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NEW -  Important Information for Investigators with International Collaborations

Aug 28

From left to right: Olga Kaufman, Fran Ribaudo, James Martino, Maureen Case, Sean Boykevisch, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce and Deputy Director of the USPTO Ms. Laura Peter, Donna Tumminello, Valery Matthys, and LeAnn Acconcia

On August 6th, members of the OTLIR team visited the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C. It was a great opportunity for us to meet with economists and patent examiners, to learn more about advanced patent searching techniques, foreign patent license grants, and patent examination policies, practices, and procedures.

May 30

The Stony Brook University Chapter of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI-SBU) held its 2019 Annual Meeting at the Charles B. Wang Center on May 1, and inducted 16 new members and 4 honorary members to the Academy. The newly inducted academic inventors have held patents issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office and from various departments, including Anesthesiology, Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Chemistry, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Medicine, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Orthopedics, Physics and Astronomy, Radiation Oncology, and Radiology. With these 20 new members, NAI-SBU now holds 88 NAI members, including 8 NAI fellows.

NAI-SBU President Dr. Iwao Ojima described the NAI and its mission, NAI fellows, the background for the establishment of the NAI-SBU and its mission as well as action plan. He was happy to report about the two recently inducted NAI fellows, Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, Dean of the School of Medicine and Senior Vice President of Health Sciences, and William Studier, Senior Biophysicist Emeritus at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry at Stony Brook University. They were inducted at the NAI Annual Meeting in Houston, TX in April. Dr. Ojima pointed out that The Research Foundation of SUNY is ranked 31st in the world for the number of US Utility Patents in the year 2017. As a fulfillment of NAI-SBU’s mission, he also reported about the successful establishment of the NAI-SBU “Young Academic Inventor’s Awards,” which it is now in its third year of establishment.

Dr. Ojima then conveyed a message from NAI President Dr. Paul Sanberg: “On behalf of the Board of Directors of the National Academy of Inventors, congratulations on another productive year of outstanding contributions to academic innovation! Welcome to all returning Stony Brook Chapter of the NAI members and congratulations to the 16 new members and 4 honorary members being inducted today. The NAI is proud to have Stony Brook University, a true innovation powerhouse, as part of our membership.” He certified the inductions by declaring, “In recognition of your support and commitment to advancing technological development and innovation, I hereby declare and certify that you are Members of the National Academy of Inventors and are granted all rights and privileges of the Academy.” He concluded by saying, “Congratulations, and we are honored to have you as members of the NAI and celebrate your accomplishments. It is wonderful to see the Stony Brook University Chapter of the NAI grow, and we look forward to learning of your continued success.” It gave a memorable moment to all inductees and attendees.

At the Induction Ceremony, each inductee was called to the stage, received the NAI Member Certificate and a photo taken with the NAI-SBU President and Executive Director. Following the ceremony, NAI-SBU Executive Committee Member Dr. Gerald Smaldone, School of Medicine Distinguished Professor and Pulmonologist, delivered the Keynote Lecture, “Inventions and Translational Research in Academia.” Dr. Smaldone described his success and innovative research endeavors on the development of aerosol devices. He explained the trials and tribulations of attending physicians in their journey for the pursuit of new research developments and inventions. He gracefully acknowledged the unending support provided by the Office of Technology Transfer throughout the years. It was a highly stimulating presentation and very well received by all attendees.

NAI-SBU also honored three winners of the “Young Academic Inventor’s Award” — who for the first time are all women:

Eszter Boros, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, for her discovery and for her invention of “Triazamacrocycle-Derived Chelators for the Coordination of Imaging and Therapy Metal Ions”

Cristina Lazzarini, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, for her innovative “Development of Novel Antifungal Compounds”

Krupanandan Haranahalli, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Chemistry, for her invention of “A New Class of Highly Potent Antifungal Compounds”

Each winner received an award certificate and a $1,000 check.

The Annual Meeting concluded with Closing Remarks by Executive Director Donnelly, followed by photo sessions for award winners and NAI-SBU Executive Committee members. Receptions before and after the Annual Meeting provided excellent networking opportunities for new and old NAI members, awardees, Office of Technology Licensing and Industry Relations members, Center for Biotechnology staff members, and patent attorneys from law firms.

Membership in the NAI is available only through local university chapters. NAI currently holds more than 215 member institutions and 18 affiliated institutions worldwide, as well as 40 chapters, including NAI-SBU. Chapter members are automatically enrolled as members of the NAI, with all rights and privileges thereof. The SBU-NAI will foster research that leads to academic inventions and entrepreneurship from faculty and students. The chapter also helps build a culture of invention across all campus disciplines and cultivates the next generation of academic inventors.

New Members of SBU-NAI

NAI MEMBERS

Wadie Bahou, Professor, Department of Medicine
Avraham Dilmanian, Professor of Research, Department of Radiation Oncology
Bruce Futcher, Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Dmitri Gavrilov, Senior Research Scientist, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Amirhossein Goldan, Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology
Michael Gurvitch, Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy
Gary Halada, Associate Professor, Department of Material Science and Chemical Engineering
Rebecca Isseroff, Technician, Department of Material Science and Chemical Engineering
Martin Kaczocha, Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology
Steffen Mueller, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Vladimir Samuilov, Teaching Professor, Department of Material Science and Chemical Engineering
Anurag Purwar, Research Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Daniel Raleigh, Professor, Department of Chemistry
Peter Tonge, Distinguished Professor, Department of Chemistry
Edward Wang, Associate Professor, Department of Orthopedics
Yimei Zhu, Adjunct Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy

NAI HONORARY MEMBERS

Sean Boykevisch, Office of Technology Licensing and Industry Relations
Alan Rosenberg, Brookhaven National Laboratory
Deborah A. Somerville, Fox Rothschild LLP
William Studier, Brookhaven National Laboratory

May 31

The fourth annual Incubator Showcase will be held at the Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology (CEWIT) building located in the Research and Development Park located off 1500 Stony Brook Rd., Stony Brook NY on June 5, 2019 from 9:00am to 12:00pm.  This event will host over 50 StartUp companies from Stony Brook University incubators.  The companies will exhibit their research/products, and be on-hand to discuss their ideas as well as answer any questions you may have. The event is free, but attendees must pre-register to attend. 

To register, please click HERE .

Apr 25

A new digital portal for inventors, designed to facilitate the protection and disclosure of discoveries by Stony Brook innovators, will be launched April 26 to coincide with World Intellectual Property Day (#WorldIPDay).

The online service, provided by the Office of Technology Licensing and Industry Relations (OTLIR), will assist researchers by streamlining the process of licensing inventions.

“We consider the protection of intellectual property of Stony Book inventors and the promotion of technology commercialization as essential for supporting the integrity and vitality of the Stony Brook innovation ecosystem,” said Richard J. Reeder, Vice President for Research at Stony Brook University and Operations Manager for the SUNY Research Foundation.

“With the new Online Inventor Portal, critical processes become easier and faster, ” Reeder said.

The Online Inventor Portal will allow faculty inventors to:

  • create, route, submit, view status and digitally sign technology invention disclosures online;
  • give co-creators rights to review, edit, and approve disclosures before submission;
  • access portal functionality from any browser;
  • view historical invention disclosures and intellectual property related to inventions; and
  • communicate directly with the OTLIR in a “Remarks Section.”

World IP Day is an annual celebration sponsored by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to build awareness about the role that intellectual property rights play in encouraging innovation and creativity.

Questions about the service should be directed to OTLIR at 631-632-9009 or sbu_ntd@stonybrook.edu.

May 25
Benjamin Martin, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, has received the Pershing Square Sohn Prize for Young Investigators in Cancer Research for his work with circulating tumor cells The award, granted to promising early career New York City-area cancer research scientists, includes a three-year $600,000 grant, effective July 1. Professor Martin and colleague David Q. Matus, PhD, are using state-of-the-art microscopy and genetic analysis of circulating tumor cells to achieve an unprecedented level of understanding about how these cells exit blood vessels and invade news sites on the body. To help accelerate breakthroughs in cancer research, the Pershing Square Research Alliance has invested $25 million in next generation medical research talent. For more about Professor Martin’s cancer research see this recent published paper Science, and his bio and video explanation on his research. For more about the award and recipients, see this press release.
Apr 09

By combining data on pathology images of 13 types of cancer and correlating that with clinical and genomic data, a Stony Brook University-led team of researchers are able to identify tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), called TIL maps, which will enable cancer specialists to generate tumor-immune information from routinely gathered pathology slides.

Published in Cell Reports, the paper details how TIL maps are related to the molecular characterization of tumors and patient survival. The method may provide a foundation on how to better diagnose and create a treatment plan for cancers that are responsive to immune-based anti-cancer therapy, such as melanoma, lung, bladder, and certain types of colon cancer.

The gold standard for cancer diagnosis remains the pathology report from a biopsied tumor tissue. Diagnosis plays a leading role in how a patient will be treated. In certain situations and with forms of cancer treated with immune-based therapies, pathologists are also tasked with making observations on the immunologic features of the tumor tissue to determine which patients are most likely to benefit from these therapies. TILs are unleashed by immunotherapies to destroy cancer cells.

“This paper demonstrates that we can now use deep learning  methods such as artificial intelligence to extract and classify  patterns of immune cells in ubiquitously obtained pathology studies, and to relate immune cell patterns to the many other types of cancer patient molecular and clinical data,” says Joel Saltz, MD, PhD, the Cherith Chair of Biomedical Informatics at Stony Brook University and lead author of the paper, titled “Spatial Organization and Molecular Correlation of Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocytes Using Deep Learning on Pathology Images.”

The research includes researchers from Stony Brook University, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Emory University, and the Institute for Systems Biology. The work stems from the efforts of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project.

In the study, the researchers applied machine learning to digitized pathology images to characterize patterns of immune infiltration present in 4,759 TCGA patients and within 13 cancer types processing more than 5,000 digital images from the cancer types to create a “computational stain” for each. With these, they created TIL maps as a potential new guide to diagnosis and treatment planning.

TCGA is a decade long comprehensive effort spearheaded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Human Genome Research Institute in collaboration with the cancer research community worldwide. The TIL map study is part of a cohort of 27 manuscripts published in Cell Press communicating results by the TCGA PanCancer Atlas Initiative,  which has compared and contrasted molecular features of all TCGA tumor samples from more than 10,000 cases comprising 33 different forms of cancer.

“Developing machine learning tools such as this proof of principle project to map lymphocytic infiltration patterns is important for research reproducibility in immune-oncology and will also allow these approaches to begin to be deployed as decision support for pathologists as we evaluate and report our cases for routine decision-making,” says Alexander Lazar, MD, PhD, Professor of Pathology & Genomic Medicine at MD Anderson and a co-author.

The investigators were able to develop the method and proof of concept with the assistance of data collection and calculations by way of high-performance computing systems available through Stony Brook’s Institute for Advanced Computational Science and Division of Information Technology.

Dr. Saltz and colleagues nationwide continue to investigate the use of digital archiving of pathology and the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to enhance diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

The research was supported in part by the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the Cancer Research Institute and the National Science Foundation

Apr 23

A new technology employing endocannabinoids for pain relief, developed by Stony Brook University researchers affiliated with the Institute of Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery (ICB & DD), has been licensed to Artelo Biosciences, Inc. Endocannabinoids are natural marijuana-like substances in the body and have potential as the basis for new medicines. Artelo has an exclusive license with the Research Foundation for the State University of New York to the intellectual property portfolio of FABP inhibitors for the modulation of the endocannabinoid system for the treatment of pain, inflammation and cancer.

Fatty Acid Binding Proteins have been identified as intracellular transporters for the endocannabinoid anadamide (AEA), a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that binds to THC receptors. Animal studies have demonstrated that elevated levels of endocannabinoids can result in beneficial pharmacological effects on stress, pain and inflammation and also ameliorate the effects of drug withdrawal. By inhibiting FABP transporters, the level of AEA is raised. Potential drugs acting in this manner would create elevated levels of AEA. The mechanism of action of such drugs would be similar to that of current antidepressants, which inhibit the transport of serotonin.

During the first year of the agreement, Artelo will collaborate with the Stony Brook research team to identify a lead FABP compound for drug development and formulation. The company will then conduct drug efficacy tests in nonclinical animal models of the compound.

The multidisciplinary research team is led by Dale Deutsch, PhD, Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, and a member of the ICB & DD.  The research has been supported by a $3.8 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an arm of the National Institutes of Health.

“The unique aspect of this research is that our focus is to investigate ways to active natural ‘marijuana’ in our bodies, the endocannabinoids,” said Deutsch. “This system has advantages over the properties of actual marijuana since endocannabinoids are not connected with dependence, potentially leading to addiction, but does act effectively against pain.”

Their research started in 2009 with the identification of the FABPs as the transporters of the endocannabinoids. When these compounds bind to the FABP they resulted in higher levels of AEA specifically. By using computational biology for virtual screening and actual assays, the researchers discovered lead compounds that bind to the FABPs and were analgesics for various types of pain.

The AEA research led to three Stony Brook University patent-covering new chemical compounds (called Stony Brook FABP Inhibitors or SB-FIs), which Artelo will investigate during its drug development plan.

“This licensing agreement gives us access to a promising intellectual property portfolio that is squarely aligned with our strategic direction as a scientific team with a proven track record of success,” said Gregory Gorgas, Chief Executive Officer of Artelo. “Working together to evaluate and identify novel FABP inhibitors based upon existing scientific data for clinical development will be complimentary to our drug pipeline and create a new opportunity for Artelo.”

In order to design the novel FABP inhibitors, members of the FABP Stony Brook research group required expertise in many disciplines, such as biochemistry, chemistry, computational biology, computer science, X-ray crystallography and medicine. The team includes Deutsch; Distinguished Professor Iwao Ojima, also the Director of the ICB & DD; Martin Kaczocha of the Department of Anesthesiology; Robert Rizzo  of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, and Huilin Li, formerly of the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology.

Apr 23

The Microscopy Society of America (MSA) has selected Yimei Zhu — a Stony Brook University adjunct professor and a senior physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) — to receive the 2018 Distinguished Scientist Award for physical sciences. This award annually recognizes two senior scientists, one in the physical sciences and the other in biological sciences, for their long-standing record of achievement in the field of microscopy and microanalysis.

“I am extremely humbled by this recognition, the highest honor of the society, and to be selected among the most distinguished scientists in the field worldwide,” said Zhu, who is leader of the Electron Microscopy and Nanostructure Group at BNL. “Four Nobel Laureates received the same award before winning the Nobel Prize: Ernst Ruska in 1985, Joachim Frank in 2003, Richard Henderson in 2005, and Jacques Dubochet in 2009. I strongly feel that my award is the result of not only my hard work, persistence, and curiosity about the inner world of matter but also my collaborations with colleagues and support from Brookhaven Lab and DOE over the past 30 years.”

“Yimei Zhu has made significant contributions to advancing ultrafast electron diffraction instruments and developing fast direct-electron-detectors,” said Molly McCartney, awards committee physical sciences co-chair. “Yimei’s contributions to instrumentation and methods are extensive. His most highly recognized achievement is the successful imaging, at atomic resolution, of the atomic structure of bulk catalysts by detecting the secondary electron emission.”

Zhu led the development of an ultrafast electron diffraction system that was commissioned at Brookhaven Lab in 2012 through the Laboratory-Directed Research and Development program, which promotes exploratory, mission-supported research. With an unprecedented temporal resolution 10 orders of magnitude faster than high-speed video cameras, this system is the first of its kind in the world.

“High-speed video cameras capture consecutive images at a rate less than 1000 frames per second, which is equivalent to taking a picture once every millisecond,” explained Zhu. “Our ultrafast system operates at a rate of 100 femtoseconds, or 100 quadrillionths of a second. Using a pump-probe method in which we excite a sample with laser light (the pump) and probe it with electrons while varying the time delay between the pump and probe, we can see the otherwise unobservable motion of atoms and electrons in materials.”

This capability has opened up the possibility for scientists to understand the dynamic behavior of materials—such as the intriguing transition between insulating and   superconducting phases—and to discover “hidden” states of matter beyond the solid, liquid, gas, and plasma states that are observable in everyday life.

“The bottleneck in science and technology today is the lack of materials with the desired properties for applications such as energy storage and quantum computing,” said Zhu. “Overcoming these limitations requires an understanding of the complex interactions between atoms and electrons and the exotic states of matter that are far from equilibrium. Ultrafast methods such as the pump-probe approach can provide us with the dynamic information we need to control the chemical and physical properties of materials so that we can make, for example, smaller batteries with longer cycleability and computer chips with a higher memory capacity.”

Mar 23

Scientists believe that anatomical variation within and between species is the raw material for natural selection. However, the prevalence of convergent evolution, or the repeated evolution of highly similar yet complex forms among distantly related animals, suggests the presence of underlying general principles ( or“rules”) of evolution.

Now Alan Turner, Associate Professor of Anatomical Sciences, along with colleagues at the University and at Oklahoma State University are conducting research they believe will help to unlock the rules of evolution. Their research is funded by a newly awarded $579,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Professor Turner leads the team, which will use high-tech imaging techniques to assess how the bodies and brains of crocodylomorphs (crocodiles, alligators and their extinct relatives) have changed over the last 230 million years.

The research team will then perform computer analysis of these parts to develop conceptual models of anatomical variation and search for common patterns in how their bodies responded to new environmental transitions.

“Crocodylomorphs have an incredible fossil record, and it is remarkable how often they evolved from living exclusively on land to becoming semi-aquatic and marine,” says Turner, all of which makes them an ideal group for studying the rules that govern extreme changes in animals, he explained. Turner expects that by investigating such a unique and long fossil record, combined with advanced imaging techniques, their research will provide data and insight to how habitat and ecological transitions drive evolution not only in this group but potentially across multiple integrated anatomical systems.

Mar 05

For the past 40 years, the total number of Adélie Penguins, one of the most common on the Antarctic peninsula, has been steadily declining—or so biologists have thought. A new study led by Stony Brook University ecologist Heather Lynch and colleagues from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), however, is providing new insights on this species of penguin. In a Scientific Reports paper, the international research team announced the discovery of a previously unknown “supercolony” of more than 1,500,000 Adélie Penguins in the Danger Islands, a chain of remote, rocky islands off of the Antarctic Peninsula’s northern tip.

“Until recently, the Danger Islands weren’t known to be an important penguin habitat,” says Lynch, Associate Professor of Ecology & Evolution in the College of Arts & Sciences and the paper’s senior author, titled “Multi-modal survey of Adélie penguin mega-colonies reveals the Danger Islands as a seabird hotspot.”

These supercolonies have gone undetected for decades, Lynch notes, partly because of the remoteness of the islands themselves, and partly the treacherous waters that surround them. Even in the austral summer, the nearby ocean is filled with thick sea ice, making it extremely difficult to access.

“Now that we know how important this area is for penguin abundance, we can better move forward designing Marine Protected Areas in the region and managing the Antarctic krill fishery,” explained Lynch.

In 2014, Lynch and colleague Mathew Schwaller from NASA discovered telltale guano stains in existing NASA satellite imagery of the islands, hinting at a mysteriously large number of penguins. To find out for sure, Lynch teamed with Stephanie Jenouvrier, a seabird ecologist at WHOI, Mike Polito at LSU and Tom Hart at Oxford University to arrange an expedition to the islands with the goal of counting the birds firsthand.

When the group arrived in December 2015, they found hundreds of thousands of birds nesting in the rocky soil, and immediately started to tally up their numbers by hand. The team also used a modified commercial quadcopter drone to take images of the entire island from above.

“The drone lets you fly in a grid over the island, taking pictures once per second. You can then stitch them together into a huge collage that shows the entire landmass in 2D and 3D,” says co-PI Hanumant Singh, Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Northeastern University, who developed the drone’s imaging and navigation system. Once those massive images are available, he says, his team can use neural network software to analyze them, pixel by pixel, searching for penguin nests autonomously.

 

The accuracy that the drone enabled was key, says Michael Polito, coauthor from Louisiana State University and a guest investigator at WHOI. The number of penguins in the Danger Islands could provide insight not just on penguin population dynamics, but also on the effects of changing temperature and sea ice on the region’s ecology.

“Not only do the Danger Islands hold the largest population of Adélie penguins on the Antarctic Peninsula, they also appear to have not suffered the population declines found along the western side of Antarctic Peninsula that are associated with recent climate change,” says Polito.

Being able to get an accurate count of the birds in this supercolony offers a valuable benchmark for future change, as well, notes Jenouvrier. “The population of Adélies on the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula is different from what we see on the west side, for example. We want to understand why. Is it linked to the extended sea ice condition over there? Food availability? That’s something we don’t know,” she says.

It will also lend valuable evidence for supporting proposed Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) near the Antarctic Peninsula, adds Mercedes Santos, from the Instituto Antártico Argentino (who is not affiliated with this study but is one of the authors of the MPA proposal) with the Commission for the Conservation of the Antarctic Marine Living Resources, an international panel that decides on the placement of MPAs. “Given that MPA proposals are based in the best available science, this publication helps to highlight the importance of this area for protection,” she says.

Also collaborating on the study: Alex Borowicz, Philip McDowall, Casey Youngflesh, Mathew Schwaller, and Rachael Herman from Stony Brook University; Thomas Sayre-McCord from WHOI and MIT; Stephen Forrest and Melissa Rider from Antarctic Resource, Inc.; and Tom Hart from Oxford University; and Gemma Clucas from Southampton University. The team utilized autonomous robotics technology from Northeastern University.

Funding for this research was provided by a grant to the Wood Hole Oceanographic Institution from the Dalio Ocean Initiative. Logistical support was provided by Golden Fleece Expeditions and Quark Expeditions.

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