Cornell University

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Spotlight Stories

The Center for Technology Licensing’s mission is to bring the University's scientific discoveries, technological innovations, and medical advances to the marketplace for societal benefit and to foster economic development within New York State and across the nation. Below is a selection of technologies developed at Cornell and managed by CTL. For more information about these and other innovations available for licensing, please e-mail


Blood-Brain Barrier, Protecting the Brain
After Margaret Bynoe and her lab discovered that an FDA-approved drug, Lexiscan, used in cardiac imaging, could open the blood-brain barrier, the lab went to work, exploring how it could be used as a therapeutic for brain diseases.
From Lab to Invaluable Energy Innovations
Lynden Archer is searching for ways to give fossil fuels a different life. His lab has already discovered some invaluable new processes and products.
Mindless Computing Technology for Health
A wrist device lowers heart rate; a bedside device monitors sleep quality; a dinner plate controls food quantity. Tanzeem Choudhury makes it happen.
Mobile Gene Content
Ilana L. Brito and her team are developing a suite of computational tools for examining the mobile gene content in multiple datasets — to identify those genes that may shape the response of microbial communities to stress.
Tackling Cyberfinance Security
Emin Gün Sirer's research group developed and tested Falcon — which they call fast and fierce — for processing Bitcoin blockchains, digital transaction ledgers.
The Lifestyle of Bacteria
When bacteria live in a community known as biofilm, antibiotics can't enter to fight infection. Holger Sondermann wants to disperse that community.
Innovating with Single-Molecule Imaging
As a pioneer of single-molecule imaging, Peng Chen applies the technology to studying metal atoms in cells, with implications for the development of antibacterial agents.
The Making of Nanomaterials
Richard Robinson's work spans the making of nanoscale building blocks and altering their capabilities to assembling nanoparticles into practical devices.
Retinoids' Extraordinary Potential
Lorraine Gudas and her team investigate the irrefutable pharmacological potential of retinoids for treating cancers, diabetes, and other disorders.
NeuroNex — a Radical Collaboration
An engineer and a neuroscientist gathered a group of Cornell scientists and engineers to tackle a frontier of science — the brain. Now, they form a hub.
More Accurate Male Fertility Testing
Androvia Life Sciences licensed a new tool for diagnosing male infertility from Alexander Travis' lab. Soon it will help many infertile couples.
Soft, Safe Robots with Daring Abilities
Robert Shepherd is creating soft robots, using newly invented materials such as soft, bendable rubber foam that can change shape dramatically and bicontinuous skin with adaptable locomotion.
Nanotech-Energy-Water-Environment Nexus
Made of organic and inorganic parts, these hybrid nanoparticles from the Emmanuel Giannelis' lab are unique, and they're working for the environment.
Smart Phones Help Care for Our Health
David Erickson and colleagues are working to move health-related smartphone technologies from his lab to the market.
A Fluorescent Tag Called Spinach
Samie Jaffrey's team created a synthetic RNA strand designed to bind to a fluorescent dye. Named 'Spinach' for its green fluorescence, this tag suddenly made it possible to image RNA as it went through its life cycle in living cells.
The Fight for Better Cancer Drugs
Could one tiny enzyme be the key to cancer's defeat? Richard A. Cerione, Chemistry and Chemical Biology/Molecular Medicine, is trying to find out.
The Immune System and Infectious Disease
Carl Nathan studies the workings of the body's immune system in relation to infectious diseases — with a focus on tuberculosis as a model.
Multiphoton Microscope, Heading for Market
Graduate student Amanda Bares developed a hyperspectral multiphoton microscope that can image cells a millimeter deep in the cerebral cortex.
New Polymers for Drug Design and Delivery
Christopher Alabi is making a new class of polymers as tools for fighting disease.
Breeding for Hardiness—the Organic Way
Michael Mazourek puts 10,000 plants in his research plots every year to assess growth, yield, quality, and disease resistance.
TAL Effectors, One of Nature's Puzzles
TAL effectors are a molecular tool some bacteria use to infect crops such as rice, contributing to poverty and hunger in parts of the world.
Tiny Labs on the Backs of Birds, Tracking Migration
Tracking the migration of birds—especially smaller species like songbirds—will now be much easier with the development of new lightweight, solar-powered tags that can even outlast the lifespans of most birds.
Clearing Out the Waste
Macrophages and microglia clean up dead cells, foreign particles—whatever needs clearing out. How do scientists observe this activity?
Delaying or Preventing Osteoarthritis
David Putnam and Lawrence Bonassar investigate synthetic mimetics of the natural proteoglycan lubricant, lubricin, to delay or prevent progression of osteoarthritis (OA) following injury to the weight-bearing articular cartilage of the knee.
Gene Therapies for Fatal Diseases
Ronald Crystal is known for developing a treatment for a common, often-fatal hereditary disorder that causes emphysema and liver disease.
Mindless Computing
How long will you use that new Fitbit or Apple Watch for monitoring your daily health activities before disinterest sets in?
What We Feed Agricultural Animals
After licensing an animal feed supplement to Phytex LLC and then to Huvepharma, capturing a global market, Xingen Lei still has bigger ideas.
Crisp, Juicy, Nutritious, and in Demand
On Cornell's sprawling 900-acre New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) in Geneva, New York, Susan K. Brown, Horticulture and Plant Breeding/ Genetics, is developing better apples.
Cornell Inventions—the Matter of Startups
Breakthrough technologies from Cornell labs get a boost in commercialization from the on-campus McGovern Center, where nine startups are incubating.
Animals to the Rescue—Arthritis, Menisci
"In humans and in horses, we know that if you sprain your ankle, it will lead to arthritis," Lisa Fortier says.


Sirtuins: New Understanding, New Inhibitors, and New Applications
Dr. Hening Lin is an Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Center and Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University. Dr. Lin's understanding of sirtuin enzymatic activity has enabled the development of a potent sirtuin2-specific inhibitor called "TM."
Peptide-Based Nanofibers
Dr. Benedict Law is an Assistant Professor of Pharmacology in Radiology at Weill Cornell Medicine. Dr. Law's team is interested in a new type of two-dimensional nanomaterial, such as nanofiber (PF) that is biocompatible, able to penetrate inside a tumor, and has a short circulation time to avoid non-specific in vivo distribution with a high tumor uptake.
Soft Robotics for AR/VR
Dr. Robert Shepherd, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and his team have developed foam actuators and sensors to create soft robotics that are safe for use in prosthetics and enhance augmented and virtual reality experiences.
Switchable Adhesion Device
Paul Steen, Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has developed a switchable electronically- controlled adhesion device that allows for maximum adhesion to various surfaces. Among the applications for the device are wafer handling, large-format printing, gripping gloves and shoes, and drone parking pods.