Biomedical researchers in India will soon be using microscopes invented at UMass Boston. Physics professors D.V.G.L.N. Rao and Chandra Yelleswarapu have reached a licensing deal with Lab Engineers (India), a registered corporation in Bangalore, India, based on their patent for a Fourier phase contrast and multimodal microscope. This new technology is less cumbersome, has fewer moving parts, and is more user-friendly. Additionally, the images created by the microscope will be brighter. This is the first licensing deal for an invention solely owned by UMass Boston.
Rao and Yelleswarapu’s invention builds on the technology of the phase contrast microscopes, which have been used in labs since the 1950s. Combining phase and fluorescence imaging, it allows scientists to see the structure and function of a cell simultaneously. Currently, microscopes that show both types of images must take two different images and combine them via a computer. This new technology can also be adapted for quantitative phase imaging with potential applications in monitoring drug efficacy in cancer diagnostics.
The licensing deal with Lab Engineers has been in progress for five years. This is the first such agreement between UMass Boston scientists and a private company. According to Rao, the growth of the biotech and medical industries in India has created demand for this type of technology.
Rao and Yelleswarapu say they continue to improve on their invention because their technology has to keep pace with innovations in bioscience.
“We get together with biology and biomedical researchers to figure out what kinds of problems they have which can be uniquely solved with our techniques,” said Rao.