New Knox company has big plans for ORNL technology

es without altering the chemical makeup of the sample or requiring advanced temperature control systems and power supplies.

Second, because of the way the samples are divided into their component parts, the technology offers far greater resolution and preliminary results show that excellent sample separation can be achieved within seconds. Witkowski believes this technique will cause a paradigm shift in the way researchers and doctors study and analyze processes at the molecular level.

Lab-on-a-chip devices, chosen by MIT Technology Review as one of 10 technologies expected to change the world, are projected to revolutionize the drug discovery, genomics and diagnostic marketplaces.

"What makes these technologies so impressive is a combination of small size, low power requirements and decreased costs," Witkowski said.

QGENICS, which employs six, signed a one-year option agreement with the Department of Energys ORNL for an exclusive license of the Molecular Comb. Witkowski and partner Justin Treadwell hope to employ 12 to 15 and begin production of a handheld instrument within a year. They plan to focus initially on point-of-care diagnostics and drug discovery.

Witkowski and Treadwell set up QGENICS with the assistance of the Tennessee Technopreneurial Leadership Center, which provides gifted students and professionals with the guidance to create, own and operate a high-tech company. The center provides instruction and mentoring and world-class intellectual property from ORNL and other commercial sources.

The technology that led to the Molecular Comb was developed by Thomas Thundat and Tom Ferrell of ORNLs Life Sciences Division and Gilbert Brown of the Chemical and Analytical Sciences Division.


Contact: Ron Walli
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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