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UNM Rainforest Innovations Hosts Its First Virtual Innovation Showcase

UNM Rainforest Innovations (formerly STC.UNM) hosted its first virtual Innovation Showcase on August 26 featuring the latest developments in research and technology from the University of New Mexico. The showcase was well received and kicked off with welcoming remarks from Lisa Kuuttila, CEO & Chief Economic Development Officer of UNM Rainforest Innovations.

Six researchers from the University of New Mexico were invited to pitch their technologies via Zoom to a guest list of entrepreneurs, investors, and industry representatives. The six presentations featured both life-science and physical-science technologies and were moderated by UNM Rainforest Innovations staff members Gregg Banninger, Innovation Manager of Life Sciences, and Alex Roerick, Senior Innovation Associate of Engineering & Physical Sciences.

All technologies features in the showcase are listed below. Follow the link to each technology’s Flintbox page to learn more about commercialization opportunities and also view the recording of each presentation on the UNM Rainforest Innovations YouTube channel.

Silicified Tumors Cancer Treatment
Rita Serda, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, Cancer Therapeutics
To view Rita Serda’s Flintbox page, click here.
To view the presentation, click here.

This technology identifies a novel cryosilicification process that transforms cancer cells into microbe memetics. The researchers found that when the silicified cancer cells coated with dual Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands were administered into the tumor microenvironment in mice with metastatic ovarian cancer, they activate a cancer-specific immune response. Mice with established tumors had a 100% cure rate. There is a great need for ovarian cancer treatment due to the lack of tumor-directed therapy to produce durable responses.

Circular RNAs for Diagnostics and Treatment of Brain Disorders
Nikolaos Mellios, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Neurosciences
To view the technology’s Flintbox page, click here.
To view the presentation, click here.

This technology identifies a relationship between circular RNA’s (circRNA) and psychiatric disorders such as BD and SCZ. The relationship and correlations found between circRNA, BD and SCZ can be used in order to further develop circRNAs as biomarkers to effectively and efficiently identify psychiatric disorders in patients during early stages of the disease, or before the onset of the disease, help examine therapeutic efficacy, and design novel drug targets. This also holds the potential for the development of quick and direct diagnosis of psychiatric disease through the use of blood samples and patient-derived cultures.

Catheters for Debonding Fouling Agents form an Interior Surface
Gabriel Lopez, Ph.D., Vice President for Research
To view the technology’s Flintbox page, click here.
To view the presentation, click here.

This technology is an innovative catheter, capable of deformation that facilitates biological material debonding from the catheter’s surface. The ability to cleanse the interior surfaces of the catheter decreases the likelihood of the user developing catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs). In addition, the elimination of biofilms increases the safe usage period or duration of the catheter.

Portable Vibrating Mesh Atomizer
Nathan Jackson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
To view the technology’s Flintbox page, click here.
To view the presentation, click here.

This technology has identified an alternative method of manufacturing a monolithic microfabricated vibrating mesh atomizer, for portable vaporization applications. Microfabrication procedures enable the synthesis and modification of unique pore sizes through 1) a multitude of etching techniques, 2) easy integration of the piezoelectric materials into the mesh, and 3) the ability to position the microfluidic chamber at various locations to dispense a large range of liquids from a single device. Various material substrates (silicon, or a selected polymer) are utilized to reduce the stiffness of the mesh and reduce overall manufacturing costs.

In-line Angular Optical Multi-Point Scatterometry for Nanomanufacturing Systems
Steven Brueck, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor
To view the technology’s Flintbox page, click here.
To view the presentation, click here.

This technology is an innovative, multi-point angular in-line scatterometer. Instantaneous characterization of the substrate during R2R processing can be achieved utilizing this module. Previous innovations by the researchers were utilized to construct a module enabling dynamic single-point scatterometry. As an extension of this single point method, this multi-point system can be configured to provide a sampling of points, which cover the entire width of the web with only limited motion capabilities. By providing real-time information on vibrational or fluidic disturbances of the substrate during R2R processing and on the output of each unit process, the innovative scatterometer acts to further enhance the scalability of R2R processing.

Super-Scattering: Spectrally Tuned Camouflage by Accelerated Evolution
Sang M. Han, Ph.D., Professor
To view the technology’s Flintbox page, click here.
To view the presentation, click here.

This technology proposes to achieve optical super-scattering through the optimization of white beetle scales, with the ultimate goal of harnessing camouflage capability in any desired electromagnetic spectrum. Through optical modeling and the utilization of genetic algorithms, the technology minimizes and evolves the key descriptors, enabling the construction of optimized structures. Due to the resulting constructs, they are capable of introducing new materials (e.g., polyethylene and silicon dioxide) and synthetic paths to create structures that share the same optimized descriptors. This work will open a new area of material science, exploiting the biological evolutionary process to broadly achieve extraordinary properties.