UofM Office of Technology Transfer Begins 2019 With Expanding Patent Portfolio

March 4, 2019 - The University of Memphis Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) within the Division of Research & Innovation kicked off 2019 with confirmation from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) with notifications of the receipt of two U.S. patent allowances and one U.S.-issued patent, bringing the year's total to three so far. For patent allowances, all requirements have been met, and the patent will be issued in due time.

Dr. Bashir Morshed received notification he was issued the U.S. patent for his submission "Multi-layer Additive Printed Circuit." Morshed is a recipient of the prestigious Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship, faculty member in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at the Herff College of Engineering and director of the Embedded Systems Advanced Research and Prototyping (ESARP) lab. This new technology allows fabrication of multi-layer, thin-film electronic circuits with low-cost inkjet printing additive manufacturing process on flexible planar surfaces. Electronic circuits fabricated with this new technology can be used for body-worn patch sensors, wearables, prosthetics, implants, Internet of Things, drones, smart cities, environmental monitoring and many other applications.

Dr. Mohd Hasan Ali, associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, received notification for his patent allowance on "Mitigation of Adverse Effects of Geomagnetically Induced Currents on Transformers." In power systems, geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) are quasi-dc currents and consequently cause saturation of transformers. This, in turn, results in a nonlinear operation of the transformer and in a significant increase of the exciting current. All of this may then lead to the generation of harmonics in the electricity, unnecessary relay tripping, increased reactive power demands, voltage fluctuations and drops, and even a blackout of the whole system. Transformers may be overheated and, in the worst case, permanently damaged. Therefore, the mitigation of GIC effects on transformers is very important. This invention proposes a novel and cost-effective method of mitigating the adverse effects of GIC on transformers by using a fuzzy logic controlled variable resistor.

Finally, the University of Memphis and SweetBio Inc. received a notice of allowance from the USPTO for their patent on biodegradable Manuka honey-incorporated scaffolds for soft tissue repair. The allowance was for "Compositions and Methods for Enhancing Healing and Regeneration of Bone and Soft Tissue" with Dr. Gary Bowlin (Herff Chair of Excellence in Biomedical Engineering) and Dr. Isaac Rodriguez (former postdoctoral fellow in Biomedical Engineering and co-founder and chief science officer at SweetBio Inc.) are among the named inventors. SweetBio, who holds an exclusive license on this technology, has raised more than $3 million to date and is currently progressing through the FDA process for commercialization this year. SweetBio's first product, Apis®, will be indicated for use in the management of wounds such as ulcers and veterinary surgery, with future applications in dentistry. SweetBio has recently located their headquarters at the new UMRF Research Park at the UofM and is looking forward to continual collaboration with the University and advancing the other patent pending applications in 10 countries.

"I am happy to see more and more beneficial technologies with commercial potential being pursued at the University, and with several recently issued patents, we are making great progress in protecting the University's innovations," said Dr. Hai Trieu, director of Technology Commercialization. "It will be even more exciting when these technologies get commercialized in the future, as in the case of SweetBio."

The Office of Technology Transfer, housed in the FedEx Institute of Technology, is leading the Mid-South in revolutionary inventions and innovations that raise the bar and its role as a leader in technology. To date, the UofM has received 45 U.S.-issued patents, half of which were awarded over the last four years.

For more information on these technologies, contact Trieu at hhtrieu@memphis.edu. For more information about research and innovation at the UofM, visit research.memphis.edu.