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Stephen Miller

UMassMed Faculty Page


Title: LUCIFERIN AMIDES. UMMS12-04; Patent 9,370,588, US9,814,787B2. 

  • This technology discloses luciferin amides (e.g., amides derived from firefly luciferin and their analogs) and imaging methods to detect fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) activity in vitro, in live cells, and in vivo. The compounds and methods described are more sensitive and faster than conventional coumarin-based FAAH assays.  These assays may be used to identify therapeutic targets for conditions involving inflammation. 

Title: MUTANT LUCIFERASES. UMMS11-28; Patent 9,587,266

  • This technology provides novel mutant luciferases capable of efficient light emission with aminoluciferins that can be used to monitor gene expression in mammalian cells or perform bioluminescence imaging in whole organisms. This technology is based on the finding that the disclosed genetically-modified luciferases give higher light output in live mammalian cells than D-luciferin over a wide concentration range. 

Title: SULFONATE COMPOUNDS. UMMS10-48; Patent 9,329,185

  • This invention provides a new chemically-stable platform for delivering hydrophobic molecules in to cell cytoplasm. Sulfonates are used to impart water-solubility to hydrophobic molecules but does not readily cross cellular membrane to access cellular compartments. Thus, the TFA-labile sulfonate protection group helps to overcome the difficulty in delivering hydrophobic molecules to the intracellular environment. Currently existing protection molecules are complicated and expensive to produce while it also requires additional steps to remove its byproducts after TFA mediated deprotection. This new invention TFMB sulfonate esters are unique because they are 1) stable to nucleophilic attack (e.g. sodium iodide and piperidine), 2) synthesized in one step from commercially-available materials, and 3) easily removable with pig liver esterase (~2min). This new UMass Medical School sulfate protection group provides new opportunities for research molecule delivery of hydrophobic drugs to mammalian cells. 


Innovation TopicsResearch ToolsBioluminescenceFirefly luciferaseImagingGene expressionSmall MoleculesBiologicsDrug delivery vehicle