Saturday, February 13, 2010

UAH Bishop matter and biotechnology start-ups

from the NYT:

The shootings on the university campus [University of Alabama/Huntsville] opened a window into the pressure-cooker world of biotechnology start-ups, where scientists often depend on their association with academia for a leg up. Ms. Bishop was part of a start-up that had won an early round of financing in a highly competitive environment, but people who knew her said she had learned shortly before the shooting that she had been denied tenure at the university.

IPBiz notes that there is a patent application (inventors James Anderson and Amy Bishop) , US published application 20060275896 , (11/433375 ), titled Apparatus and method for incubating cell cultures with abstract:

A portable, self-contained incubation apparatus has a cell container in which a cell culture can grow. The cell container resides on a base along with other components that maintain the environmental conditions inside of the container within a desired range. The self-contained incubation apparatus is portable allowing the conditions within the cell container to be precisely controlled even as it is being moved from one location to another. Further, at least one transparent surface of the cell container enables observation of the cell culture. Thus, the culture can be observed while the environmental conditions within the container are being controlled by components of the incubation apparatus. Since the cells can be observed without breaking the air-tight seal of the container, observation of the cells can be performed as often as is desired without introducing contaminants to the culture or otherwise significantly affecting the growth environment within the container. Indeed, observation of the cells can be performed as often as is desired without introducing contaminants to the culture or otherwise significantly affecting the growth environment within the container.

A non-final rejection appears docketed in the case on February 4, 2010.

There is a corresponding PCT application, PCT/US06/18546 filed on 05-12-2006. An unfavorable international search report was mailed July 31, 2007.

Note also PCT/US2009/047290 (WO 2010/005687) COMPOSITIONS COMPRISING NITRIC OXIDE OR NITRIC OXIDE DONORS FOR THE TREATMENT OF NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES OR TRAUMA, with Amy Bishop as sole inventor, and applicant Office of Technology Commercialization E-39 Von Braun Research Hall 301 Sparkman Drive Huntsville, AL 35899 (US)

The faculty victims in the Huntsville shooting: Gopi Polia, the chair of the biology department; Maria Ragland Davis, a professor of biotechnology; and Adriel Johnson, a professor of physiology.

Note a post titled Dr. Amy Bishop of Alabama-Huntsville killed to protect intellectual property which includes the text:

It was revealed to this blogger by a source who claims that Amy Bishop was his faculty advisor, that Dr. Amy Bishop Anderson killed to protect what she considered to be her intellectual property...

"You called it when you said you thought this happened over her invention," and referring to this bloggers first post on this matter,"When her tenure was denied, that invention became the intellectual property of the university."

The invetion Dr. Amy Bishop believed was hers and that she had rights to something Bishop created, and what was reported in this space, is a portable cell-incubator called "InQ" which won the couple an award in a state competition and won $25,000 of seed money in a business competition, money they could use to start a company around the invention.

Dr. Bishop was also working on something she called The Neuristor, also reported in this space as using neurons as we use integrated circuits in a living computer.

IPBiz questions the logic. The "ownership" of the IP rights is not changed by the denial of tenure or by the deaths. Potential royalties might be affected by the loss of tenure (depends on what the contract between UAH professors and UAH says). HOWEVER, right now US 20060275896 is under rejection, so one is a long way from getting royalties.

The confederateyankee has some relevant comments on the topic including:

I doubt it will make much difference to the ignorati spouting off about academia, tenure, patents, etc.; but:

1. Almost every private company has an "invention and patent" policy in place. You discover something, find a new and better way to do do things, etc., and your actions fall under said policy. Good companies have a policy in place that rewards you, provides other incentives, and ensures that everyone "wins." Bad companies don't. Have worked at one such, and they were amazed at how little innovation suddenly started taking place there, and they went the way of the dodo. Do you know what the policy is where you work? Again, almost every company has one, and if you don't know it, that's your problem as ignorance of the law extends...

2. The policies of an academic institution, especially a research institution (and UAH is one), are well known and discussed. In point of fact, they are often a recruiting tool. I had the honor of working with one of the foremost medical/biomedical researchers in the world, and the first thing he did when recruited to the institution where I met him was to get them to change the patent/invention policy so that the researcher had a strong incentive, the department and/or college involved gets a cut and has an incentive, and the university in question benefits too.

3. While tenure can be very political, the process is spelled out, well known, and almost always the head or others have made suggestions to the people involved on ways to improve, deal, etc. They may not listen, they may not like, and in some cases I have known of people to leave and go to another institution as they felt that they were being asked to do something that would compromise their principles. Some have prospered at these new homes and gone to do good things.

4. For anyone not intimately familiar with UAH and the situation in this particular department and all the people involved, to offer that tenure and denial of same justifies the shooting done is the zenith of moral bankruptcy and intellectual vacuousness.

5. For the thing above babbling about how "republicans" feel that deadly force is good during a robbery but shouldn't be used in a business deal: given your obvious immaturity and lack of general knowledge, most legal systems recognize the same as do most people with any degree of intellectual awareness. Most legal systems, Western, Eastern, and otherwise, have recognized the difference for most of recorded history. To equate the two is what is called the "apples ad oranges" logical fallacy since one involves immediate threat to life and property, and the other lacks that urgency since there is time for a (hopefully) neutral party (the judge and/or jury) to review, rule, and redress as necessary.

6. I did some study at UAH, having earned a specialized certificate there as part of the continuing education program. My jobs both times I lived in the Huntsville area caused me to work with people at that institution. Some were good, some were not; some were liberal, some were not; etc.

7. I am neither a degreed researcher nor an acadmic.

8. I intensely dislike working at places that require you to be an unarmed victim who is not supposed to fight back. While I would hope that this might wake up some people, I doubt it as this is what qualifies as a religious belief rather than a rational approach for many in academia.

9. To say I am disgusted by many of the comments made here, and the people behind them, is a huge understatement. Despicable does not even come close.


Also, from the AP,

Another attendee said the meeting was tranquil enough to allow him to focus on other work as he sat in the conference room that felt cramped with a dozen faculty members sitting elbow-to-elbow.
"It was an ordinary faculty meeting," said Robert O. Lawton, an ecology professor who was writing a manuscript on trees when the gunfire erupted. "And then it became unordinary."


Then in 2002, Bishop was charged with assault, battery and disorderly conduct after a tirade at the International House of Pancakes in Peabody, Mass. Peabody police Capt. Dennis Bonaiuto said that Bishop became incensed when she found out another woman had received the restaurant's last booster seat. Bishop hit the woman while shouting, "I am Dr. Amy Bishop," according to the police report.

From Shooting cripples Ala. university department -->

Podila was chair of the biological sciences department at UAH, where he began working in 2001 and did research involving plant biology and work that can be used in the development of biofuels.

IPBiz notes that "intellectual property" issues that arise when a professor leaves one university and goes to another can become quite complicated, as the case of Galen Suppes illustrated. See for example:

Information from Galen Suppes in UMissouri matter

More on Suppes and Missouri

The ethics of writing a "letter to the editor"
which includes text related to

From the Boston-Herald:

Meanwhile, in an interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education, Anderson said he was searching for the “trigger” to his wife’s breakdown, and that he wondered whether an e-mail message - potentially in the form of a final tenure denial - might have upset her, because university higher-ups were known to send “nastygrams” on Fridays.

In passing, on Dr. Gopi Podila's ties to biofuels: "Ethanol from cellulose, whether from trees or other sources, will be the way to go in the very near future," says Dr. Gopi Podila, a University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAHuntsville) biologist who has been conducting research on high-yield trees for more than a decade. "Trees are cheaper to raise than corn, have a competitive yield and they don’t need as much of the fertilizers that are causing all of the problems in the Gulf.

Dr. Gopila's research in turn leads one to question recent statements of Dr. Andres Clarens of the University of Virginia. Contrary to Clarens, fertilizing corn not only occurs but also is a problem: Due to the rising demand for ethanol, farmers in the U.S. planted more corn this year than in any year since World War II. The corn crop is fertilized with millions of pounds of nitrogen-based fertilizer. An estimated 210 million pounds of those nitrates are not absorbed by the corn, run off into streams and rivers, and are carried to the Gulf of Mexico each year, where it causes a massive "bloom" of algae. [from Science Daily, Jan 19, 2008]

Of Clarens' view, Scientific American noted: "If you grow corn, you rotate the field with soybeans so you get nitrogen fixation," Clarens said. "You still have to fertilize a lot, but if you're growing algae ... all that fertilizer has to come from you, and the fertilizing demands are much higher."

Also, there is the phosphorous problem with corn, related to "where" the phosphorous that actually IS USED by the corn finally ends up. A 2006 Iowa State University study found that feeding 20 percent or 40 percent distillers grains increased feedlot phosphorous in manure by 60 percent to 120 percent. (...) Environmentally, increased phosphorous levels in cow manure can seep into the ground and water, causing utrification, which occurs when algae blooms suck oxygen out of the water, killing fish and presenting other ecosystem problems.[from the Colorodoan]

But, because of Bishop, one will not have Gopila around to counter Clarens.

***Note that the Winter 2009 issue of The Huntsville R&D Report features Amy Bishop and Prodigy Biosystems on the cover.

***From a post about a story in the Hunstville Times:

In June 2006, The Times published a story involving Bishop, biology professor and her husband, Jim Anderson, chief science officer of Cherokee Labsystems in Huntsville.

Bishop is quoted in the story as co-inventor of "InQ," a new cell growth incubator which promised to cut the costs, size and maintenance involved in the mechanics of cell generation.

From the story: InQ co-inventor Amy Bishop credits the coming together of a group of people with certain skills and crossover knowledge in a series of highly fortunate events fueled by Huntsville's evolving entrepreneurial spirit.

"It's great to actually see it hit the market, and the sooner the better," Bishop said. "My colleagues think it will change the face of tissue culture. It will allow us, as researchers, to not live in the lab and control our tissue culture conditions, including the sensitive cultures including those like adult stem cells.

"The conditions to differentiate those have to be exact, and the incubator will help that."

In passing, on life in academia:

The Big Lie About the 'Life of the Mind'


Amy Bishop and Her “Herpes Booby-Trap”: A Character Too Twisted Even For The Hollywood Horror Writers’ Community


IPBiz made it to Russia:

нельзя оттеснить от того, чего нет, не было и никогда не будет:
A non-final rejection appears docketed in the case on February 4, 2010.
There is a corresponding PCT application, PCT/US06/18546 filed on 05-12-2006. An unfavorable international search report was mailed July 31, 2007

Оба, и она и муж, работают в том стартапе и их отношение к стартаповым деньгам никак от факультетских разбирательств не зависит. (В скобках заметим, что по моему глубокому убеждению -- никакого отношения они не имеют, это не их бизнес. Им дали 25К за прикрытие аферы Гарвардским дипломом и фсе. Ну, может еще по мелочи давали, я в карманы им не лазил)

Мне тоже интересно, но боюсь, что дойдет не многое

roughly translated (yahoo babelfish):

t cannot be pushed aside from that, which is not, it was not and never it will be: A of non-final of rejection of appears of docketed in of the of case on Of february 4, 2010. There is a of corresponding PCT of application, PCT/US06/18546 of filed on 05-12-2006. An unfavorable of international of search of report of was of mailed Of july 31, 2007 Both, and it and husband, work in that [startape] and their relation to the [startapovym] to money in no way on faculty trials depends. (In the brackets let us note that on my deep belief - they have no relation, this is not their business. To them they gave 25[K] for the cover of a shady transaction by Harvard diploma and [fse]. Well, can even on the trifle they gave, I into the pockets by them did not climb) To me it is also interesting, but I fear which will reach not much

translate google gave of the latter part-->

Both she and her husband, working in a startup, and their relation to startapovym money from the Faculty of trials does not depend. (In parenthesis, note that I am deeply convinced - no relation they have, it is not their business. They were given 25K to cover fraud Harvard diploma and FSE. Well, maybe more on the detail given, I am in their pockets they will not climb up)

See signmax

IPBiz comments: the denial of tenure was likely unrelated to the adverse patent office decisions, which were likely not known by the professors. The adverse patent office decisions do not argue for novelty of the inventions.


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