Inventor Recognition Program

The UC Santa Cruz Office of Research has created the Inventor Recognition Program (IRP) to acknowledge researchers on a quarterly basis for their U.S. patent awards and to showcase the groundbreaking research that is conducted on the UCSC campus every day. Launched in December 2016, the IRP is meant to recogonize the hard work of UCSC faculty, students, and staff and to help them realize the value of their inventions by commercializing their inventions and discoveries.


January to March 2017 IRP Award Winners

Method for preventing neoplastic transformation by inhibition of retinoblastoma protein inactivation

Photo of Seth Rubin
Seth Rubin, Associater Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Name: Seth Rubin

Title: Associate Professor

Department: Chemistry & Biochemistry Department

The patent describes a new strategy to inhibit cancer cell proliferation by targeting proteins that control cell division. A common problem in cancer is that a protein called the retinoblastoma protein (Rb) is improperly inactivated. Rb normally prevents cell division by binding another protein called E2F.  In cancer cells, Rb cannot bind E2F because it has undergone a chemical modification. Our approach reactivates Rb with chemical compounds that stabilize its binding to E2F, and we have established an assay to identify these potential therapeutic compounds.


Interferometric focusing of guide-stars for direct wavefront sensing

Photo of Joel Kubby
Joel Kubby, Professor of Electrical Engineering
Photo of Xiadong Tao
Xiadong Tao, Assistant Project Scientist — Electrical Engineering

Names & Titles: Joel Kubby (Professor) and Xiaodong Tao (Assistant Project Scientist)

Department: Electrical Engineering

The optimal performance of an optical microscope is difficult to achieve due to aberrations caused by tissues. In order to compensate for these aberrations, we applied adaptive optics with direct wavefront sensing using fluorescent ‘guide-stars’ embedded in tissues for wavefront measurement. A scattering effect within the tissues limits the intensity of the guide star and reduces the signal to noise ratio of wavefront measurement. This patent describes the use of interferometric focusing of excitation light onto a guide-star deep within tissue to increase the fluorescence intensity of the guide-star which in turn overcomes the signal loss caused by scattering.


Nanopipette Apparatus for Manipulating Cells

Photo of Nader Pourmand
Nader Pourmand, Associate Professor of Biomolecular Engineering

Name: Nader Pourmand

Title: Associate Professor 

Department: Biomolecular Science and Engineering

The ability to study the molecular biology of living single cells in heterogeneous cell populations is essential for next generation analysis of cellular circuitry and function. Dr. Pourmand and his team have developed a single-cell interrogation platform based on scanning ion conductance microscopy for continuous sampling of intracellular content from individual cells. Among many other functionalities, for the nanobiopsy, this platform uses a nanopipette to extract cellular material from living cells with minimal disruption of the cellular milieu. Researchers might use this platform to understand cancer and other diseases which might provide a foundation for dynamic subcellular genomic analysis.


Small molecule inhibitors of biofilm formation and the novel use of previously identified compounds for inhibition of biofilm formation and applications for drug therapy and medical device coating

Photo of Roger Linington
Roger Linington, Research Fellow

Names and Titles: Roger Linington, Research Fellow (now at Simon Fraser University) and Fitnat Yildiz, Professor

Photo of Fitnat Yildiz
Fitnat Yildiz, Professor of Microbiology & Environmental Toxicology

Department: Microbiology & Environmental Toxicology

ntibiotic resistance is a major emerging threat for global healthcare. In many cases, pathogenic bacteria can adhere to natural and non-natural surfaces in the body as persistent surface-associated assemblages called biofilms. These biofilm states are less susceptible to antibiotic treatment, increasing the likelihood of re-emergence of infection after the end of the course of antibiotics, and resulting in higher risk of the development of antibiotic resistance. By directly targeting the formation and persistence of these biofilm colonies, this new invention provides a promising complementary approach to treating bacterial infections. The new compounds covered under this patent are potent inhibitors of biofilm formation with very low mammalian cell cytotoxicity, making them valuable for both infection control and medical device coating applications.


See all IRP award winners

The IRP is managed by Assistant Vice Chancellor for the Office of Research’s Industry Alliances and Technology Commercialization (IATC), Dr. Mohamed Abousalem. 

For more information about the IRP, the honorees, their patents, other campus inventions and discoveries, or IP portfolio management services, please contact the IATC.

Check out the list of technologies available from the University of California.

University of California, Santa Cruz
Industry Alliances & Technology Commercialization
Kerr Hall — Room 413
Santa Cruz,CA 95064
Tel: 831.459.5415
innovation@ucsc.edu