Latest AIM Projects

Maize Doubled Haploid and Recombinant Inbred Line Populations

\r\n\r\nUW-Madison researchers have developed doubled haploid and recombinant inbred line populations from crosses among public maize lines for the purposes of genetic mapping. In hybrid combination, these lines can provide insight into the value of parents to produce cultivars for specific production combinations. Specific lines may have value as parents of hybrids, or in breeding new lines.

Suppression of Proteotoxicity for the Treatment of Neurodegenerative Diseases

Researchers at University of California, Santa Barbara have discovered that the overexpression of a specific protein turnover-enhancing factor is sufficient to degrade misfolded proteins and alleviate ER stress. This factor stimulates a cellular misfolded protein disposal mechanism known as ER associated degradation (ERAD), which ameliorates ER stress. This discovery underscores the potential applicability of a specific gene-therapy-based approach for treatment for retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited disease caused by mutations in rhodopsin. The findings also apply to therapeutic intervention in other protein misfolding diseases or in pathology characterized by insufficient ERAD, including neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and frontotemporal dementia. As such, this invention has multiple applications for understanding and treating pathologies caused by protein misfolding, chronic proteotoxicity and ER stress in neurodegeneration and in normal aging. 

PulseLab: An Integrated and Expandable Toolbox for Pulse Wave Velocity-base Blood Pressure Estimation


Invention Summary:

Cuff-less blood pressure (BP) estimation methods have been long pursued as substitutions for the conventional BP measurement methods to facilitate continuous and automatic monitoring of BP. The PWV (pulse wave velocity)-BP models, describing the relationship between the PWV and the BP, have been derived and used in recent BP-estimation studies. However, currently, there exist no toolboxes and graphical user interfaces (GUIs) that enable pre-processing, visualization and analysis of signals for the problem of BP estimation.

Rutgers researchers have developed PulseLab, a comprehensive MATLAB toolbox that enables estimating the BP from electrocardiogram (ECG) and photoplethysmogram (PPG) signals using pulse PWV-based models. This universal framework consists of 6 sequential modules, covering end-to-end procedures that are needed for estimating BP from raw PPG/ECG data.

The toolbox is expandable and its application programming interface (API) is built such that newly-derived PWV-BP models can be easily included. The toolbox also includes a user-friendly GUI offering visualization for step-by-step processing of physiological signals, position of characteristic points, pulse arrival time (PAT)/pulse transit time (PTT) values, and the BP regression results.  

Market Applications:


Publications: PulseLab: An Integrated and Expandable Toolbox for Pulse Wave Velocity-based Blood Pressure Estimation. 

Software Download Site:

Express Licensing Site: PulseLab: An Integrated and Expandable Toolbox for Pulse Wave Velocity-base Blood Pressure Estimation - 2022-007 - Rutgers Office of Research Commercialization 


Method of Calibration Using Master Calibration Function


Mass errors generated by regular calibration equations and by the master calibration equation.



    As instrumental parameters and a sample introduction may fluctuate or drift slightly, it is necessary to perform a calibration of the instrument before measuring. The widely used method is through establishing a calibration function using a single set of constants obtained by curve-fitting. However, obtaining the data for the constants is subject to random errors and the calibration equation can have deviations, resulting in errors in subsequently calculated new results.

    Researcher at Rutgers University has developed a simple yet robust calibration method which could minimize or eliminate random errors in calibration. The method consists of obtaining the initial constants for a master calibration; comparing and validating constants of each subsequent new calibration relatively to the constants of master calibration; updating the master calibration equation each time with validated constants; and then applying the updated equation to the new measurement. This method has been validated on different analytical instruments and the error was significantly reduced. 



 Market Applications:  

Intellectual Property & Development Status: Patent Pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration.



UW Tomato Rootstocks for Grafting

\r\n\r\nUW-Madison researchers have developed new tomato rootstock crosses based on cultivators and germplasm accessories obtained from USDA germplasm bank to identify rootstock populations. This new tomato rootstock will be developed as inbred lines and is related to an earlier geminivirus resistance project.


\r\n\r\nUW Madison Researchers have improved upon conventional expanded microscopy. They have developed novel 4-fold and a 12-fold mExM (modified expansion microscopy) methodologies, which stably and reproducibly expand a specimen. The new mExM methods can achieve ~5 nm accuracy with super-resolution microscopes and ~20 nm accuracy with regular wide-field microscopes. The technology is designed as a kit for mExM. The kit includes a chemically and biochemically inert mold and instructions for use of the mold in an mExM method.

Immortalized Vocal Fold Fibroblasts

Normal vibration of vocal folds (aka vocal cords) depends on the tissue's composition and viscoelasticity. When that composition is altered by scarring or damage, the vibratory functionality of the vocal folds can be severely disrupted, and the resulting dysphonias are difficult to treat effectively. The vocal fold fibroblast (VFF) is the key cell in the vocal fold lamina propria that not only plays an important role in supporting, but also contributes to healing of damaged vocal folds by producing the vast majority of ECM proteins, such as elastin, collagen, and fibronectin. However, the use of primary cell culture of VFFs of human origin has been problematical because the source of tissue -- normal vocal fold from live donors -- is virtually impossible to obtain, and if obtained, insufficient numbers of cells are more often than not cultivated. Thus, a reproducible, characterized source of VFFs of human origin would have far reaching implications, and it will have a significant impact on the field of tissue engineering for the vocal fold lamina propria.\r\n\r\nUW-Madison researchers have created immortalized vocal fold fibroblast cell lines to provide a reproducible, unlimited sources for hVFFs. Primary human VFFs (hVFFs) were steadily transduced by a retroviral vector containing human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) gene to prevent cellular senescence during isolation and expansion. The inventors further biochemically characterized these immortalized cells and confirm absence of inter- and intraspecies contamination. To substantiate applicability for tissue regeneration, immortalized cell behavior and transcript expression are measured in response to the presence of 2D scaffolds -- collagen gel, fibronectin, and hyaluronic acid. Immortalized hVFFs demonstrated normal attachment and spread on 2D scaffolds.

UW Tomato Rootstocks for Grafting: Breeding for Ralstonia Resistance

\r\n\r\nUW-Madison researchers have developed new tomato rootstock varieties for inbred Ralstonia bacteria-resistant lines that may be useful for grafted tomato production in tropical locations. This new tomato rootstock crosses are based on access to USDA germplasm bank and known/commercial cultivators who have identified resistant tomato plants.

Mouse Models for Protein Granule Diseases

Overload of protein granules in cells induces many forms of diseases, and is especially found in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis as well as very rare skeletal muscle diseases. Clinical studies also show that human patients with genetic mutations in a muscle specific splicing factor, RNA binding motif 20 (RBM20), can develop severe dilated cardiomyopathy as early as young adulthood, and they are at particularly high risk for sudden cardiac death.\r\n\r\nUW-Madison researchers have developed two mouse models with mutations found in human dilated cardiomyopathy patients. These mice display a similar phenotype to that observed in human patients, and manifest dilated cardiomyopathy at an early age (less than 2 months). Through further characterization of the phenotype, the researcher has discovered that the mutations are causing the protein to translocate out of the nucleus into the cytoplasm, where it aggregates into protein granules. These modifications to RBM20 affect downstream gene transcription, translation and other cellular activities.


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