Latest AIM Projects

Microfluidic Array for Capturing and Pairing Cells for Immunotherapy, Diagnostics, and Research

Simplifies the study of interactions between different types of cells

Allowing Ultrasound to Penetrate the Skull for Diagnosis and Treatment

Opening the door to portable, affordable alternatives to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) for the brain

LoCHAid: An Ultra-Low-Cost and Self-Fitting Hearing Aid

Accessible and affordable therapy for age-related hearing loss

Near-Real-Time Positioning for Instruments and Tools in Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE) and Imaging (MRI)

An actuator-guided system that provides rapid and precise position control with significant advantages over static imaging

A Partial-Hand Prosthesis Simulator

Facilitating powerful rehabilitative training before and/or after amputation

Detecting Eye Contact with Neural Networks

For applications ranging from psychological research to medical screening

Metabolic Assessment to Diagnose Equine Neuroaxonal Dystrophy (eNAD)/ Equine Degenerative Myeloencephalopathy (EDM)

Equine neuroaxonal dystrophy (eNAD) is a central nervous system disease that results in the degeneration of parts of the brainstem in young horses. A more severe form of eNAD, Equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy (EDM), also affects the spinal cord; the only difference between these disorders is the location of axonal degeneration within the central nervous system. These diseases are characterized by symmetrical ataxia, abnormal base-wide stance at rest, and hypermetria of the limbs. Affected foals often have low serum vitamin E concentrations. ENAD appears to have a genetic basis, with clinical expression in genetically predisposed foals being influenced by dietary vitamin E. ENAD/EDM is the second most prevalent neurological disease in horses; however, a definitive diagnosis is only currently available via necropsy after euthanasia. While there is no treatment for eNAD/EDM once a horse is over 2 years of age, achieving an antemortem diagnosis for this disease would greatly benefit the equine industry.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a protocol and assay to assess the rate of metabolism of vitamin E in horses that serves as a potential diagnostic test for eNAD/EDM. By comparing the assessed rate of metabolism of vitamin E to a healthy baseline, an antemortem diagnosis for eNAD/EDM can be procured. This test would provide owners and veterinarians with the ability to diagnose horses while still alive and make informed decisions regarding breeding or euthanasia.

Sorting and Drying Methods for Off-ground Harvested Almonds

California produces about 1.2 million tons of almonds annually with an economic output of over $5.6 billion. Current almond drying methods include leaving harvested almonds on orchard floors for an extended time to dry naturally. However, this method can lead to microbial contamination and insect damage to the almonds. While commercial drying methods are also used, these practices dry an unsorted combination of in-hull almonds, in-shell almonds, and hulls simultaneously which causes inefficient drying. Moreover, current almond harvesting methods cause dust generation that pollutes the air and can impact the health of people over a wide area. Overall, there is a significant need for more effective almond drying and harvesting methods that limit dust generation.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed new methods for harvesting, sorting and drying freshly harvested almonds with high processing and energy efficiency while maintaining product quality. The method consists of separating off-ground almonds into three groups, including in-hull almonds, in-shell almonds, and hulls based on their dimension characteristics and aerodynamic properties. The method uses both terminal velocity and size to separate the almonds with low sorting errors, and can be used with off-ground harvesting methods that minimize dust generation. Additionally, these methods include drying techniques that utilize the optimum drying temperatures for each sorted almond group, and cut down on drying time and overall energy use. 

Method for the preparation of metal oxides in nanometric particle form


Executive Summary


Metal oxides have numerous uses in various fields including chemistry, electronics and material science. However, more efficient processes for preparing these at the nano scale are needed. MSU researchers have developed a novel approach to prepare nanosized metal oxides with uniform shape using templating.


Description of Technology


Metal oxides are crystalline solids containing a metal cation and oxide anion. Encompassing a wide range of chemistries, metal oxides find uses in a variety of important commercial applications. Very small nanosized metal oxide particles are particularly useful, yet they are difficult to manufacture efficiently and uniformly using standard processes. Technology developed by MSU researchers has let to new process for making solid nanosized (< 100 nm) metal oxide particles using colloid imprinted templates. The process allows the efficient production of very fine nanoparticles with shapes including spheres, plates, cubes and rods.


The process is well suited to synthesizing a variety of nanosized zeolites and molecular sieves with high uniformity. These microporous particles are particularly useful in industrial catalysis and separations, due to the high surface to volume ratios and shorter molecular diffusion paths. Both porous and dense structures can be made by the process.


Key Benefits






Patent Status:


US Issued Patent 7,485,282


Licensing Rights Available


Full licensing rights available




Thomas Pinnavaia, Seong-Su Kim


Tech ID:




Click Chemistry Probes for Specific Targeting of Sialic Acid Tumor Antigens

Technology: Researchers at MUSC have identified methods for selectively modifying linked sialic acid or polysialic acid with bioorthagonal reaction schemes having applications broad applications in drug delivery. This is achieved by exposing a 2,3 linked sialic acid and/or a 2,8 linked polysialic acid to condensing reagents under suitable reaction conditions. The selectively modified sialic acid can be paired with a payload molecule (molecule used to deliver an active agent) to induce a biological or physiological effect to the subject. The payload molecule can range from a pharmaceutical drug to polynucleotide modifying agents such as CRISPR. Furthermore, the linked sialic acid and/or polysialic acid can be incorporated with other biological molecules such as antibodies, peptides, proteins, carbohydrates etcetera to help the chemical attach to a desired area. By using this sialic/polysialic acid as a label paired with optically active imaging modalities, cancer cells expressing the markers can be easily targeted.

Figure 1.  Shows an exemplary reaction wherein a 2,3 linked sialic acid is modified to possess a click chemistry alkyne or azide feature. It can now be utilized for targeted delivery of a payload.  The same functional change is not seen with the 2,6 linked sialic acid.


Overview: Despite the availability of bioorthagonal reaction schemes and reagents, there still exists a need for new reactions, reagents, and/or methods that can improve, for example, the efficiency, the specificity, and/or the application of bioorthagonal reactions.  This specific method has great utility in targeting cancer cells. Small molecule targeted cancer therapy can use medication to block cancerous growth by destroying molecules that result in the growth of tumors, preventing the need for harmful radiations that see wide use in conventional cancer treatment.  The targeted approach and minimal after side-effects. This along with the increase in the rate of cancer incidences are contributing to the growth of the market [1]. The global small molecule drug discovery market was valued at $29,363.85 million USD in 2018, and is estimated to be valued at $46,882.22 million USD in 2024, witnessing a CAGR of 8.11% [2]. There is a large market for these targeted drug therapies, and this new technology has the potential to tap into this market.


Applications: cancer cell targeting, glycan engineering, microscopic imaging, analytic composition, CRISPR, drug delivery, pharmaceutical formulations, mass spectrometry



1.       Broad Applications – Drugs, CRISPR, immunomodulator, antibody, antipyretic, chemotherapeutic, anti-neoplastic agent, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, a pain modulating agent, anti-microbial agent, anti-infective agent

2.       Cancer Labeling – Can be used as a label to target cells expressing cancerous genes


Key Words: Bioorthagonal chemistry, specificity, reagents, pharmacology, cancer treatment, drug delivery, labeling


Inventors: Richard Drake, Xiaowei Lu       


Patent Status:       U.S. Provisional Patent Serial No. 63/010,499 filed April 15, 2020       


MUSC-FRD Technology ID: P20075