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Development of injectable collagen for clinical sealing of disc herniations

Our goal is to develop injectable collagen-based materials for the sealing of herniated discs.  Disc herniations have significant influence on the US population, with more than 250,000 discectomy procedures performed each year. Left untreated, damaged discs are prone to reherniation and frequently continue to degenerate. We have previously shown that injectable formulations of collagen that are crosslinked in place in the spine can prevent disc degeneration in rats and sheep. A main limitation in translating this technology to the clinic is the availability of clinical-grade sources of materials.  We are partnering with 3DBio Therapeutics, a New York State-based, startup company based on Cornell technology. 3DBio is developing clinical grade collagen gels for multiple medical applications. The goal of this project is to benchmark materials made by 3DBio for their mechanical properties, integration with disc tissue, and restoration of performance to sheep motion segments in comparison to our current formulation that has proven effective in vivo in rats and sheep.  Cornell's Center for Materials Research (CCMR), also funded by NYSTAR, has contributed additional funding to Lawrence Bonassar, to aid in the development of new materials associated with his technology.

Company partner: 3DBio Therapeutics

Academic PI: Lawrence Bonassar, Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering/Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering

Choline and docosahexaenoic acid: A synergistic approach to improve DHA delivery to fetal tissue

Intake needs for the essential nutrient choline, a principal constituent of the cellular membrane phospholipid phosphatidylcholine (PC), are acutely high during pregnancy, a time when cellular proliferation and tissue expansion are accelerated. The goal of the present study is to determine the impact of maternal choline supplementation during pregnancy on the dynamics of maternal-fetal DHA transfer. Outcomes of this study are expected to provide rationale for a re-evaluation of choline recommendations during pregnancy as well as to guide the development of prenatal supplement formulations/products that support optimal fetal brain development and future neurological health.

Company partner: Balchem

Academic PI: Marie Caudill, Division of Nutritional Sciences

Evaluating the impact of automated ultra-fast cooling and warming in science-based optimization of assisted reproduction outcomes

Cryopreservation of oocytes, embryos, and sperm is fundamental to contemporary human and non-human animal assisted reproduction treatments. In human assisted reproduction, the widespread adoption of fast-cooling protocols, in which samples are plunged into liquid nitrogen or into straws immersed in liquid nitrogen, have improved post-thaw oocyte survival, developmental, and pregnancy rates. Despite this progress, fertility outcomes vary with significant room for improvements. We propose to apply ultra-fast cooling and related MiTeGen technology to cooling and warming of bovine oocytes and embryos, to evaluate whether ultra-fast cooling and fast warming which reduce ice formation, combined with lower cryoprotectant concentrations, can improve viability and developmental outcomes. This ultra-fast cooling approach should be able to increase the cooling rate from ~20 °C/s in conventional methods to at least 10,000 °C/s, which should significantly improve overall cryopreservation success rates by reducing ice formation while using much lower cryoprotectant concentrations, increasing reproducibility of outcomes while lowering costs.

Partner company: MiTeGen

Academic PI: Soon Hon Cheong, Reproductive Medicine, Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine

Improving biosecurity against high-impact animal diseases in the veterinary environment

bioWALL LLC is partnering with the Cornell Animal Health Diagnostic Center (AHDC) to develop a knowledge-base and commercial platform that aims to promote best practices in industrial hygiene and biosecurity in the veterinary environment. bioWALL and its parent company, Sabre, specialize in controlling pathogen contamination across various industries. The companies’ core technologies combine its ready-to-use chlorine dioxide sanitizer, marketed under the tradename Diklor®-S, with advanced bioscience to design and implement biosecurity and decontamination strategies. By improving the ease and effectiveness in which research staff can perform sanitation of necropsy rooms coupled with more accurate reporting of environmental contamination data to stakeholders, veterinary facilities will be armed with the proper tools to implement an advanced biosecurity program. We envision this proposal to improve operations of clinical and diagnostic veterinary practices by providing: (1) a better understanding of animal disease issues in the working environment; (2) a relative reduction in viral and bacterial contamination rates; (3) the potential to stop a potential contamination event before it starts. Cornell's Center for Materials Research (CCMR), also funded by NYSTAR, has contributed additional funding to Laura Goodman, to aid in the development of new materials associated with her technology.

Company partner: Sabre Companies LLC

Academic PI: Laura Goodman, Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, Animal Health Diagnostic Center, College of Veterinary Medicine

Nutrition 2.0 – Novel amino acid supplementation strategies to improve health and productivity of periparturient dairy cattle

The transition period around calving is the time of greatest risk for health and future productivity of dairy cows. A period of rapidly increasing demands of energy and substrates for milk production and the concurrent decrease in feed intake in the time around parturition lead to lack of important nutrients. Amino acids are important building blocks of proteins, as well as serving as mediators to increase or decrease certain biological functions, such as immune response, oxidative stress response, and milk production. The beneficial effects of targeted supplementation of the essential amino acid arginine (ARG) have been demonstrated in monogastric species and more recently by intravenous infusion in dairy cows. We aim to determine if such beneficial effects can be produced by targeted oral supplementation of ARG through the diet. Outcomes of interest are metabolic indicators, parameters to assess inflammation and oxidative stress, immune cell function, as well as effects on milk production. We expect that we can replicate the positive effects of ARG on health and productivity in dairy cows by oral supplementation, and that we can use the results of this work directly in the industry to improve sustainable production practices through targeted application of this natural feed supplement.

Company partner: Natural Biologics, Inc.

Academic PI: Thomas Overton, Animal Science

Novel agricultural products to improve crop yields via microbiome engineering

The partnership between Ascribe Bioscience and the research groups of Cornell University Professors Frank Schroeder and Jenny Kao Kniffen is intended to develop new products for agriculture that address the need to increase food production to sustain a growing human population without continued reliance on toxic synthetic chemicals that harm human health and the environment. Within the one-year CAT period, we propose to evaluate an array of nematode signaling molecules for their ability to modulate growth of both beneficial and pathogenic soil microorganisms that are known to impact the health of crop plants. The most potent of the identified modulators will be matched to potential commercial applications and then evaluated for efficacy in commercially-relevant agricultural settings.

Company partner: Ascribe Bioscience, Inc.

Academic PI: Frank Schroeder, Chemistry and Chemical Biology