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Licensed Florida Tech Research Makes Lab Work Easier

July 19, 2010

Chemical compound that facilitates work of neuroscientists

As a national research university, Florida Institute of Technology not only involves its students in research, but also seeks to license and patent its many innovations. An example of recently licensed university technology is a chemical compound that facilitates the work of neuroscientists in the laboratory.

Associate Professor Nasri Nesnas was familiar as a chemist with the chemical compound CDNI-Glu, a commonly used laboratory research tool. Most often, neuroscientists use it to study the brain’s neural networks by improving the localization of synaptic stimulation.

Nesnas thought it could be made faster and less expensively. He set to work to improve on the currently existing production method. As a result, he developed a streamlined process for its synthesis with the help of graduate student Yannick Ouedraogo.

“We cut the steps nearly in half and reduced the time to make it from 150 hours to 24 hours,” said Nesnas.

Now Nesnas is working on derivatives of the compound with collaborators from the Howard Hughes Institute and the Department of Neuroscience at Columbia University. The researchers are improving its sensitivity to light and seeking to increase its potency.

To make Nesnas’ original compound commercially available, Florida Tech is licensing it to the U.K. company, Tocris, a supplier of innovative, high performance life science research reagents.

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