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UNM Rainforest Innovations Hosts Its Second Virtual Innovation Showcase

On November 10, UNM Rainforest Innovations (formerly STC.UNM) hosted its second virtual Innovation Showcase featuring the latest developments in research and technology from the University of New Mexico (UNM). Six researchers pitched their technologies via Zoom and featured both life-science and physical-science technologies. Presentations 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 featured in the showcase are listed below. To learn more about commercialization opportunities, follow the link to each technology’s Flintbox page.

3D Bioprinting and Near-Field Electrospinning for Targeted Fabrication of Scaffolds for Bone-Soft Tissue Interface Engineering
Christina Salas, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Orthopedic Research
To view the Flintbox page, click here.
To view a recording of the presentation, click here.

This technology is a novel, hybrid 3D bioprinting and near-field electrospinning manufacturing system and method for fabricating tissue interface scaffolds capable of resisting high external loads (i.e., ligaments, tendons, and other soft-tissue). The scaffold is tri-phasic, allowing for a biochemically and biomechanically graded interface from bone to soft-tissue. Moreover, nano/microstructure, mechanical properties, and biodegradation rates of the scaffold can be controlled. An anatomically patient-specific scaffold created for ligament regeneration can be culturedin-vitroand implanted or implanted directly into the injured site where regeneration is inducedin-vivo. The system to create the scaffolds allows for merging two manufacturing techniques, optimized individually for fabricating the bone and soft-tissue phases, respectively. The interface region is created through a combined print/spin technique, and architecturally and materially graded, omni-directionally.

Therapeutic Potential of the Tyrosine Phosphatase STEP in Reducing Ischemic Brain Injury
Surojit Paul, Ph.D., Professor, Neurosciences
To view the Flintbox page, click here.
To view a recording of the presentation, click here.

This technology is a novel method of treating ischemic brain injuries. Rather than developing a drug specifically to inactivate NMDAR, components that are activated by NMDAR stimulation have been targeted. In particular, the brain-enriched tyrosine phosphatase STEP (also known as STriatal Enriched Phosphatase) has been targeted. An intravenously administered peptide has been developed to stop the activation of STEP. This results in significant reduction of infarct size even when delivered 1.5 hours after stroke onset. Various acute and chronic brain injuries may be treated using this peptide, they include stroke, traumatic brain injury (TBI), Huntington’s chorea, and schizophrenia. In addition, disorders associated with fear memory (post-traumatic stress disorder) may be treated or ameliorated.

Blood Biomarker for Early Blood Brain Barrier Disruption in Ischemic Stroke
Ke Jian (Jim) Liu, Ph.D., Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences
To view the Flinbox page, click here.
To view a recording of the presentation, click here.

Blood brain barrier (BBB) disruption is a hypothesized precursor to ICH. Studies have shown an intriguing phenomenon that ischemic brain regions with compromised BBB at the time of tPA administration are at high risk of intracerebral bleeding. As thus, early ischemic BBB damage appears to be a key factor to determine whether ischemic brain tissue can safely withstand a return of blood flow and is increasingly considered a promising pretreatment predictor for post-thrombolysis ICH. Researchers at the University of New Mexico have used this concept to develop a rapid and reliable blood-based indicator for predicting post-thrombolysis ICH. This technology detects early ischemic BBB damage thus allowing physicians to administer tPA treatment while understanding the patient’s risk for symptomatic ICH.

Integrated Silicon Photonics Platforms for Scalable Quantum Systems
Marek Osinski, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering
To view the Flintbox page, click here.
To view a recording of the presentation, click here.

This technology is an integrated platform to implement novel devices for quantum communications. The integrated superconductor platform utilizes an emitter and photodetector for optimal quantum information technology on the same integrated chip. Each quantum application, whether communication, computing, metrology, sensing, etc., has its own requirements that form the basis of silicon quantum photonic integrated circuits. Individual devices such as single-photon sources, detectors, and dielectric waveguides have been largely uncharted in relation to their quantum network but could potentially transform quantum information technology.

Low Cost, Printable Colorimetric UV Personal Dosimetry
Kannan Ramaiyan, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, Chemical & Biological Engineering
To view the Flintbox page, click here.
To view a recording of the presentation, click here.

This technology is a colorimetric dye, sensitized to UV photocomposition, for use as a direct-reading colorimetric radiation dosimeter. Unlike traditional colorimetric dyes, this invention does not require submersion in hazardous solvents, enabling it to be printed on an absorbent substrate, such as paper. The dye undergoes a color transition across a yellow-brown scale, upon exposure to UV radiation. The color spectrum indicates the extent of UV dosage. The dosimeter is mobile, low-cost, and simple; thus, eliminating the need for ex situ heating and photomultiplier detectors to interpret the fluorescence. This ease of use permits users to personally identify and evaluate their risk of skin cancer at any desired location and time.

Optical Cryocooler & Refrigeration Portfolio
Mansoor Sheik-Bahae, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, Physics & Astronomy
To view the Flintbox page, click here.
To view a recording of the presentation, click here.

This technology is an all-solid-state cryocooler, revolutionizing and breaking the temperature barrier of 170K attained by multi-stage standard thermo-electric or Peltier coolers. This method combines optically pumped semiconductor lasers (OPSL) together with the intracavity enhancement method (see 2006-054) to construct a compact optical cryocooler. This device is called aDiode-pumpedIntracavitySolid-stateCryocooler (DISC).