Proposal Title Optimization of the Kentucky Assay
Category Biosciences
Abstract For centuries, new odor formulations have been discovered by a trial and error process, often romanticized in the phrase “the art of perfumery.” Transforming this art into a science requires understanding the logic of odor detection. Now, with the invention of the Kentucky assay and its ability to identify the sets of odorant receptors (ORs) responsive to any odor tested, this transformation becomes possible. We can determine which ORs to target in order to design odors with pleasant sensations or to block the detection of odors that are unpleasant. We can identify which odor chemicals interact and the ORs where these interactions occur. However, to make the Kentucky assay more attractive to clients we need to improve its throughput - the number of odors it can test per year. Partnering with the inventors of the Kentucky assay at the University of Kentucky, Odorcept has a Phase I STTR award whose main goal is to replace the limiting step in the Kentucky assay with a new measurement method, called targeted RNA-seq, that promises to be more sensitive and therefore much faster. Fortuitously, recent improvements to two older measurement methods allow them to match the sensitivity of targeted RNA-seq. To ensure achieving a Kentucky assay with increased throughput, we propose to use matching funds to test whether these two improved methods work as well or better than targeted RNA-seq as the limiting step in the Kentucky assay. We will also use matching funds to improve the automation of the Kentucky assay and to make contacts with likely clients.
Amount Awarded $150,000
Keywords flavor, odor, odor blocking, receptor, smell, olfaction, olfactory, taste, sensory systems, neuroscience, neurobiology, bioassay, behavior, fragrance, volatile chemical.
Point of Contact Timothy McClintock
[email protected]
Odorcept, LLC
Location Versailles
Woodford County