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CTL eNewsletter: March 2012

An Online Wizard for Bird Identification

When you notice an unfamiliar bird, do you immediately wonder what type of bird you saw? One way to find out will be by using Merlin - an online wizard for bird identification developed at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Merlin will ask users a series of questions to narrow down the list of possible bird species and present an answer. For example, users will be asked about when and where they saw the bird, the size of the bird, which group the bird belongs to, and the main colors of the bird. The questions include images and maps to help the users choose their responses. In seconds, Merlin will process the responses and guess the identity of the bird.


What sets Merlin apart from other identification tools, is the fact that Merlin uses machine learning algorithms to determine the identification. Merlin is able to get "smarter" the more it is used as it learns from previous interactions. Merlin draws from a database of bird attributes, previous responses and over 60 million bird observations from eBird. Using this combination of information from real-life birdwatchers and users, Merlin is able to narrow down the species list and present an answer.


Merlin also offers training games, which gather information about how people perceive birds. One game, Bird Color Challenge, shows the user a bird for five seconds and then takes the image away and asks the user to remember the bird’s main colors. This challenge is not only fun for users, but it informs Merlin about how people perceive colors. In four months since its launch, the Bird Color Challenge has received over 200,000 responses from 15,000 participants eager to help train Merlin and sharpen their observation skills.


The inventors, led by Miyoko Chu, Senior Director of Communications at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, are eager to launch the identification tool itself once the system has been trained. If you would like to help train Merlin, please visit http://www.allaboutbirds.org/labs. In time, the goal is to have Merlin at your fingertips on the web and on handheld devices answering your bird identification questions on the fly.


For more information on Merlin, contact Chidori Boeheim at cb472@cornell.edu or 607-254-4460.


Merlin Online Bird Identification Wizard



Restoring Normal Vision to Blind or Severely Visually Impaired Individuals

Restoring Normal Vision to Blind or Severely Visually Impaired IndividualsMillions of people in America are legally blind due to a variety of retinal diseases. Current drug treatments for blindness caused by retinal disease are only effective on a small number of people, and cannot overcome the actual degeneration of photoreceptors. Prosthetic devices are available, but require surgical implantation of electrodes in the eye. In addition, the devices are low resolution, so patients can only see high contrast edges and bright lights. A few companies are also pursuing a gene therapy approach - they are injecting into patients' eyes genes for proteins that produce a signal in response to light. While this method offers higher resolution, the vision provided is still very limited. A new approach being developed by Sheila Nirenberg, Associate Professor of Physiology & BioPhysics at Weill Cornell Medical College, has the potential to restore normal vision to blind or severely visually impaired individuals.

Both the electrode and gene therapy approaches have a key fault - the signals that are sent to the brain do not look at all like the normal signal, and so the brain cannot make much sense of them.

Professor Nirenberg's novel advance is that her device converts images to signals that are nearly identical to those produced by a real retina, with high resolution, and in real time.

Her work has been featured at TedMed, and numerous articles in Discover Magazine, Crains, Wired, Scientific American, and MIT Tech Review, etc.

For more information on this technology, contact Bruce Toman at bet22@cornell.edu or 212-746-6187.




Promoting National Economic Development Through the Formation of Startups

An open letter, focused on promoting the creation of startups in the United States, was recently submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The signatories, of which Cornell is one, explained that the "restrictive trend of some USCIS adjudications over the last few years has created the perception that foreign entrepreneurs and workers at small companies are no longer welcome". USCIS should encourage foreign-born entrepreneurs who come to the United States for training and education to start businesses and create jobs here instead of making it difficult for them to stay and sending them home to become our competitors. The letter also supported "leveling of the playing field" for small companies at the USCIS adjudication level as petitions filed by innovative small companies are routinely denied while petitions filed by larger companies for the same positions are almost always approved. A few policy changes were also suggested including providing training videos about how startups operate to adjudicators and changes to the Adjudicator's Field Manual to guide adjudicators in assessing petitions by entrepreneurs. These changes could help to promote economic development through the creation of more startups in the United States. To read the full letter, click here.



 


Upcoming Events

Inventions Roundtable™ - Cancer Diagnostics & Biomarkers

Date: March 28, 2012
Time: 9:00AM-1:00PM
Location: Weill Greenberg Center Rooms B&C, 1305 York Ave, New York, NY

This event will feature presentations on emerging cancer diagnostics and biomarkers. Invited guests will provide feedback in the areas of marketability and applications.

For more information, email Amanda at aa627@cornell.edu.

IP & Pizza™, Department of Ophthalmology

Date: March 30, 2012
Time: 12:00PM-1:30PM
Location: Room A-126, 1300 York Ave, New York, NY

  • What have you really invented?
  • How can you work with CCTEC to protect your invention?

Find out the answers to these questions and more during this town-hall style event. Pizza, salad, and drinks will be served. This event is sponsored by Foley & Lardner LLP.

For more information or to RSVP, email cctecevents@cornell.edu.

Upstate NY Biocareer Connection

Date: April 3, 2012
Time: 12:30PM-5:00PM
Location: Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY

Attendees will learn what Upstate NY has to offer in the field of bioscience. Companies from across the region will be at the event to explore and discuss opportunities.

For more information and to register, click here.

Seminar & Social Hour™

Date: April 17, 2012
Time: 5:45PM-7:15PM
Location: CCTEC Office Suite, 395 Pine Tree Rd, Suite 310

Join CCTEC and MBA candidates from the Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital Club to learn about a new Cornell technology over drinks and hors d'oeuvres.

For more information or to RSVP, email cctecevents@cornell.edu.

CCTEC New Business & Emerging Technology Showcase™

Date: April 19, 2012
Time: 12:30PM-2:30PM
Location: Statler Hotel Ballroom, Ithaca, NY

This event will highlight new Cornell businesses and emerging technologies from the Ithaca Campus, Weill Cornell Medical College, and New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. This showcase is part of the Entrepreneurship@Cornell Celebration event.

For more information and to register for Celebration, click here.

IP & Pizza™

Date: April 23, 2012
Time: 11:30AM-1:00PM
Location: Mann Library Room 102

Join CCTEC for an interactive discussion on intellectual property and technology transfer at Cornell. Pizza, salad, and drinks will be served. This event is sponsored by Bond Schoeneck & King, PLLC.

For more information or to RSVP, email cctecevents@cornell.edu.

Inventions Roundtable™ - Electronics, Computing & Communications

Date: May 3, 2012
Time: 9:00AM-1:30PM
Location: CCTEC Office Suite, 395 Pine Tree Rd, Suite 310

This event will feature presentations on emerging electronics, computing, and communications technologies. Invited guests will provide feedback in the areas of marketability and applications.

For more information, email Amanda at aa627@cornell.edu.

Medical Device Development Boot Camp™

Date: May 10, 2012
Time: Full day event
Location: Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY

Learn the keys to building a competitive medical device. Medical device entrepreneurs can get information and expert advice from industry veterans, investors, and FDA and patent advisors.

For more information and to register, click here.

Cornell Reception at BIO 2012

Date: June 19, 2012
Time: 6:30PM-8:30PM
Location: Westin Boston Waterfront, Boston, MA

Cornellians, including alumni, business partners, and friends, are invited to join CCTEC professionals for a night of fun over drinks and hors d'oeuvres. This is a great opportunity to strengthen your "Cornell Connections", and to learn about technology opportunities at Cornell University. This event is sponsored by Schwegman, Lundberg & Woessner and MacMillan Sobanski & Todd, LLC.

Cornellians register by clicking here.

Recent Events

IP & Pizza™

Date: March 1, 2012

CCTEC manages, markets, patents, and licenses innovations from Cornell research. Attendees learned how they can help CCTEC get better patents to protect their inventions. Pizza, salad, and drinks were served. This event was sponsored by Harris Beach PLLC.

Click here to view photos from the event.

Seminar & Social Hour™

Date: February 7, 2012

Attendees learned about a new Cornell technology over drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Susan Ashdown, Professor of Fiber Science & Apparel Design, spoke about custom pattern development for garments.

Click here to view a photo from the event.

IP & Pizza™, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering

Date: February 3, 2012

CCTEC manages, markets, patents, and licenses innovations from Cornell research. Attendees learned about how CCTEC manages inventions and how inventors can protect their inventions and the importance of claims and supporting data. Pizza, salad, and drinks were served. This event was sponsored by Perkins Coie LLP.

Click here to view photos from the event.

Seminar & Social Hour™

Date: November 30, 2011

Attendees learned about an exciting Cornell technology over drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Patrick Stover, Professor of Nutritional Science, presented "Blood Biomarkers for Diagnosis of Folate-Related Pathologies".

Click here to view photos from the event.

IP & Pizza™

Date: November 29, 2011

CCTEC hosted a discussion on what intellectual property is and how, when, what, and why to disclose to CCTEC. Pizza and salad was served. This event was sponsored by Kalow & Springut LLP.

Click here to view photos from the event.

Inventions Roundtable™ - Life Science Research Tools

Date: November 18, 2011

This event featured presentations on emerging life science research tools. Invited guests provided feedback in the areas of marketability and applications.


The presentations included:

  • Method to Measure ATP Levels at Specific Localized Spots in Cells
    Tim Ryan, Professor, Biochemistry
  • Identification of Mechanisms of Drug Action and Resistance
    Olivier Elemento, Assistant Professor, Physiology & Biophysics
  • Efficient Identification of Ubiquitination Sites Using Monoclonal Antibody and Proteomic Analysis
    Guoqiang Xu, Postdoc, Pharmacology
  • Method to Design and Apply Short RNA Sequences to Detect Small Molecule Fluorophores in Cells
    Samie Jaffrey, Associate Professor, Pharmacology
  • Mouse with BDNF Val(66)Met Polymorphism
    Francis Lee, Professor, Psychiatry
  • Progranulin Knockout Mouse Models for Studying Frontotemporal Dementia
    Aihao Ding, Professor, Microbiology & Immunology
  • Conditional Knockout Mouse Models of Cereblon Function
    Joe Higgins, Professor, Pediatrics


Click here to view photos from the event.

IP & Pizza™

Date: November 16, 2011

CCTEC hosted a discussion on what constitutes an invention and how/why should you disclose it to Weill Cornell Medical College. Pizza and salad was provided. This event was sponsored by the Clinical & Translational Science Center.

Click here to view photos from the event.