University of Memphis Receives Two Engineering Patents 

Inventors expanding the innovation footprint of Memphis and the Mid-South 

December 7, 2023 —The Office of Technology Transfer within the Division of Research & Innovation at the University of Memphis received notification of two patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patents are a result of the tireless research done by faculty members and students in the Herff College of Engineering.  

The first issued patent focuses on the dispersion of dry powders that could have potential applications in the manufacturing, medical and agriculture industries. The second patent concentrates on controlling biofilm dispersion. The application for this technology is found with wound dressings that provide better healing rates. 

Dr. Ranganathan Gopalakrishnan, R. Eugene Smith associate professor and Graduate Program coordinator of Mechanical Engineering, is the lead inventor of the patent “Systems and Methods for the Dispersion of Dry Powder.”  

According to Gopalakrishnan, this patent describes systems and methods for preparing and dispersing dry powders at high concentration for long periods of time. The system includes a powder feeder, a rotating holder or disc configured to receive an input powder from the powder feeder, and one or more ultrasonic transducers. The ultrasonic transducers are configured to create standing waves, which suspend the input powder within the space above the rotating holder disc for collection and subsequent processing and/or use. Also disclosed herein is an adapter configured to fit existing off-the-shelf powder dispensers that includes an ultrasonic transducer configured to suspend an input powder in midair for collection. Potential applications of this invention are in the areas of aerosol drug delivery, surface cleaning, reaction engineering and powder manufacturing. 

Dr. Jessica Jennings, associate professor in Biomedical Engineering, is the lead inventor of the patent “Controlling Biofilms with Cyclopropanated Fatty Acids.” Jennings’s research focuses on the composition and methods for using cyclopropanated structural analogs of fatty acid biofilm dispersal agents which are characterized by superior biofilm dispersion. When these agents are used in combination with antimicrobials, these analogs decrease the minimum inhibitory concentration of antimicrobial agents required for eradication of the biofilm and/or treatment of infection. Methods for using these analogs include direct application to a surface, blending with lipid-based carriers or covalent anchoring the molecule to a surface. Applications for this technology include wound dressings that decrease infection rates and provide better healing.  

These inventions add to the ever-expanding portfolio of intellectual property from the University of Memphis and increase opportunities for new research and innovation in the Mid-South.  

For more information on these patents and other UofM technologies available for commercialization, visit the Office of Technology Transfer or contact Director Dr. Hai Trieu at hhtrieu@memphis.edu 

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Jennifer Godwin

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