anticipated to provide unique access to a wide array of new glycomedicines. Our long-term goal is to design and build a device capable of 24-hour production, purification and characterization of a glycoprotein therapeutic. As a key first step towards this goal, we will integrate a cutting edge yet proven cell-free expression system for biosimilar production with newly established cell-free glycosylation methods. In follow-on collaborative studies with GE Global Research, the resulting cell-free glycoprotein synthesis (CF-GPS) system will be linked to a portable and flexible closed system for automated protein production, purification and validation. The project will leverage the DeLisa lab's core expertise in cell-free glycoprotein synthesis with existing GE Global Research projects developing Class II medical devices and established downstream processing expertise.

 

Matthew DeLisaChemical and Biomolecular Engineeringmd255@cornell.edu

Safety Assessment of Lubrisynth in Healthy Canines

The goal of the proposed project is to complete the safety analysis of Lubrisynth® in canines, a synthetic joint lubricant developed at Cornell University that prevents the progression of osteoarthritis in the rat ACL transection model. Current treatments for osteoarthritis (e.g., NSAID therapy, corticosteroid injections and hyaluronic acid injections) relieve symptoms but have little to no effect on disease progression. The disease progresses due to the depletion of lubricin, the natural lubricant contained in joints. Articulate Biomedical, LLC, is an Ithaca-based start-up company founded to commercialize Lubrisynth®, which lubricates in the boundary mode of joints, thus halting cartilage damage, inflammation, and the progression of osteoarthritis. Funding and plans will lead to the necessary clinical trials to bring Lubrisynth® into the veterinary market, and eventually into human trials.

 

Kei Hayashi College of Veterinary Medicine kh528@cornell.edu
Ursula Krotscheck College of Veterinary Medicine uk28@cornell.edu
David PutnamBiomedical Engineering dap43@cornell.edu

Therapeutic Applications of Non-Thermal Plasma

Chronic, non-healing wounds remain a significant health care burden in terms of their morbidity, potential mortality, and overall cost. Our industry partner SteriFreeMed Plasma Processing Technologies has combined non-thermal plasma processing with hydrogen peroxide and ozone technologies to create a totally novel free radical based portable sterilization system using reactive nitrogen and oxygen species (RONS). The product that results from this research has the potential to radically change the current clinical treatment paradigm of chronic wounds to a low cost, minimally morbid therapy that promotes healing and if efficacious against even the most resistant microorganisms. Together with our industry partner, we will carry out the research to determine the short and long term effects on cells and live tissue, and the potential benefits for use as a novel therapy for the treatment of chronic wounds, which will to the development of a unique therapeutic medical device that will be able to treat chronic wounds.

 

Jason Spector Cornell Weill Medical College

Culture Platforms to Grow Pre-Vascularized Tissues for Regenerative Medicine

A major barrier for the generalization of tissue engineering beyond thin tissues and avascular tissues is the formation of a functional, pervasive microvascular system within the tissue to support metabolic demand during culture in the lab and after implantation. Microvascular structure also plays a central role in defining pathological states of tissues (e.g., in cancer and diabetes) for which we currently lack appropriate models in vitro. Recent efforts in our labs at Cornell and Weill Cornell have made major steps toward addressing this challenge with the development of three-dimensional cultures that contain functional microvascular structure, integration with advanced instrumentation from CorSolutions, and initial demonstration of microsurgical vascular fusion (anastomosis) in an animal model. In the proposed effort, we will continue to work closely with our industry partner CorSolutions to develop a suite of tools for the growth of microvascularized cultures with control of both vascular perfusion and global environmental culture parameters.  We aim to integrate the CorSolutions advanced tools for controlling microfluidic flows with our microvascular tissue cultures to allow for efficient growth in vitro. This work aims at defining the first route to the growth of vascularized tissues for regenerative medicine and tissue-scale biological studies.

 

Abraham Stroock Chemical and Biomedical Engineering ads10@cornell.edu
Jason Spector Cornell Weill Medical College

Use of Tethered Enzyme Technology to Diagnose Neural Injury

There is enormous interest in developing Point-of-Care Testing (PoCT) technologies for neural injury because of the need for quick, objective diagnosis. We are developing a point of care platform based on tethered enzyme technology (TET), which utilizes highly sensitive and rapid coupled enzyme reactions to quantitatively detect blood-borne biomarkers. Our new partnership with Motion Intelligence, LLC (MI) provides us with two truly unique opportunities: 1) MI has a relationship with a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighting league and will give us access to pre- and post-bout blood samples. In no other circumstance can one have access to individuals who will predictably suffer mTBI at defined times; and 2) MI will share their pre- and post-bout functional data (e.g. balance, cognitive, and mixed task assays) with us. This rare opportunity to evaluate before/after biomarker profiles in conjunction with before/after functional data will not only let us have access to a large sample size in a short time, but it will also enable us to identify the best suite of biomarkers to diagnose mTBI. Reciprocally, MI benefits from this partnership in that their prognostic and return-to-function data can be evaluated in context of biochemical markers for injury. Together, this partnership will enable both technologies to accelerate their pathways to commercialization and will provide the most comprehensive diagnostic/prognostic platform for neural injury known.

 

 

Alexander Travis Baker Institute for Animal Health ajt32@cornell.edu

Science Equipment Lending Library for K-12 New York State Teachers

The Equipment Lending Library supports K-12 science teachers who are partners with the Cornell Institute for Biology Teachers (CIBT). Each equipment kit contains all supplies, equipment and instruction needed for classroom use. The kits are shipped to the teachers without charge, and CIBT staff are available by phone or email in case the teacher needs help with the kit or activity. The goal is to provide equipment, supplies and models to science teachers of all levels so that students can experience "real science" and not just watch videos or look at simulations of experiments, which engages students who otherwise would not be interested in science. Last year this program brought hands-on science activities to over 17,0000 students in New York State schools. Since the program began, more than 1,570 teachers have attended our workshops. Our goals for the 2015-16 year include: the assembly of new kits, increasing the number of teachers and districts using our kits, develop more labs and kits for elementary and middle school students, find talented undergrads and graduate students to do lab development, and train more teachers on Molecular Biology kits. The future competitiveness of New York State in an increasingly high-technology economic climate depends directly on the scientific literacy both of those who will enter the technology workforce and the even larger group of citizens who all live in an increasingly technical time.

 

Laurel Southard Cornell Institute for Biology Teachersles3@cornell.edu

Student Internship and Industry Partnership

Coordinated by Entrepreneurship at Cornell for the past seven summers, this project matches 15 to 20 student interns with the opportunity to work in small entrepreneurial companies in New York State by offering fund subsidies that will allow the companies to economically participate. Companies range from intellectual property development firms to early-stage companies working to commercialize promising scientific discoveries. Since its inception, this program has placed more than 70 interns at small high-tech and scientific companies in New York State, including companies in the areas of agricultural and environmental biotechnology, genomics, biochemistry, biophysics, healthcare, biomedical engineering, nanobiotechnology, science education & public policy, medical devices and medical biotechnology. The Entrepreneurship at Cornell summer internship program is unique in its focus on small companies and its personal knowledge and matching abilities for interns and companies. Companies report that these summer interns have helped identify leads for technologies and services, train customers on company technology, advance and develop products, develop company "green" policies, move into a new headquarters, research licensing and intellectual property options, set company strategy and develop websites, among other significant accomplishments.

 

Debra Moesch Entrepreneurship at Cornelldlm8@cornell.edu
Zach Shulman Entrepreneurship at Cornellzjs2@cornell.edu

2014-2015

Multi-Parametric Fingerprinting for Exosome Surface Characterization

This research project seeks to develop a deeper understanding of the global physicochemical property at the nanoparticle surface. Specifically, we are interested in studying the surface properties of exosomes, which are naturally produced nanoparticles made by all cells for intercellular communication. We hypothesize that the surface properties of exosomes, in part, dictates their transport properties, biodistribution and subsequent activity. To study these surface properties, we propose the development of a library of mobility sensitive molecular probes for generating a multiparametric fingerprint that describes the exosome surface. The goal is to describe the exosomes’ global surface composition and apply this surface specific fingerprint towards development of biosensors for disease detection.

 

Christopher AlabiSchool of Chemical and Biological Engineeringcaa238@cornell.edu

Science Equipment Lending Library for K-12 teachers

The Equipment Lending Library supports K-12 science teachers who are partners with the Cornell Institute for Biology Teachers (CIBT). Each equipment kit contains all supplies, equipment and instruction needed for classroom use. The kits are shipped to the teachers without charge and CIBT staff are available by phone or email in case the teacher needs help with the kit or activity. The goal is to provide equipment, supplies and models to science teachers of all levels so that students can experience "real science" and not just watch videos or look at simulations of experiments. Using real equipment and doing "real" science may engage students who otherwise would not be interested in science. The future competitiveness of New York state in an increasingly high-technology economic climate depends directly on the scientific literacy both of those who will enter the technology workforce and the even larger group of citizens who all live in an increasingly technical time.

Laurel SouthardCornell Institute for Biology Teachersles3@cornell.edu

Development of culture platform for the growth of vascularized tissues in vitro

Tissue engineering seeks to develop physiologically appropriate tissues to restore, maintain or improve function in clinical contexts, and provide platforms with which to study basic biological processes and screen drug candidates and drug delivery strategies. A major barrier for the generalization of tissue engineering beyond thin tissues (e.g., epithelium – thickness < 250 um) and avascular tissues (e.g., cartilage) is the formation of a functional, pervasive microvascular system within the tissue to support metabolic demand during culture in the lab and after implantation. Microvascular structure also plays a central role in defining pathological states of tissues (e.g., in cancer and diabetes), currently for which appropriate models in vitro are lacking. Recent efforts have made a major step toward addressing this challenge with the development of three-dimensional cultures that contain functional microvascular structure. In this project, we will work closely with CorSolutions to adapt their suite of tools for controlling microfluidic flows in order to manipulate the hydrodynamic stresses within our culture system. We will then exploit this new capability to investigate fundamental questions related to the mechanobiological response of blood vessels to specific hydrodynamic stresses.

Abraham StroockChemical and Biomolecular Engineeringads10@cornell.edu
Jason SpectorCornell Weill Medical Collegejas2037@med.cornell.edu

Student Internship and Industry Partnership

 

The objective of this project is to provide 15 - 20 students with the opportunity to work in small entrepreneurial companies in New York State by offering fund subsidies that will allow the companies to economically participate. Companies range from intellectual property development firms to early-stage companies working to commercialize promising scientific discoveries. The Entrepreneurship@Cornell summer internship program is unique in its focus on small companies and its personal knowledge and matching abilities for interns and companies. Companies report that these summer interns have helped identify leads for technologies and services; train customers on company technology; advance and develop products; develop company "green" policies; move into a new headquarters; research licensing and intellectual property options; set company strategy and develop Web sites, among other significant accomplishments.

 

Debra MoeschEntrepreneurship@Cornelldlm8@cornell.edu

Topical Therapeutics for Skin Diseases associated with DNA Damage

 

UV exposure to the skin is one of the most damaging effects on a cell's ability to maintain its genomic integrity. Constant UV exposure damages the cells' DNA and ultimately this accumulation of damage leads to premature cell death or the incorporation of mutations. Cells have the ability to fix this damage through a process called the nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway. However, we believe that this process is working at less than its full potential and pharmacological inhibition may indeed enhance the cells' ability to fix these mistakes. The goal of this project is to develop novel compounds that are capable of enhancing the natural DNA-repair mechanism in cells. This technology can then be used for a wide variety of applications ranging from cosmetics (anti-aging, skin enhancement topical applications) to therapeutics (skincare prescription creams for DNA damage-related diseases).

 

Pengbo ZhouPathology and Laboratory Medicine, Weill Medical Collegepez2001@med.cornell.edu

Creation of Novel Strains of Aspergillus for High-Level Protein Expression

The goal of this project is to develop novel strains of Aspergillus that can overproduce valuable enzymes which require heme as a component. Aspergillus is an attractive host for the commercial production of enzymes. In some cases the overproduction of the enzyme is limited by post-translational modifications. We have discovered that the expression of active heme-containing enzymes is rate limited by heme incorporation. Heme is a common component of a number of enzymes including the P450 enzymes. We have already demonstrated that we can express chloroperoxidase in Aspergillus and produce milligram amounts of enzyme. Unfortunately approximately 60-75% of the enzyme is inactive doe to a lack of heme. We propose to develop Aspergillus strains that can produce fully active heme-containing enzymes. The effort will involve developing a CRISPR system for this organism which will permit the precise modifications of virtually any gene in the host. The system will be used to target both enzymes that divert heme as well as enzymes and pathways that are responsible for the post-translational modification of heme-containing enzymes. Overall the effort will result in a robust system for genetic modification of an industrially important organism. This platform technology will serve for the creation of customized strains that have inherent properties which render them superior for enzyme production or other biologically mediated transformations.

Carl BattDepartment of Food Sciencecab10@cornell.edu

ECIS-Based Cell Classification

We are proposing an impedance-based approach to provide laboratories growing animal cells with a test that can provide assurance that cultures being used are not misidentified or contaminated with mycoplasma. The proposed technology is not a replacement for the essential molecular and biochemical techniques that definitively define a cell population or test directly for mycoplasma. Rather we propose the development of a cell assurance monitor (CAM) that would provide researchers with reasonable confidence that a culture is of known identity and uncontaminated. To be practical, such a test must be affordable and simple to administer such that it can be applied frequently – even on a weekly basis. To be effective, this technology must also provide a simple quantitative summary that varies significantly with cell type and with contamination after controlling for common sources of experimental variation including cell inoculation density, passage number, and time since last medium change. In the proposed collaboration, data generation for multiple established cell lines will be managed by Applied BioPhysics, Inc., and the statistical analysis of the data will be led by Prof. Matteson with the aid of a Cornell University graduate student research assistant.

David MattesonDepartment of Statistical Sciencedm484@cornell.edu

The Hidden World of Vermicompost: Sequencing Microbial Communities Associated with Improved Plant Growth

 

The research team will characterize the assembly of the plant microbiome across the chain of development starting from the microbiota of the worm feedstock (manure) to the processed vermicompost products (vermicompost, liquid extracts, and micronized seed treatment), and finally to the transfer and assembly of the crop microbiomes across treatments. RT Solutions, LLC (dba WormPower) has received a SBIR grant to explore the disease suppressive abilities of vermicompost as a seed coat treatment for high value horticultural crops and as an extract in hydroponic production of green leafy vegetables. The company hopes to not only understand the microorganisms present in vermicompost but also begin to identify key players in disease suppression, growth promotion, and nutrient mineralization during plant growth. Successful collaboration has occurred between Cornell and WormPower including the doctoral work of Dr. Allison Jack on the disease suppressive ability of vermicompost on Pythium, a root rot pathogen. In this new proposal, we utilize a high throughput sequencing approach to characterize the microbiota of the vermicompost products and the developing crop microbiome. The intended goal is to determine if biological properties in the vermicompost (beneficial microbiota) are transferable to the developing crop. Linking microbial community composition to plant protection and growth would stimulate innovative technology development in organic agricultural production in New York State.

 

Jenny Kao-KniffinHorticulture, School of Integrative Plant Sciencejtk57@cornell.edu

Tissue Engineered Auricles for the Treatment of Pediatric Microtia

The overall goal of this project is to develop shaped tissue engineered ear cartilage as a treatment for pediatric patients with microtia.  We have previously demonstrated the ability to use collagen isolated from rat tail tendons in our laboratory as a moldable cell-seeded scaffold to produce shaped cartilage.  Unfortunately this source of collagen is not characterized well enough to be used for clinical applications.  The focus of this proposal is to compare the performance of two pharmaceutical grade, clinically approved sources of collagen, from bovine dermis and recombinant human, to our current formulation and to develop suitable formulations from these clinically approved sources. Developing such protocols will define a clear path to IRB trials of tissue engineered ear cartilage.

 

Jason SpectorPlastic Surgery, Weill Medical College

Temperature Manipulating Gloves for the Treatment of Insomnia

The goal of this collaboration with Parker Hannifin is to develop a thermoregulatory-based treatment for difficulty falling asleep (sleep onset insomnia). This treatment involves using a glove to manipulate distal limb temperature to hasten sleep onset. The prototype limb warming glove was recently finished, and we are now ready to begin testing the glove in patients with insomnia. Modifications may need to be made to the device based on the efficacy results, and feedback from patients. If we find the glove to be helpful in treating sleep onset insomnia, we plan to begin production and marketing of this glove as a treatment for insomnia. This will be the first device of its kind for the treatment of insomnia. Therefore, we expect the device to be a popular treatment for patients that do not want to take hypnotic medication. Recent large scale studies have found increased risk of cancer and mortality in even very low usage of the most commonly prescribed hypnotic medication (Kripke et. al. 2012). Therefore, the number of insomniacs looking for an alternative to medication is increasing dramatically. Given the high prevalence of insomnia, we expect the insomnia glove to sell millions of units.

 

Matthew EbbenNeurology, Weill Medical College

2013-2014

Tissue Engineered Intervertebral Discs for Treatment of Degenerative Disc Disease

The overall goal of this proect is to develop a tissue engineered intervertebral disc implant as an alternative to conventional total disc replacement (TDR) systems. Previous tissue engineered implants integrated with the rat tail spine, maintained vertebral disc separation, and produced motion segments with mechanical properties similar to the native spine. The current proposal seeks to evaluate tissue engineered intervertebral discs in a canine model of cervical disc replacement, which is highly relevant to human disease, as evidenced by the high frequency of degenerative disc disease in these animals. These experiments will serve as critical feasibility and proof-of-concept studies for movement of this technology to human clinical trials, and greatly enhance the commercial value of this technology.

Roger HärtlNeurological Surgery, Cornell Weill Medical College

Science Equipment Lending Library for K-12 teachers

The Equipment Lending Library supports K-12 science teachers who are partners with the Cornell Institute for Biology Teachers (CIBT). Each equipment kit contains all supplies, equipment and instruction needed for classroom use. The kits are shipped to the teachers without charge and CIBT staff are available by phone or email in case the teacher needs help with the kit or activity. The goal is to provide equipment, supplies and models to science teachers of all levels so that students can experience "real science" and not just watch videos or look at simulations of experiments. Using real equipment and doing "real" science may engage students who otherwise would not be interested in science. The future competitiveness of New York state in an increasingly high-technology economic climate depends directly on the scientific literacy both of those who will enter the technology workforce and the even larger group of citizens who all live in an increasingly technical time.

Next Generation Joint Lubricants for Treatment of Arthritis

The lubrication of weight-bearing joints in humans and animals has significant clinical and economic impact. The annual economic impact of osteoarthritis of the human knee exceeds $50 billion annually in the United States alone. Treatment for osteoarthritis, including non-steroidal antiinflamatory drugs (NSAIDs) and injectable therapies (corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid) are palliative in nature and do not prevent disease progression. The proposed research aims to develop one or more effective synthetic analogs of the natural cartilage lubricant (lubricin) to prevent osteoarthritis progression. Upon completion of the research, the design of one or more commercially viable lubricin-mimetic(s) will be complete, whereupon the material(s) will move toward the preclinical evaluation that is required prior to entering human trials.

David PutnamBiomedical Engineeringdap43@cornell.edu
Scott RodeoHospital for Special Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Cornell Weill Medical College

A novel allergen delivery method for allergy immunotherapy

Allergic diseases, such as allergic rhinitis ("hayfever") and atopic dermatitis, manifest clinically as a complex of symptoms including paroxysms of sneezing, nasal congestion, unrelenting itching of the eyes, nose andpalate, and scaly and itchy rashes. Sufferers of allergic diseases report a significant degradation of overall quality of life. Allergic diseases, and the underlying allergies which cause them, represent a significant and growing public health issue in populations of industrial countries, affecting as many as 40% of children and 20-30% of adults in developed countries; the estimated direct and indirect costs are over $20 billion in the US alone. Antihistamines and nasal corticosteroids provide temporary relief of allergy symptoms only; they do not offer any long-term reversal of allergic diseases. This is a proof-of-concept study to assess the commercial potential of oral mucosal immunotherapy (OMIT), a novel mode of delivering immunotherapy to treat allergy-related pathologies. OMIT is designed to enable more successful treatment of allergies via allergen-specific immunotherapy with an administration modality that offers greater patient adherence and convenience. Key issues addressed will be the basic viability (stability) of OMIT prototype toothpaste formulations, overall usability, patient satisfaction, as well as clinical parameters of safety and efficacy.

William ReisacherOtolaryngology, Cornell Weill Medical Collegewir2011@med.cornell.edu

Student Internship and Industry Partnership

The objective of this project is to provide 15 - 20 students with the opportunity to work in small entrepreneurial companies in New York State by offering fund subsidies that will allow the companies to economically participate. Companies range from intellectual property development firms to early-stage companies working to commercialize promising scientific discoveries. The Entrepreneurship@Cornell summer internship program is unique in its focus on small companies and its personal knowledge and matching abilities for interns and companies. Companies report that these summer interns have helped identify leads for technologies and services; train customers on company technology; advance and develop products; develop company "green" policies; move into a new headquarters; research licensing and intellectual property options; set company strategy and develop Web sites, among other significant accomplishments.

Deborah StreeterThe Dyson School, CALSdhs4@cornell.edu
Debra MoeschEntrepreneurship@Cornell

Development of culture platform for the growth of vascularized tissues in vitro

Tissue engineering seeks to develop physiologically appropriate tissues to restore, maintain or improve function in clinical contexts, and provide platforms with which to study basic biological processes and screen drug candidates and drug delivery strategies. A major barrier for the generalization of tissue engineering beyond thin tissues (e.g., epithelium – thickness < 250 um) and avascular tissues (e.g., cartilage) is the formation of a functional, pervasive microvascular system within the tissue to support metabolic demand during culture in the lab and after implantation. Microvascular structure also plays a central role in defining pathological states of tissues (e.g., in cancer and diabetes), currently for which appropriate models in vitro are lacking. Recent efforts have made a major step toward addressing this challenge with the development of three-dimensional cultures that contain functional microvascular structure. In this project, we will work closely with CorSolutions to adapt their suite of tools for controlling microfluidic flows in order to manipulate the hydrodynamic stresses within our culture system. We will then exploit this new capability to investigate fundamental questions related to the mechanobiological response of blood vessels to specific hydrodynamic stresses.

Abraham StroockChemical and Biomolecular Engineeringads10@cornell.edu
Jason SpectorSurgery, Cornell Weill Medical Collegejas2037@med.cornell.edu

Endoscopically Deployable Temporary Anti-Reflux Device

Over 40 million Americans suffer from symptoms attributed to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). However, positive diagnosis of GERD is challenging. Current diagnostic methodologies such as endoscopy and pH measurement can guide management, but are not predictive for all patients. As a result, a significant number of diagnoses are missed due to poor clinical correlative sensitivities (30-90% according to current literature). A large percentage of patients do not have the classic presentation of GERD: heartburn and regurgitation. More often, they present vague symptoms such as cough, hoarseness, postnasal drip, asthma, and/or chest pain. The challenging nature of GERD diagnosis leads most often to empirical treatment, despite known side effects. The goal of this project is to develop a temporary, endoscopically-placed anti-reflux valve for use as a diagnostic tool for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). A successful device will provide the first universal means of clear correlation between symptoms and GERD, allowing accurate, positive diagnosis of this widespread condition.

Rasa ZarnegarSurgery, Cornell Weill Medical Collegeraz2002@med.cornell.edu
Carl CrawfordMedicine, Cornell Weill Medical Collegecvc9002@med.cornell.edu

Topical Therapeutics for Skin Diseases associated with DNA Damage

UV exposure to the skin is one of the most damaging effects on a cell's ability to maintain its genomic integrity. Constant UV exposure damages the cells' DNA and ultimately this accumulation of damage leads to premature cell death or the incorporation of mutations. Cells have the ability to fix this damage through a process called the nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway. However, we believe that this process is working at less than its full potential and pharmacological inhibition may indeed enhance the cells' ability to fix these mistakes. The goal of this project is to develop novel compounds that are capable of enhancing the natural DNA-repair mechanism in cells. This technology can then be used for a wide variety of applications ranging from cosmetics (anti-aging, skin enhancement topical applications) to therapeutics (skincare prescription creams for DNA damage-related diseases).

Pengbo ZhouPathology and Laboratory Medicine, Cornell Weill Medical Collegemhb2002@med.cornell.edu

Industry Collaborators

Allovate, LLC

CorSolutions

DePuy Synthes Spine

iFyber

Parker Hannifin

Repairogen

2012-2013

Innovative Biochips for Point of Care Testing

This project is for the development of an innovative and highly sensitive detection technology for the quantification of pathogenic organisms and other relevant diagnostic markers for a point-of-care test,. This lab-on-a-chip device will allow the quantification of pathogenic organisms and clinical markers at such low limits of detection that rapid assays for point-of-care settings and for in-field tests by first responders will be possible.

Dr. Antje Baeumner Biological and Environmental Engineeringajb23@cornell.edu

Synthetic glycosylation: making authentic human antibodies in glycoengineered bacteria

The fastest growing class of protein therapeutics, human monoclonal antibodies, are not commercially produced in Escherichia coli because these simple cells are inherently incapable of performing the post translational modification of asparagine-linked protein glycosylation. Due to the lack of glycosylation in this host, E. coli-derived antibodies are not able to elicit effector functions that are vital for the efficacy of many therapeutic antibodies. To remedy this situation, the focus of these studies is to produce authentic human antibodies in glycoengineered E. coli and to determine if full functionality (e.g., binding to effector molecules) is rescued by glycosylation. see related news

Dr. Matthew DeLisaChemical and Biomolecular Engineering md255@cornell.edu
Dr. Julius LucksChemical and Biomolecular Engineeringjblucks@cornell.edu

Equipment Lending Library for NYS Teachers

 The Equipment Lending Library supports K-12 science teachers who are partners with the Cornell Institute for Biology Teachers. Each equipment kit contains all supplies, equipment and instruction needed for classroom use. The kits are shipped to the teachers without charge and our CIBT staff are available by phone or email in case the teacher needs help with the kit or activity. See more.

Development of organic fertilizer systems

 This project is designed to produce organic potting soils and organic fertilizers, with an emphasis on lawn fertilizers. The specific objective is to develop organic fertilizers that function as well as current large-selling synthetic ones but that will have no or minimal contamination of ground water with nitrates or other pollutants. Development will focus on organic granular lawn fertilizers but liquid and powdered fertilizers for a variety of uses will also be developed. Three functional components necessary for development of both potting soils and organic fertilizers are rapid- and slow release organic nitrogen sources, and strains/formulations of beneficial Trichoderma strains that improve plant performance, including increasing plant nitrogen use efficiency (NUE). Current synthetic chemical fertilizers work well but their 30% N levels frequently result in nitrate water pollution. We are combining fungi that degrade keratin, two forms or keratin, NUE-increasing Trichoderma strains, and additional nutrients, into organic products whose efficacy approaches the synthetic fertilizers but release lower levels of nitrates into soil.

Development of Novel Sulfitolytic and Proteolytic Enzyme Complex to Covert Poultry Feathers into Feed Protein Supplement

Our long-term goal is to identify novel hydrolytic enzymes with ability to break down disulfide and peptide bonds in feather structural protein of keratin and develop complex of these enzymes to convert poultry feathers into valuable feed protein supplements.This project proposes, through Genomics, Proteomics, and Bioinformatics methods: 1) to search for disulfide reductases from the S. fradiae transcriptome induced by feather hydrolysis; 2) to identify feather-hydrolysis initiating enzymes by in-depth proteomic analysis of feather-binding proteins; and 3) to clone and overexpress genes encoding the selected enzymes for functional study.

Optimizing and Extending SHAPE-Seq, a High-Throughput RNA Structure Analysis Technology for Biotechnology Applications

The goal of this project is to optimize and extend a technology that we pioneered, SHAPE-Seq, that couples the enormous power of next generation sequencing with biochemical structure probing to characterize the structures of RNA molecules in unprecedented throughput. The proposed optimizations are specifically targeted to enable SHAPE-Seq to be applied to long viral RNA genomes (HIV, influenza, hepatitis, polio) to uncover RNA structures that are critical for the viral infectious cycle, and to pave the way for creating a platform to screen for small molecule drugs that target these RNA structures. This project is in collaboration with Illumina, the leading next generation sequencing company, and will have immediate impact on the biotechnology industry that already expends billions of dollars on viral treatments, vaccines and therapies. See follow-on funding from the Gates Foundation.

Dr. Julius LucksChemical and Biomolecular Engineeringjblucks@cornell.edu

Hyperspectral multiphoton microscopy

In this project we will design and build a fluorescence microscope that will be capable of imaging 48 channels of excitation/emission spectral information, while having sub-micrometer spatial resolution and being capable of three-dimensional imaging of fluorescently labeled objects deep into scattering samples. This new instrument will have primary application among biomedical researchers, and will enable them to label different cells and biological structures with a large number of fluorescent dyes and still cleanly distinguish the different dyes and therefore different biological structures. This capability will open the door to in vivo studies of the interactions among different cell types in animal models of normal and disease-state physiological functions. See news.

Development of culture platform for the growth of vascularized tissues in vitro

We aim to integrate advanced tools for controlling microfluidic flows with our microvascular tissue cultures in order to investigate the role of hydrodynamic stresses in controlling vascular development in vitro. This work aims at defining the first route to the growth of vascularized tissues for regenerative medicine and tissue-scale biological studies.

Dr. Abraham StroockChemical and Biomolecular Engineeringads10@cornell.edu

Variation discovery towards fine-mapping dog disease traits

We propose to accelerate fine-mapping and identification of causal mutations for four traits (portosystemic vascular anomalies, owner-directed aggression, orthopedic traits and lymphoma) by whole genome sequencing, one affected and one unaffected dog for each trait (eight dogs total). Discovery of new sequence variations at loci associated with the traits will enable follow-up mutation detection and deliver trait-associated variants that we will include in a future improved canine genotyping array.

Industry Collaborators

Advanced Biological Marketing Lux Capital
Cellana MiTeGen
CorSolutions Pacific BioSciences
Glycobia Pfizer Animal Health
Harrick Plasma Rheonix
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Sanmita
iFyber Semrock
Integrated Acquisition and Development Weaver Wind Energy
Kensa Group  

2011-2012

Innovative Biochips for Point of Care Testing

 We will continue the development of innovative biochips for pathogen detection. We focus on the realization of a miniaturized electrochemiluminescence (ECL) detection technology. Data obtained in the first year of funding have demonstrated a 100x lower limit of detection when comparing single-labeled DNA probes with dendrimer-labeled DNA probes, both tagged with ECL-labels. We propose to further improve the sensitivity by investigating ECL-liposomes instead of ECL-dendrimer labels. We predict to achieve detection limits 100 – 1000 lower than currently obtainable by standard electrochemical and fluorescence approaches to be feasible.To this end, we will also develop a truly miniaturized ECL detection system consisting of a 3-electrode system powered by the minipotentiostat developed in year 1; and a CCD camera

Dr. Antje Baeumner Biological and Environmental Engineeringajb23@cornell.edu

Synthesis of Improved Biodegradable Materials from CO2 and Citrus Oil

The goal of this project is the development of new biodegradable polymers derived from citrus oil and carbon dioxide. The resulting polymers have the potential to serve as a biodegradable replacement for polystyrene, a non-degradable, petroleum based polymer.

Dr. Geoffrey CoatesChemistry and Chemical Biologygc39@cornell.edu

Equipment Lending Library for NYS Teachers

The Equipment Lending Library supports K-12 science teachers who are partners with the Cornell Institute for Biology Teachers. Each equipment kit contains all supplies, equipment and instruction needed for classroom use. The kits are shipped to the teachers without charge and our CIBT are available by phone or email in case the teacher needs help with the kit or activity.

Flexible Photonics for Biomedical Diagnostics and Bioenergy Production

We propose to develop “Flexible Photonics” a new method for creating light circuits on substrates that can be as flexible as fabric. This research is the first step towards the development of “Optical Band-Aids” that can diagnose disease by simple application of a patch and photobioreactors that can produce biofuels at densities almost three orders of magnitude better than the state of the art.

Dr. David EricksonSibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineeringde54@cornell.edu

Multifunctional Endophytic Plant Enhancing Fungi

This project will develop Trichoderma strains that are very able to colonize plant roots and provide benefits for many months. The strain become endophytic symbionts that grow within roots, but not shoots, and also into the soil. The strains are resistant, and probably also degrade herbicides in soil that may provide deleterious effects, increase resistance to diseases (expected to be very efficient against damaging root rotting Oomycetes), improve resistance to abiotic stresses such as drought and salt by controlling and limiting the accumulation of toxic reactive oxygen species. This ability ought to increase the level of reduced antioxidants in plants and produce thereby improving nutrient content.  They also are expected to improve plant nitrogen use efficiency (NUE). NUE can reduce groundwater and air contamination both by reducing the rate of fertilizer applied and by increasing uptake of that which is applied. The full suite of activities is of great interest and value to developing countries since funds for inputs such as pesticides and fertilizers are limited and Trichoderma is less expensive than the inputs it can replace.  Economic systems to supply products to middle- and low-income countries are being put in place now.

Development of Novel Sulfitolytic and Proteolytic Enzyme Complex to Covert Poultry Feathers into Feed Protein Supplement

Our long-term goal is to identify novel hydrolytic enzymes with ability to break down disulfide and peptide bonds in feather structural protein of keratin and develop complex of these enzymes to convert poultry feathers into valuable feed protein supplements.This project proposes, through Genomics, Proteomics, and Bioinformatics methods: 1) to search for disulfide reductases from the S. fradiae transcriptome induced by feather hydrolysis; 2) to identify feather-hydrolysis initiating enzymes by in-depth proteomic analysis of feather-binding proteins; and 3) to clone and overexpress genes encoding the selected enzymes for functional study.

Development of SHAPE-SMRT: Multiplexed RNA Structure Characterization with Single Molecule Real Time Sequencing

The goal of this project is to couple the enormous power of third-generation DNA sequencing techniques with chemical methods to probe RNA structure to develop a platform for rapid, massively parallel RNA structure characterization. Since much of the myriad function of RNA stems from its ability to form complex structures, this platform will provide a new way of looking at RNA structure and function in a high-throughput fashion that could become a critically important technology in the development of RNA-based therapeutics and tools in areas of human health and biotechnology.

Dr. Julius LucksChemical and Biomolecular Engineeringjblucks@cornell.edu

Protecting seeds from soil-borne plant pathogens using seed treatments of freeze-dried vermicompost extracts

Our goal is to develop a reliable technique for freeze-drying vermicompost extracts and applying the dried extracts with seed coating technologies for the suppression of seed and seedling rotting pathogens. The research generated from this project will lead to novel approaches for plant disease management and the development of biological control products.

Dr. Eric NelsonPlant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biologyebn1@cornell.edu

Using P-gp Substrates as a Novel Targeting Strategy for the Treatment of Multidrug Resistant Cancers

Multidrug resistant cancers are universally fatal. The proposed research aims to establish a proof-of-concept for a new approach for treating multidrug resistant cancers, with a specific focus on breast adenocarcinoma. The worldwide oncology market exceeds $75 billion annually and continues to grow faster than other therapeutic sectors. New markets are emerging in targeted therapies as well with estimates exceeding $30 billion in 2010. However, surprisingly one oncology sector that has historically not demonstrated growth or innovation is the multidrug resistant cancer market. Multidrug resistance evolves from continued exposure to anticancer therapeutics and is manifest by the upregulation of drug efflux pumps, such as P-glycoprotein (P-gp), resulting in lower, subtherapeutic intracellular concentrations of the anticancer drugs. The research objective of the proposed work, is to use P-gp against itself to increase the local concentration of anticancer therapeutics to re-establish the efficacy of the anticancer agents.

Dr. David PutnamBiomedical Engineeringdap43@cornell.edu

2010-2011

Innovative biochips for point-of-care diagnostics

 LabOnAChip Device206-89

The development of an innovative and highly sensitive detection technology for lab-on-a-chip devices is proposed. This will allow the quantification of pathogenic organisms and clinical markers at such low limits of detection that rapid assays for point-of-care settings and for in-field tests by first responders will be possible. The new technology can be integrated into the Rheonix, Inc. CARD™ device for commercialization.

Dr. Antje BaeumnerBiological & Environmental Engineeringajb23@cornell.edu

Brush-like polymers for arthritis treatment

 custom tribometer

The goal of this project is to develop biomimetic polymeric lubricants for use in the treatment of joint injury and arthritis. We will use the structure of the native boundary lubricant of cartilage, lubricin, to design and synthesize brush-like polymers with distinct binding and lubricating domains. These compounds will be screened for their ability to lubricate cartilage and compared to the action of native lubricin. By the end of 1 year we will have identified candidate lubricants that can be tested for their ability to inhibit the onset of arthritis in a rodent model currently run by our collaborators at Pfizer.

Dr. Lawrence BonassarMechanical & Aerospace Engineeringlb244@cornell.edu
Dr. David PutnamBiomedical Engineeringdap43@cornell.edu

Modulation of endothelial cell permeability by adenosine

Adenios

The goal of this project is to determine if adenosine receptor modulating compounds approved by the FDA can be used to modify permeability of the blood brain barrier to improve clinical delivery of a variety of therapeutic compounds designed to treat central nervous system conditions such as stroke, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and brain cancer.

Dr. Margaret BynoeMicrobiology & Immunologymsb76@cornell.edu

Development of a device for characterizing and sorting membrane proteins in their native state

 Lipid Bilayer Electrophoresis

The purpose of this project is to develop a device capable of sorting membrane proteins based on their interactions with various lipids in a tunable composition membrane, while preserving their native structure. This device will facilitate proteomic identification of raft proteins without the artifacts that exist in any other current assay strategy. Since raft-associated proteins are thought to be important in many signaling pathways and implicated in many diseases, accurately identifying raft species and being able to assess the functional dependence of their local lipid environment on their function is vital to designing drugs to alter signaling pathways and designing biotechnological devices to mimic protein function.

Dr. Susan DanielChemical & Biomolecular Engineeringsd386@cornell.edu
Dr. Alexander TravisReproductive Biology & Wildlife Conservation, Baker Institute for Animal Healthajt32@cornell.edu

Production of recombinant human glucocerebrosidase in glycoengineered E. coli

 production of rGCase202-9

Glucocerebrosidase enzyme replacement therapy has revolutionized the clinical treatment of Gaucher’s disease, but inefficiencies in the production platform have resulted in costs prohibitive to the healthcare consumer. Recombinant glucocerebrosidase is expressed in mammalian cell culture making the process expensive, susceptible to viral contamination, and require further in vitro processing of uncontrollable glycoforms. These proposed studies focus on producing active glucocerebrosidase in glycoengineered E. coli cells without the need for mammalian cell culture or in vitro chemical modification.

Dr. Matthew DeLisaChemical & Biomolecular Engineeringmd255@cornell.edu

Equipment lending library for NYS science teachers

The Equipment Lending Library ships molecular biology equipment and reagents, as well as other science kits to NYS teachers. Last year, over 8,000 students were able to do hands-on molecular biology using this equipment.

Ms. Laurel SouthardOffice of Undergraduate Biologyles3@cornell.edu

Nonwoven constructs for diverse plant production systems

Instant flowers

Research over the past several years have provided excellent opportunities to develop technologies that use only a few platform manufacturing systems and that provide novel uses for agricultural waste products such as manures. The goal of the proposed work will be to provide nonwoven fabrics that will be at the core of a variety of products for horticultural, architectural and other uses. These include living walls, living roofs, instant turf, erosion control fabrics and for use in greenhouse vegetable culture. Prototypes of the living walls are receiving rave reviews by potential users.

Potential therapeutic agents for Alzheimer's Disease

In a collaborative effort between a newly formed NYS company, ADispell, Inc., and the academic laboratory of Professor George P. Hess, and based on mechanisms not hitherto related to Alzheimer’s Disease, two different but related discoveries will be exploited as leads to novel compound(s) for therapeutic use. The prevalence of Alzheimer’s Disease is increasing as populations age, but there is still no successful therapy, and the resulting costs are escalating. Currently, 5.3 million people in the USA are affected and 35 million worldwide. In vitro and in vivo approaches will be used to characterize and optimize the newly identified tropane compound(s), one of which is a non-toxic metabolite of an existing drug. The aim of the company is to enter the compound(s) in the pharmaceutical pipeline.

Dr. George Hess, Molecular Biology & Geneticsgph2@cornell.edu

Development of novel sulfolytic and proteolytic enzyme complex to convert poultry feathers into feed protein supplement

Lei project

 Our long-term goal is to identify novel hydrolytic enzymes with ability to break down disulfide and peptide bonds in feather structural protein of keratin and develop complex of these enzymes to convert poultry feathers into valuable feed protein supplements. Despite high protein content (> 90%) and voluminous production (> 1 million tons in the US per annum), poultry feathers are poorly digested by animals. To solve this problem, we acquired a unique, powerful feather-degrading actinomycete strain (Streptomyces fradiae). With the previous CAT grant, we have initiated the genome sequencing of the strain and functional characterizations of its feather-hydrolysis proteome. In this application, we propose to use Cornell Core Facilities of genome sequencing, proteomics, and computational biology: 1) to construct a high-quality full genome; and 2) to identify rate-limiting enzymes for breakdown of disulfide and peptide bonds in the basic structure of feather protein. Thereafter, we will clone and over-express genes encoding these key enzymes, and develop optimal enzyme complex for feather hydrolysis.

Development of biocontrol products from vermicomposted dairy cow manure

Nelson vermicompost effect

Our goal is to understand developmental responses of Pythium aphanidermatum to plants grown in vermicomposted dairy cow manure in order to explain the fundamental mechanism(s) associated with disease suppression. In our current project, we will investigate sporangial stages of pathogenic development in Pythium aphanidermatum that precede the zoospore chemotaxis and encystment stages investigated in our previous work. These stages are key to the success of P. aphanidermatum as a pathogen. Detailed knowledge of these developmental stages will allow us to predict pathogen responses to disease suppressive substrates and also identify biotic and abiotic properties and processes that influence disease suppression in vermicomposts.

Dr. Eric B. NelsonPlant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biologyebn1@cornell.edu

Ultrasound guided and assisted treatment for deep vein thrombosis

 ultrasound imaging

The purpose of this project is to develop an intravascular, ultrasound-based method to rapidly locate and dissolve deep vein thromboses (DVTs) using ultrasound-enhanced thrombolytic therapy. Ultrasound in combination with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) and other clot-dissolving drugs is an effective method of DVT dissolution, but it is a slow process owing to limitations in the amount of energy and the coverage area of commercially available intravascular, catheter-based ultrasound technology. We will improve a promising DVT treatment by developing a novel catheter and ultrasound transducer that uses time-reversal acoustics to increase the coverage area of ultrasound-enhanced tPA delivery, thereby reducing DVT clot dissolution times, enhancing patient outcomes, and improving commercial potential

Dr. William Olbricht,Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering,wlo1@cornell.edu

Student internship and industry partnership

 Jason Springs Geneweave photo JonReis

With the help of funding from the New York State Centers for Advanced Technology (CAT), Entrepreneurship@Cornell has placed more than 60 interns at small high-tech and scientific companies in New York State during the past six summers. Those companies range from intellectual property development firms to early-stage companies working to commercialize promising scientific discoveries.

 
Dr. Deborah Streeter,Applied Economics & Developmentdhs4@cornell.edu

Cell-permeable tetrapeptides for intracellular delivery of antiviral aminoglycosides

 intracellular delivery

The main goal of this application is to utilize Cornell University-based technologies to convert entire class well-known antibiotics, aminoglycosides, into potent, nontoxic, and cost-effective antivirals.

Dr. Hazel SzetoPharmacology, Weill Medical College,hhszeto@med.cornell.edu
Dr. Edward DuboviPopulation Medicine & Diagnostic Sciencesejd5@cornell.edu