Arun Srivastava, PhD receives ‘Invention of the Year’ Award

Each of the six licensing teams chooses one Invention of the Year. Out of the 300 technologies disclosed in fiscal year 2023, licensing officers select one within their portfolio that stands out to them as having great potential.

The inventions selected this year range from next-generation gene vectors to enzyme inhibitors for potent herbicides to a system using AI and machine learning for personalizing patient care. These innovations look to the future, pushing the limits and revolutionizing their respective fields.

Generation Z Single-Stranded AAV Serotype Vectors

UF is the birthplace of AAV. Dr. Arun Srivastava and his team are continuing the legacy of Dr. Kenneth Burns, the Godfather of AAV, and the reason the groundbreaking research exists on campus.

Gene therapy is a well-known form of treatment for various diseases, using vectors to treat patients. While a generation of promising and functioning vectors exist, and ongoing trials are going well, few gene therapies are being approved. Some hurdles still need to be overcome to make them better.

Dr. Arun Srivastava, a George H. Kitzman professor of genetics and chief of the Division of Cellular and Molecular Therapy in the Departments of Pediatrics, and Molecular Genetics & Microbiology, and Powell Gene Therapy Center at the University of Florida College of Medicine, along with Drs. Keyun Qing and Jakob Shoti, a biological scientist and graduate assistant in the Arun Srivastava Lab, have developed the NextGen-high-efficiency-vectors.

The vectors in current gene therapies are first-generation vectors, which patients have shown to have adverse immune responses. The Generation Z single-stranded AAV serotype vector is more efficient. It overcomes several rate-limiting steps in DNA synthesis and dampens the host immune responses in patients, making it highly promising.

“We’re trying to have our cake and eat it too. We’re trying to have disease remediation but not adverse events to the high dosage,” said Dr. Jakob Shoti.