Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tech Spotlight: Improved Ethanol/Water Separation with Nanoporous Polymer Membranes

Bioethanol is an economical and environmentally-friendly biofuel that has emerged as a sustainable fuel source. Fermentation is an attractive process for producing bioethanol, but requires costly product separation due to the low concentration of the fermentative products. Nanoporous polymer membranes have recently been explored not only in separating water from dissolved solutes in fermentation systems such as this, but also in liquid water purification and desalination. However, attempts at either result in the same problem - current nanoporous polymer membranes do not have well-defined pore pathways or uniform pore sizes on the nanometer level to give clean molecular separations.

A University of Colorado research team led by Richard Noble and Douglas Gin has developed a novel method of creating nanoporous polymer membranes with smaller, uniform, and controllable pathways for light gas/water separation. By post treating QI-phase LLC polymer membranes by way of atomic layer deposition (ALD), for which the coatings are precisely controlled at sub-nanometer thicknesses, researchers were able to deposit ultra-thin ceramic films or ceramic clusters (alumina and titania) inside the porous structure of Q1 LLC membranes. The ALD-modified polymer membranes show great promise in various gas separations, as they have an effective pore size smaller than 0.55nm. This approach also has the potential to modify other nanoporous membranes for size-selective separation.

To learn more, please click the image above for a non-confidential summary of this technology, or go directly to the key scientific publication. For more CU technologies available for licensing, please visit our Tech Explorer site.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Startup Gogy Inc. to Develop CU Interactive Education Platform

Broomfield-based Gogy, Inc. has licensed exclusive rights to a unique collaborative learning and teaching software tool developed at CU’s Leeds School of Business. 

BOULDER, Colo., April 17, 2012 – Startup company Gogy, Inc. (Broomfield, Colo.) and the University of Colorado have executed an exclusive licensing agreement that will enable the company to commercialize the Pedago.gy interactive teaching platform developed at CU’s Leeds School of Business.

Pedago.gy is a web application that creates a space for educators and students to engage in additional interaction and dialogue beyond the classroom. It provides a means whereby the students and instructors can approach a topic in a collaborative fashion, rather than the typical expert-learner model found in most classrooms.

The Pedago.gy platform was conceived and designed by Bret Fund, an Assistant Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship at the Leeds School of Business. “I designed Pedago.gy according to a teaching philosophy called participative pedagogy, which is the idea that students learn best when they take an active - not the usual passive - role in the learning process,” says Fund. “Pedago.gy makes it easy for educators to enable and encourage this active learning, by making class presentations and lectures social and interactive in a collaborative environment.” Fund, also an experienced software entrepreneur, is a co-founder and the company’s CEO.

"Technology-based learning has tremendous potential to make education richer, deeper, and more valuable,” says David L. Ikenberry, dean of the Leeds School of Business. “A technology like this, which extends the classroom experience and creates new ways for students to collaborate, is a breakthrough idea. I'm thrilled to be part of a faculty that has this kind of world-class imagination and dedication." Pedago.gy was initially developed and tested under an Innovative Teaching and Learning Grant from the Leeds School, a competitive program that funds new ideas with tangible payoffs in future learning excellence, scholarly impact, and development of new collaborations.

Pedago.gy has already seen classroom use in select courses at the Leeds School, and is set to be used in additional classrooms across the campus this fall, as well as in a handful of local secondary schools. Gogy will release a commercial beta version of its platform in July and will be available for purchase at that time; currently, the company is offering a private alpha version of the service by request.

The Pedago.gy platform is the latest of many innovative, technology-enabled teaching and learning platforms developed by CU researchers and educators, from the PhET project (free, interactive research-based simulations for K-12 science education) to startups Mentor InterActive (gaming-based children’s literacy and math education), AgentSheets (tools teaching programming skills through game and simulation design) and Knowledge Analysis Technologies (automated essay scoring and unique technologies for assessing reading comprehension).

About Gogy, Inc.: 
Gogy, Inc. is an innovator in educational technology. Gogy’s online platform transforms ordinary lectures and presentations into interactive discussions, creating a more collaborative learning environment that lasts far beyond the physical classroom experience. For more information about Gogy and its offerings, visit www.trygogy.com.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tech Spotlight: Diphtheria Toxin Epidermal Growth Factor Fusion Protein (DT-EGF) for Non-Invasive Treatment of Bladder Cancer

A CU research group led by Thomas Flaig and Michael Glode has developed a new method to treat bladder cancer by administering a diphtheria toxin epidermal growth factor fusion protein (DT-EGF) directly to the bladder. DT-EGF is a toxic fusion protein that combines diphtheria toxin with the epidermal growth factor - the EGF portion of DT-EGF targets the agent to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which is frequently over-expressed in superficial bladder cancer. The EGF is then internalized via EGFR, allowing the DT portion of DT-EGF to selectively enter cells expressing EGFR, inducing targeted cell death.

This is potentially a highly effective, non-invasive method for treating bladder cancer. Promising pre-clinical work has already supported the use of DT-EGF in the treatment of glioblastomas, but the practical issues of delivery of DT-EGF to brain tumors have limited the clinical pursuit of this approach. In contrast, direct intravesical (bladder) instillation of BCG or chemotherapy agents is a standard practice in superficial bladder cancer, providing a clinically acceptable means of delivering DT-EGF directly to the bladder cancer.

To learn more, please click the image above for a non-confidential summary of this technology, or go directly to the PCT application. For more CU technologies available for licensing, please visit our Tech Explorer site.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tech Spotlight: Improved Temporal + Spatial Control of Copper-Catalysed Alkyne–Azide Reactions (CuAAC)

"Click chemistry" reactions are high yielding, wide in scope, and simple to perform. Arguably the most prolific and powerful of these reactions is the copper-catalysed alkyne–azide reaction (CuAAC). The reaction is utilized in an ever increasing number of synthetic methodologies and applications, including bioconjugation, labelling, surface functionalization, dendrimer synthesis and in polymer synthesis and modification.

A  CU research team led by Brian Adzima and Christopher Bowman have discovered a method to catalyze the CuAAC reaction between azides and alkynes without the need for reducing agents (which lack temporal and spatial control). This efficient and simple catalyzation method has overcome the problems associated with the use of reducing agents in click reactions, and has diverse capability in small molecule synthesis, patterned material fabrication, and patterned chemical modification.

To learn more, please click the image above for a non-confidential summary of this technology, or go directly to the key scientific publication. For more CU technologies available for licensing, please visit our Tech Explorer site.