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Marc Porter, Chemistry, (515) 294-6433
Christian Schoen, Concurrent Analytical, Inc. (808) 263-6387
Doug Jacobson, Electrical and Computer Engineering, (515) 294-8307
Saren Johnston, Ames Lab, (515) 294-3474
Annette Hacker, News Service, (515) 294-3720


Latest awards bring total to 26 R&D Awards for Iowa State University

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University's Institute for Physical Research and Technology (IPRT), in a joint entry with Concurrent Analytical, Inc., Kailua, Hawaii, has won a 2003 R&D 100 Award. The award was given for a new-generation immunoassay system, the Ramanprobes™ System, for detecting and labeling antigens -- proteins that serve as the body's natural defense system against infectious agents.

The award-winning Ramanprobes™ System was developed jointly by ISU chemistry professor Marc Porter and associate scientist Bob Lipert at the Microanalytical Instrumentation Center of IPRT; and by Christian Schoen, president of Concurrent Analytical, Inc.

A second 2003 R&D 100 Award goes to Iowa State University researcher Doug Jacobson and his network security company, Palisade Systems, Inc., for innovative technology designed to protect the security of internal computer networks. Palisade Systems' FireBlock™ security appliance protects important internal network assets by defining access at the network level and proactively closing off all unauthorized access.

This is the second time Jacobson has received the coveted R&D 100 award. Jacobson is an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Iowa State and chief technology officer of Palisade Systems, Inc., located at the ISU Research Park.

"We are extremely proud of the Iowa State faculty and researchers -- Marc Porter, Bob Lipert and Doug Jacobson -- who have earned two more prestigious R&D 100 Awards on behalf of Iowa State University, Concurrent Analytical and Palisade Systems, Inc. These awards represent the continuing exceptional work of Iowa State faculty in discovering knowledge and putting that knowledge to work. It also represents the effectiveness of our faculty in partnering with private industry to bring these discoveries to market and create economic opportunity," said Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffroy.

The R&D 100 Awards, the only awards for applied science and scientists, have been called the "Oscars of applied science" by the Chicago Tribune. Sponsored by R&D Magazine, the R&D 100 Awards honor the top 100 products of technological significance marketed or licensed during the previous calendar year. All of the award winners will be honored at a banquet in Chicago in October.

About Ramanprobes
Potential applications for Ramanprobes™ lie within both the medical and military arenas. In the medical field, the instrument can be used for toxicology and infectious disease applications. Where antibodies exist for the target molecule, the use of Ramanprobes™ will allow for quick detection and identification of many emergency medical applications. This includes HIV and Hepatitis C, smallpox, botulism, tularemia and the plague.

In the military market, the instrument can be used for detection of weapons of mass destruction. Where antibodies exist for sarin, mustard, Vx and others, this detection scheme can be used to levels close to single-molecule detection.

Ramanprobes™ consists of a new line of Extrinsic Raman Label (ERLTM ) Reagents developed by Porter and Lipert at ISU and a compact, lightweight fiber-optic Raman Microscopy System, Nanoraman TM I Instrument, developed by Schoen at Concurrent Analytical, Inc.

ERL™ represents an entirely new detection method technology and is one of the first major advances to optical molecular detection technology in almost 30 years. The Nanoraman ™ I Instrument has extremely high throughput and can be manufactured at a fraction of the cost of currently available instrumentation. Together, the new detection method and the Raman instrument offer a unique optical detection technology with significant advantages over current state-of-the-art fluorescent systems, including greater sensitivity, enhanced concurrent analysis and instrument simplification.

According to Porter, Ramanprobes™ has the ability to detect down to 100 molecules in less than 60 seconds. "We are currently developing other extrinsic Raman label reagents with three orders of magnitude improvement," Porter said. "These improvements will result in lower detection sensitivities, reduced integration times and reduced laser powers. Imagine a system with a microwatt laser measuring a single molecule in less than one second!"

Providing examples of the benefits Ramanprobes™ will bring to the fields of infectious disease and toxicology, Schoen said, "Imagine a low-cost instrument that could be used by emergency medical personnel that can determine if a catatonic patient were HIV or Hepatitis C positive. Imagine drug-detection systems that could be used out of patrol cars that could detect illicit drugs from saliva samples in less than one second."

Another effort is centered on early cancer detection. "Early detection is based on trace quantitative detection of cancer biomarkers," said Porter. "Extrinsic Raman label reagents have the potential to become a leading method in this effort. These are just some of the society-benefiting applications we envision in the near future."

A portion of this work was funded by the National Defense Center of Excellence for Research in Ocean Sciences (CEROS). CEROS is a part of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA), an agency of the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, State of Hawaii. CEROS is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) through grants to and cooperative agreements with NELHA. This report does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the government, and no official endorsement should be inferred.

The Microanalytical Instrumentation Center is a member of IPRT, a network of scientific research centers at Iowa State University. Through its assistance efforts, IPRT helps Iowa companies solve technical problems, create new products and increase productivity and quality.

About FireBlock™
With internal security as its target, FireBlock™ represents a new paradigm for looking at network security, Jacobson said. "Many organizations focus on protecting their networks from external hackers. FireBlock™ addresses the fact that a fairly high percentage of cases involving unauthorized access of information are committed by insiders or people given access to a company's network resources, such as employees, business partners and outside contractors," Jacobson said.

The key to FireBlock's approach is denying all access requests except those specifically allowed by the organization.

"It prohibits communication between parties that have no right to communicate," Jacobson stressed.

A financial service provider, for example, that provides back-end computing for various brokerage houses has data for each of its clients on its network. That data must be kept separate and secure. Through its powerful rule-based access method, FireBlock™ maintains network security and prevents any possibility of intermixing.

FireBlock™, like Jacobson's 2001 R&D Award-winning PacketHound, is based on ISU patented technology that examines the network traffic and terminates any unauthorized activity.

FireBlock™, which was released in April 2002, provides an understanding of normal network traffic flow and verifies appropriate network-level access. The extensive logs and default reports provide an easy means for companies to confirm, both to customers and federal regulators concerned about privacy issues and identity theft, that their network is secure.

"Five or six years ago, people were looking at single solution security paradigms. Today, everybody believes it has to be a multi-layer approach," Jacobson said. "FireBlock™ is one more layer in the security arsenal."


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