Cornell University

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CTL eNewsletter: September 2016

Cornell Startup, CycloPure, Sets Out to Make Water Safer


Clean water is essential for life, but population growth and pervasive commercial activity have led to dangerous pollution of our water resources. Among the greatest risks to water resources today are micropollutants and perfluorinated compounds (PFCs). These hazardous pharmaceutical residues and industrial byproducts are increasingly found in our drinking water and food crops, posing serious risks to human health. As a result, reclamation has become complicated and costly as we work to reverse the effects of contamination.

To address these concerns, a team at Cornell University developed the first ever high surface area cyclodextrin polymers that rapidly and safely remove micropollutants and contaminants from water. By combining cyclodextrin, a compound made from corn starch, with rigid monomers to form repeating structures, they have developed molecules with permanent porosity. This new class of polymers dramatically increase surface area which enables superior adsorption and performance, thus overcoming the slow pollutant uptake rate limitation of prior formulations. This novel technology is engineered from renewable resources that are easily generated, providing sustainability and cost efficiency.

Based on these innovations, CycloPure, Inc., a Cornell startup, has designed, developed, and is now commercializing a new class of highly adsorbent materials for use in the separation and removal of pollutants, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other organic compounds. CycloPure is developing applications in three areas to address the global problem of contamination by pollutants: water treatment, functionalized fabrics, and separation & monitoring.

CycloPure’s water treatment technology can be incorporated into a variety of filtration products for domestic, industrial, and municipal applications including purification and conditioning. Secondly, functionalized fabrics that provide adsorbent barriers against VOCs can be used to design protective clothing for industrial environments. And finally, CycloPure’s polymers are able to isolate and separate target chemicals such as solvents used in fragrance extraction, phenol isolation in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, or wearable devices that monitor specific VOC levels in industrial workplaces. Each of these areas integrates the novel technology developed at Cornell and provides highly effective, cost-efficient, and sustainable methods that protect the health of human beings and the environment.

For more information about CycloPure, Inc. and their mission to make water safer through adsorption, please visit or follow CycloPure on Twitter and Facebook. To stay up to date on all Cornell technologies and startups, follow CTL on Twitter and Facebook.

Weill Cornell Researchers Enhance Protein Translation

Protein Translation

Think of protein synthesis as a well-oiled machine: DNA is transcribed into an RNA (mRNA) molecule which then must be translated to produce a protein. But, like all machines, every now and then a part fails to function. In protein synthesis, when the translation process does not occur successfully, the effects can be profound. An extensive amount of infections and diseases can be traced back to this phase of the process, including cancer.

Researchers in the Jaffrey Lab at Weill Cornell Medicine who study the protein synthesis process in intricate detail are interested in developing therapeutic options. By discovering mRNA molecules that contain a modified nucleotide in the 5’ untranslated region (5’ UTR) can bypass the normal way cells translate RNA, they have enabled ways to enhance protein translation. A methylated adenosine nucleotide m⁶A in 5’UTR functions like a beacon signaling the protein translation system to initiate translation without the need of the regular translation signals such as a 5’ cap on the mRNA. By examining the 5’ UTR, they deepened the current understanding of the cap-independent manner of translation. As such, they uncovered the ability of m⁶A to function as an alternative to the 5’ cap to stimulate mRNA translation.

Through such work, Drs. Samie Jaffrey and Kate Meyer successfully developed methods and kits to produce mRNAs containing methylated adenosine residues in the 5’ UTR. Additionally, these methods allow the methylated RNAs to enhance translation/protein yields for basic research, gene therapy applications, and treating stress/disease states.

With this newly developed technology, the “machine” (protein synthesis) is better “oiled” to operate at maximum capacity. These methods provide potential applications to enhance protein yields in vitro, increase protein production for gene therapy, and enhance mRNA translation for disease treatment. In sum, this expanded understanding enables the development of novel therapeutics and harbors the potential to reduce the impact of disease conditions.

For a detailed technology overview, please visit For more information or licensing opportunities, please contact Dan Antson, Technology Licensing Officer, via

Upcoming Events

IP & Pizza™ ELabNYC
Date: September 20, 2016
Time: 12:00PM-1:30PM
Location: The Rockefeller University | Weiss Research Building, Room 301 | 1230 York Ave., NYC

Open to: Weill Cornell Medicine, The Rockefeller University, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center faculty, staff, and students.

For more information and to RSVP, please email Audriana at

Opportunities and Challenges of the Connected World Partnership Forum
Date: November 17, 2016
Time: All day event
Location: Cornell University Biotechnology Building G10

Join the Center for Technology Licensing (CTL), industrial colleagues, thought leaders, researchers, aligned investors and start-up companies to explore challenges and opportunities to enable the next generation of smart, secure sensors that will fuel a 10-fold increase of data on the internet. Hear the latest thinking around which underlying technologies, MEMS 2.0 or Silicon Photonics, are best positioned to scale into this new market, and connect with faculty building deep technical and scientific expertise in the space.

For more information, please email Audriana at

Recent Events

IP & Pizza™ The Inventor’s Role: Understanding the Tech Transfer Process
Date: June 8, 2016

Attendees joined the Center for Technology Licensing (CTL) for an informative and interactive session that explored the inventor’s role within the technology transfer process. Our experienced Technology Licensing Officers shared tips and suggestions about how to make the most of CTL services and how you can help us, help you!

To view photos from the event, please click here.

Patent Class Mini Series
Date: June 7-22, 2016

Weill Cornell inventors navigating the patent process joined the Weill Cornell Dean’s Entrepreneurship Lab and the Center for Technology Licensing (CTL) for a four-part Patent Class Mini Series. These sessions provided presentations by Associate Intellectual Property Attorney, Craig Kenesky of the Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Roasti Law Firm and Vibhu Sachdev, Technology Licensing Officer, CTL.

Topics included:

  • Value of a Patent
  • Best Practices
  • University Licensing
  • What Can I Patent?

  • To view photos from the event, please click here.

    Other Events including CTL Office Hours at Weill Hall