Dr. John Rogers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has developed bioresorbable silicon electronics that can be used for real-time sensing of neural electrical activity. This invention could prevent follow-up neural surgeries, and has potentials for long-term monitoring of patients.
Dr. Andrew Smith from the University of Illinois has developed new quantum dots with a multidentate polymer coating that minimizes size while maintaining stability and improving efficiency of conjugation. Quantum dots are promising agents for cellular and molecular imaging, but their bulky organic coatings have limited their use in cells. Dr. Smith's quantum dots are small, stable, and can be conjugated to targeting molecules and purified easily.
Dr. Hergenrother from the University of IL has developed a novel antibiotic that is effective against certain antibiotic-resistant gram-negative bacteria. His powerful predictive algorithm determines accumulation of molecules in Gram-negative bacteria and enables conversion of known Gram-positive only antibiotics into novel compounds with Gram-negative potency.
Dr. JJ Cheng from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has developed a helix/random confirmation switchable antimicrobial polypeptides (HRS-AMPs) that are pH sensitive and can kill Helicobacter pylori. H pylori, a causative agent of gastric ulcers, lives in the acidic environment of the stomach, and these pH activated antimicrobial peptides could be used to kill H pylori. The polypeptides are inactive until reaching the stomach, thus preserving the microbiota of the rest of the GI tract. In vivo data demonstrates good biodistribution, bioavailability, efficacy, and low toxicity compared to standard treatment for H. pylori infection. Moreover, HRS-AMPs are active against MDR and clinical isolate strains.
Dr. Zhang from the University of Illinois has developed a promising candidate protein for a vaccine against cholera. Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with the toxigenic bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The protein is a multiepitope fusion antigen (MEFA), incorporating virulence factors which are conserved across multiple Vibrio serotypes.
When administered to animals, the cholera MEFA is broadly immunogenic and induces protective antibodies against Vibrio. Since virulence factors from multiple serotypes are included in the fusion protein, this protection can be extended to the various Vibrio serotypes.
Professor Beth Stadtmueller and Sonya Kumar Bharathkar have created a chimeric secretory immunoglobulin A (cSIgA) with a modified secretory component (SC) that can be used in therapeutic treatment. The bispecific cSIgA can bind its target antigen and additional ligands by an engineered SC portion, such as toxins or surface antigens. This can be applied to treatment for mucosal infections such as Clostridium difficile.