Novel Emulsion for Biomedical Uses
It is well-known that a mixture of water and oil can form an emulsion after shaking, due to the intrinsic immiscibility of water and oil. Indeed, two aqueous solutions can sometimes also be immiscible with each other, by dissolving two kinds of special solutes in water and inducing phase separation.
Taking advantage of the phase-separation between two immiscible aqueous phases, Dr Anderson Shum, associate director at HKU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, generates water-in-water emulsion droplets through microfluidic channels. The resultant droplets have highly uniform diameters, adjustable sizes and variable structures, which are difficult to achieve with other approaches.
All-aqueous emulsions can be used for the production and assembly of capsules and particles. Compared to traditional fabrication techniques, the all-aqueous approach does not involve any toxic, oily or organic solvents; thus it better preserves the native structures and activity of bioactive ingredients. The approach promises to be applied in future biomedical applications, for instance, as carriers of vaccines or scaffolds of cell transplantation, as well as biocompatible micro-reactors.
Intellectual Properties Go Global
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is dedicated to developing Hong Kong as Asia’s intellectual property (IP) marketplace, with an online platform and an annual flagship event as its key initiatives for the promotion of IP trading
Developed and managed by the HKTDC, the Asia IP Exchange (AsiaIPEX) at www.asiaipex.com is an online IP trading platform and database which has more than 15,000 members. AsiaIPEX has formed alliances with more than 30 strategic partners from around the world, including the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA).
More than 25,000 tradable IP listings are now available on AsiaIPEX, with all-aqueous emulsion, developed by HKU and bio-degradable synthetic fibres, created by HKRITA among the most distinctive examples. The latter won a Gold Medal with Jury’s Commendation at the 43rd International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva in April 2015.
“AsiaIPEX provides a resourceful yet focused platform which links up global IP seekers with IP service providers,” says Yan Chan, director of business development at HKRITA. “Being a strategic partner of AsiaIPEX for several years, we have received enquiries on specific IPs and technologies which lead to further discussions and collaborations.”
Professor Paul Cheung, director of the technology transfer office and associate vice-president (research) at HKU, believes that AsiaIPEX is increasingly important because it helps home-grown technologies and innovations go beyond Hong Kong to reach global IP traders.
Apart from operating an IP trading portal, the HKTDC also joins hands with the Hong Kong SAR Government and Hong Kong Design Centre to organise the annual Business of Intellectual Property Asia Forum every December for IP owners and buyers to explore business collaboration opportunities.