Page 1

Launching Collaborative Discovery

Annual Activities Report 2 01 8 - 2 0 19


Paul R. Sanberg, Ph.D., D.Sc., FNAI, President University of South Florida Howard J. Federoff, M.D., Ph.D., FNAI, Vice President University of California, Irvine Sethuraman “Panch� Panchanathan, Ph.D., FNAI, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Arizona State University Sudeep Sarkar, Ph.D., FNAI, Treasurer University of South Florida Karen J.L. Burg, Ph.D., FNAI University of Georgia

Elizabeth Lea Dougherty, J.D., Ex Officio United States Patent and Trademark Office

Table of Contents

Robert V. Duncan, Ph.D., FNAI, Texas Tech University Anna M. Leese de Escobar, FNAI, Ex Officio Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific Paul Rosenthal, Ex Officio United States Patent and Trademark Office Kalliat Valsaraj, Ph.D., FNAI Louisiana State University

Letter from the President ................................... 2 Points of Pride ....................................................................... 3 From the USPTO .............................................................. 4 Advocacy ......................................................................................... 5 Institutional Membership ...................................... 6 Individual Membership .............................................. 7 Chapters of the NAI ................................................ 8-9

Michelle Anne Delaney, Ph.D. Smithsonian Institution

The National Academy of Inventors is a Member organization





universities, governmental and non-profit research institutes, and federal agencies with over 4,000 individual inventor Members, Fellows and Senior Members spanning more than 250 institutions. It was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inven-

Fellows Program

............... 10-12

A look into the highest honor awarded to academic inventors

tions of its Members to benefit society. The NAI publishes the multidisciplinary journal Technology & Innovation and the annual Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Utility Patents report.

Technology & Innovation ........................ 13-15 Senior Members Program ..................... 16-17


8th Annual Meeting

2018 2019

. 18-22

Speakers, Focus Groups and other highlights from the meeting in Houston, TX Global Academic Inventors Network – GAIN ............................................................. 23

The Next Generation

........................................... 24-26

Young Innovators from Stevens Institute of Technology and Worcester Polytechnic University

From our Sustaining Members ..................................................... 27-36 The cutting-edge research at our nine Sustaining Member Institutions Inaugural Class of Senior Members ............................................................. 37 2018 Class of Fellows ............................... 38-40 Collaborators ........................................................................ 41 1

Letter from the President DEAR FRIENDS, When the National Academy of Inventors was founded in 2010, our goal was to build a network of the best and brightest minds in academic invention. Over the past nine years, we have devoted ourselves to this goal, and we have seen the fruits of that labor manifested in our Annual Meeting, Fellows and Senior Members programs, and Global Academic Inventor Network (GAIN) mentorship platform. This is a growing network of incredible researchers, capable of tackling the world’s most complex issues and inspiring the next generation of innovators to do the same. This was a year of growing connectedness. We came together in Houston, Texas for our 8th Annual Meeting for a memorable few days of inspiring and energizing discussions surrounding academic invention’s biggest challenges. We celebrated a new class of Fellows and the inaugural class of Senior Members, welcoming 213 incredible innovators to our fold. The 2018 class of Fellows represents 125 research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes worldwide, and they collectively hold nearly 4,000 issued U.S. patents. They have made an incredible impact in a variety of fields, including biomedical engineering, laser photonics and computer sciences. We released two successful issues of Technology & Innovation to date, and we connected innovators from across the world through GAIN. The NAI again made strides on the national stage. In September, the United States Senate unanimously approved Senate Resolution 620, honoring the work of the NAI by


recognizing and congratulating the Academy for reaching a major milestone: 200 Member Institutions. In addition, I had the distinct honor of representing the NAI at the White House’s Summit on Quantum Information Science. It was an exciting and forward-thinking meeting with more than 20 other leaders from academic universities and governmental agencies, many of which are NAI Members. In celebration of such an eventful year, it is my pleasure to present to you the 2018-2019 Annual Activities Report of the NAI. On behalf of the NAI Board of Directors, I hope you will enjoy reading about the NAI’s initiatives over the past year, as well as the impactful research being done by our Members and at our Sustaining Member Institutions. Our Institutional Members continue to drive change within the innovation ecosystem, working as advocates for innovation on a global scale. I also offer my heartfelt gratitude to each of you, our Members, partners and friends, for continuing to support the NAI in its mission to encourage academic invention on a local, national, and global scale. We look forward to many more years of forging strong relationships among our Members and celebrating as we push the boundaries of innovation and research together. S I N C E R E LY ,

Paul R. Sanberg, Ph.D., D.Sc., FNAI, President


2018 2019



Technology & Innovation published two successful issues: “Invention Education,” which advocates for invention-based education from primary school through higher education, and “Technologies for Disabilities,” which delved into the world of accessibility in innovation and explored ways to improve existing technologies and create new solutions.



The NAI Fellows Program has grown to 1,060 Fellows representing over 250 prestigious universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes worldwide.

Federal Charter H.R. 2857 was reintroduced to Congress to support the NAI at the federal level.

The Senior Members Program launched in October 2018 with an inaugural class of 65 elected Members.

The NAI released, in partnership with the Intellectual Property Owners Association, the eighth annual Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Utility Patents.


The NAI now has over 220 Member Institutions spread across 46 states and 12 countries worldwide.

The NAI renewed a Memorandum of Agreement with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, strengthening their collaboration.

The NAI successfully launched the Global Academic Inventors Network (GAIN), which provides students, Senior Members and Fellows the opportunity to mentor the next generation of inventors.

The NAI national office moved into a beautiful new facility in Tampa.


From the USPTO

References: Sawyers H. The Dustbuster Turns 30: Suck Out the Candles. 2009. Popular Mechanics. [Internet]. New York (NY); 20 Things We Wouldn’t Have Without Space Travel. 2019. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). [Internet]. Pasadena (CA); Particle. An astronomical myth- astronaut ice cream (2018). Phys.Org. [Internet].; Forty-YearOld Foam Springs Back With New Benefits. 2005. NASA Technology Transfer Program. [Internet]. Washington, D.C.; Spinoff from a Moon Tool. 2003. NASA Technology Transfer Program. [Internet]. Washington, D.C.; Iancu A. Remarks by Andrei Iancu at American Enterprise Institute. Remarks presented at the American Enterprise Institute; 2018. Washington, D.C.

Corresponding Author: Rebecca Fritchman rebecca.fritchman@uspto.gov 303-297-4344


THE MEANING OF 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MOON LANDING Fifty years ago, two American astronauts were the first humans to land and walk on the moon. Since then, the world has benefitted from technology and inventions that began with the Apollo program and its mission to accomplish a crewed lunar landing. Like the first small steps on the moon, innovation is often incremental and seemingly insignificant at first. Then, giant advancements build from an initial framework. In July, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) held a celebration to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, largely focused on the far-reaching impact of space innovation and technology transfer from the Apollo missions. Intellectual property protection and the ability to commercialize already existing technologies through partnerships have played a key role in making our nation the innovation superpower it is today. The applications and impact these collaborations enable are valuable and, at times, surprising. Though never actually making it into space, freeze-dried, or “astronaut” ice cream, a childhood favorite, was born from the space race. Indeed, due to the need for calorie -dense food aboard spacecraft that is light with an increased shelf life, freeze-dried foods such as dehydrated rice, U.S. patent 3692533, and “astronaut” ice cream, U.S. registered trademark 88435882, were developed. Freeze-dried ice cream was developed when NASA

contracted the Whirlpool Corporation in an effort to figure out how to store ice cream at room temperature. Today, freeze-dried foods are not only the perfect hiking companion but are also a main component in shelf-stable foods. Athletic performance also surged ahead thanks to advancements in space technology. U.S. patents 4183156 and 4219945 for “insole construction of footwear” were developed in part through in-

as cords could easily entangle astronauts in zero gravity. To solve this problem, NASA awarded Black & Decker a contract to develop a cordless, rechargeable drill for extracting core samples. After further redesign and clever marketing, the technology later resulted in U.S. patent 4225814 for a cordless vacuum cleaner storing and recharging system. The Dustbuster went on to set the record for the highest perunit sales of any product in Black & Decker history.

corporating design features and manufacturing processes used in NASA spacesuit construction. Consequently, half a century after developed, space boot technology is still widely used in footwear so that people around the world need not sacrifice style for comfort. Similarly, temper foam, which was first invented in 1966 for use in NASA’s aircraft seats, has padded the helmets of football players and has been used to increase the comfort of prosthetic limbs and shoe insoles. The Dustbuster is possibly the most famous invention to come from the moon landing, though many may not associate it with the moon. Still popular today, the powerful miniature vacuum was all the rage when it first hit the market in 1979. Prior to the moon landing, there was a need for power tools that could be safely operated in space,

Additional inventions which evolved from the lunar landing mission include smoke detectors, joysticks, portable computers, retractable stadium roofs, lightweight breathing systems for firefighters, chlorine-free pools, solar panels, pacemakers, infrared ear thermometers, and baby formula. Developments such as these and many more were made possible because NASA scientists and engineers pushed the boundaries of human ingenuity and urged – to paraphrase Neil Armstrong – giant leaps upon mankind. It is only backed by our intellectual property system, through these partnerships, that technologies can realize their full potential. On this momentous anniversary, it is fitting then that the doors of the USPTO are open to all in the world, and orbiting towards more collaborative endeavors than ever before.


2018 2019

NAI: Advocacy CONGRESSIONAL CHARTER LEGISLATION In May 2019, Congressional Representatives Dan Lipinski, Kathy Castor, Daniel Webster, and Gus Bilirakis introduced H.R.2857, a bill to grant a Federal Charter to the National Academy of Inventors. This bill federally recognizes the national need for the NAI. Becoming a federally chartered organization would allow the Members of the NAI to serve the public as experts on the investigation, research, review, and reports on subjects related to innovation, intellectual property, translational research and commercialization, whenever called upon by any department of the government. Developing technology and inventions not only contributes to the success of academic entities and non-profit research institutions worldwide, but it also keeps our nation on the cutting edge, creates new jobs, and benefits the long-term stability of our economy and global competitiveness. Government investment in research should lead to national advancements and security, and the NAI brings the innovative spirit that defines our culture to the forefront.

“I am thankful for the work the National Academy of Inventors does to mentor researchers who excel at transitioning their work into commercial products that boost American competitiveness and prosperity. Our bill recognizes researchers who not only discover new scientific insights but who also apply that knowledge to produce creative new technologies.� U.S. REP. DAN LIPINSKI ( D - I L - 3)

The United States Senate unanimously approved Senate Resolution 620, honoring the work of the NAI by recognizing a major milestone: reaching 200 Member Institutions. This resolution celebrates the inventive work of NAI Members and the collective impact the organization has on the vast invention landscape, individual communities and the nation.















Institutional Membership The NAI offers different Membership levels that serve as opportunities to join a growing global network of innovators and change-agents as well as honor academic inventors and leaders. Institutional Memberships are offered to U.S. and international universities as well as governmental and non-profit research institutes, agencies and labs. The available designations for institutional Membership include Sustaining Member, Member and International Affiliate.


GAIN | Annual Meeting | Chapters NAI helps bring inventors together through a variety of services and events, including the Global Academic Inventors Network (GAIN) and Annual Meeting. Students, staff and faculty affiliated with an NAI Institutional Member can join GAIN to interact with and seek advice from NAI Senior Members and Fellows who are top innovators in their respective fields. For more information on GAIN, see page 23. Plus, NAI Members can engage locally by starting NAI Chapters! Contact us for how to get started: info@ academyofinventors.org



Congressional Charter Members can promote the innovative work of their institution, faculty, staff and students through the NAI’s communication channels and advocate for the advancement and protection of academic inventions. Congressional Charter H.R. 2857 would recognize the NAI as an organization which meets a national need, allowing Members to serve as experts in a variety of fields. For more information on NAI advocacy, see page 5.


The highest level of institutional Membership available to receive exclusive benefits with the Activities Report, Annual Meeting, Technology & Innovation (T&I), special committees and more. In addition to all Member Institution benefits, Sustaining Members receive the following: • One complimentary registration at the Annual Meeting • One complimentary full-page ad in Annual Meeting program • Innovation feature article in the Annual Activities Report • Logo displayed on NAI website


Increases the visibility of institutional research and offers opportunities to recognize and honor inventors on campus.




Social Media / T&I / Web

Nominations | Resources

All individuals affiliated with an Institutional Member enjoy priority publishing in the NAI’s multidisciplinary journal, Technology & Innovation as well as the ability to submit noteworthy news for distribution through NAI’s newsletter and social media platforms. For more information on T&I, see page 13.

Institutional Member representatives receive personalized service to maximize use of Membership benefits, features and service opportunities. NAI staff Members provide useful resources to support current and potential new Members, as well as collect feedback for new programming and services that support the promotion and importance of academic innovation.

International Membership level that promotes institutional research and innovation on a global scale, and allows for worldwide recognition of campus inventors.

NAI partners with Institutional Members to honor academic inventors and prolific thought-leaders through recognition at the national and local levels as well as provide service opportunities for engagement.













2018 2019


Individual Membership NAI recognizes innovative leaders and inventors with issued patents from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for their achievements that result in economic growth, societal well-being, national security and new advancements in various fields. Individual and Chapter Members from NAI Member Institutions have access to a number of NAI benefits with a few additional ones available to those designated nationally as NAI Senior Members and NAI Fellows.

RECOGNITION TYPES Benefits and Features of Individual Recognition Types

Chapter Member

Senior Members


Invited locally at Member Institutions See pages 8 and 9 for more information.

Elected nationally for potential in innovative impact See page 16 for more information.

Elected nationally for significant innovative impact See page 11 for more information.

Nationally Verified Affiliation, Certificate & Lapel Pin Access to Global Academic Inventors Network (GAIN – Mentorship Platform) Annual Meeting – Special Member Rates Individual Promotion through NAI Communication Channels Technology & Innovation Priority Publishing Personal Assistance with Nominations, Publications and Other Member Services National Election and Induction Ceremony Technology & Innovation 20% Discount on Article Processing Charges Advisory Committee Opportunities Listed on National Website and in Printed Publications Personalized Award Materials (Trophy & Medal) Commemorative Plaque at the United States Patent and Trademark Office



We’ll Help You Get Started

Grow Your Innovator Community with a Local NAI Chapter An NAI Chapter is the first type of recognition available within NAI at the local level. It is a powerful collaboration tool that allows Institutional Members to recognize and honor local inventors, researchers and innovators, as well as help promote and foster the spirit of innovation on their campus with faculty and students alike. Institutional Membership dues include Membership for up to 40 chapter Members. Each Institutional Member sets the structure and Membership requirements for their Chapter. For example, the Chapter may accept new Members by invitation only, or it may accept applications. At the Chapter level, there are inventor Members and honorary Members. The only national requirement is that all inventor Members at the Chapter level hold one issued U.S. patent at minimum. Honorary Membership is a great way to recognize leaders and representatives within the institution and local community who do not hold a patent but have helped facilitate, nurture or promote economic development.

HOW Florida Atlantic University University of Central Florida “NAI’s national headquarters is very well organized and provided a helpful guide for getting started with all of the important resources for starting a chapter, including templates for committee bylaws and Member certificates. They also introduced us to active chapter organizers who provided insight on how they were working to create an impactful chapter with engaged Members.” THOMAS O’NEAL & I S S A B ATA R S E H


“Our experience working with the national office staff at the National Academy of Inventors was very positive. NAI representatives showed great interest in our chapter.” DANA VOUGLITOIS

NAI Director, Jayde Stewart and Assistant Director of Membership, Yashira Cabrera attend the FAU NAI Chapter launch.


2018 2019

WHY East Carolina University “The process of establishing a chapter was seamless. The NAI staff guided us through the process and have continued to serve as a valuable resource. Our first NAI inventor recognition program began in 2012 and has continued on an annual basis. It has joined a weeklong celebration of research on our campus.”

Stony Brook University Worcester Polytechnic Institute “We really like handing out Honorary Memberships to students who have applied for a patent, a Framed License Plate for any patents that have been licensed, and a Hall of Fame award for those patents generating royalties. We want to see a lot of Hall of Famers!” LY N D A K E L LY


Brian Hanlon ’90; ASSISTments creators Neil Heffernan and Cristina Heffernan; Laurie Leshin

“[Stony Brook University] has an excellent history of academic inventions… There was no doubt that the SBU Chapter of NAI would encourage academic inventors and promote their inventions.” I WA O O J I M A

University of Central Florida “We believe in innovation and recognizing the individuals who’s creativity and dedication make discovery possible. We also thought it was important to provide a platform for them to highlight their innovations and creative work and to share them with the local community.”

Stevens Institute of Technology “Having an NAI chapter provides us with a very highlevel vehicle to recognize the unique work of our faculty and students. Many of these candidates have made contributions that are diverse compared to traditionally recognized ones and it is nice to see them receive some recognition.” V I K K I H A Z E LW O O D

Stevens Institute of Technology Awards Ceremony 2019



Fellows Program 10

Fellows Program


2018 2019

The National Academy of Inventors inducted 125 new Fellows at the NAI’s Eighth Annual Meeting on the evening of April 11, 2019 at Space Center Houston in Houston, TX.

“It’s very thrilling to have this cohort of folks that have been recognized by the NAI and the Fellows who will come in the future. I think it’s truly reflective of what, as a nation, we can do to impact humanity.”

ABOUT The NAI Fellows program began in 2012 to recognize and honor leading academic inventors, thought-leaders, and change-agents who have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society. Election to NAI Fellow status is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors. With the election of the 2018 class of Fellows, the program boasts 1,060 inventors worldwide representing more than 250 prestigious universities, non-profit research institutes and government agencies. The next class of NAI Fellows will be elected and announced in December 2019 and inducted at the Ninth Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ in April 2020. To be considered for election, nominees must be a named inventor on one or more patents issued by the USPTO and be affiliated with a university, non-profit research institute, government agency, or other academic entity.


For more information regarding the NAI Fellows program, contact info@academyofinventors.org.


Fellows Program

THE 2018 CLASS OF FELLOWS In December of 2018, the NAI elected 148 renowned academic inventors to NAI Fellow status. The 2018 class of Fellows represent 125 research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes worldwide, and they collectively hold nearly 4,000 issued U.S. patents. To date, there are over 1,000 NAI Fellows who have generated more than 11,000 licensed technologies and companies, created more than 1.4 million jobs and generated over $190 billion in revenue. The 2018 class has made an incredible impact in a variety of fields, including biomedical engineering, laser photonics and computer sciences. They invented ways to capture memories and discovered novel approaches to cancer therapies. They created new means for gathering intelligence and turned to minute details in the pursuit of the world’s worst criminals. Their work has been used by the armed forces, government officials, researchers, broadcasters, everyday citizens and more. They are leaders in their communities and drivers of change within their knowledge economies. In a word, their impact is monumental.

For more on the Annual Meeting, see page 19.

Elizabeth G. Loboa 12

At the 2019 Annual Meeting, a number of new Fellows delivered presentations on their research. Among these were Elizabeth G. Loboa of University of Missouri, Kenneth Kaushansky of Stony Brook University and Linda G. Griffith of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Loboa was the first female dean of the College of Engineering at University of Missouri. Her research focuses on tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Loboa delivered a riveting presentation on promoting diversity to increase scientific discovery and invention. She discussed how minorities in STEM deal with imposter syndrome – a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and fears being exposed as a fraud - and how the University of Missouri’s Diverse Engineering Professionals Conference aims to give students an opportunity to network with less pressure through professional development workshops, keynote speakers, poster presentations and more.

Kaushansky serves as dean of the Stony Brook University School of Medicine. His research centers on the molecular biology of blood cell production. He gave a powerful speech on how government can affect the relationship between academia and industry in both a positive and negative way. Kaushansky shared his past experience with losing intellectual property rights and discussed best practices for researchers to protect their ideas. Griffith is a professor of Teaching Innovation, Biological Engineering and Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She also serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Endometriosis Foundation of America. Her research focuses on in-vitro models, tissue microstructures and other biomaterials. In her presentation, Griffith discussed endometriosis and the studies surrounding it. She closed with an impactful sentence: “If you want to get more women in STEM, cure these diseases and you’ll have a lot more of them.”

Kenneth Kaushansky

Linda G. Griffith

Technology & Innovation


2018 2019


“ What I love about the National Academy of Inventors is the application of scientific knowledge and other knowledge to create tangible products or solutions to help the world. For the past 127 years, we have celebrated and empowered scientists and scholars in both areas of fundamental and applied research. That ethos of application that is so central to the National Academy of Inventors is alive and well here at Stanford, so I think the missions perfectly line up. The mission of the National Academy of Inventors is one of the missions of our university.”


“ There were additional factors at work: [my invention] got a lot of media and press, and my institution at the time was also brand new, so it wasn’t recognized, and most people still associate top researchers with the most established and top universities. So I was an outsider in that respect, and in every respect really, because I was a woman, I was young, I didn’t fit into any of the parameters that most people would

think of as an inventor, and I wasn’t even at a recognized university. However, I was very lucky because a few people really took me seriously. I remember being reached out to by one of the legends in the microfabrication world at Stanford, someone who is very well established. He sent me an email, and he said “This is the coolest thing I’ve read in a really long time.” It just makes all the difference when somebody of that stature reaches out to you to offer a little bit of support. I think that was amazing. Now that I’m more established, hopefully, I can pay that back in some way.”


Technology & Innovation


“There was a very clear event that steered me to become an electrical engineer. It happened when I was in the seventh grade when I took an electric shop class. I had seen some catalogs in the junk mail that included a catalog from a Heathkit, which I don’t think is around anymore, but it was like RadioShack. They had kits that you could assemble for various electronic devices, and one of the kits I saw in there was a radio, a shortwave AM/FM radio. I approached the teacher in the electric shop class, and I asked him if I could do this as a class project on the side. I would build it at home, in the evenings, and then bring it in at the end of the semester for a class project. Initially, he said no because he thought it was too difficult and I could never succeed. I kept pestering him, and, finally, he agreed, and I did that as a side project on my own. Over the course of the semester, I followed all the instructions in the kit, soldered all the wires together, and put the five vacuum tubes in it. At the end of the semester, I plugged it in and sound came out. I was so shocked by the fact that sound came out of this thing that I had been assembling for months. At that point, I made it my mission in life to figure out how that thing To read the full interviews, visit T&I at www.ingentaconnect.com/content/nai/ti.


worked. I knew I had to become an electrical engineer to understand it, and that’s what I pursued.”


2018 2019

TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION Technology & Innovation (T&I) is a multidisciplinary, open-access journal dedicated to being a forum for innovative discourse and a showcase for academic invention. The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) is proud to publish 3-4 editions of T&I annually. In addition to focused topics, each issue also features an article from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), an NAI Fellow profile and a spotlight of an NAI Chapter. This year, T&I released “Invention Education,” a special issue which explored current local and national educational support efforts for developing young inventors from primary school through higher education. To read the latest issue of T&I, visit www.ingentaconnect.com/content/nai/ti.


• Submit articles, Fellow spotlights or Chapter profiles • Become a Special Editor • Sponsor an Issue in your field FIND OUT MORE:











Senior Members Program


The NAI launched the Senior Members program in 2018 and welcomed the Inaugural class in February of 2019. It was created to recognize early-stage, rising stars in the innovation space whose patents have the potential to bring real impact on society. The NAI Fellows program recognizes seasoned inventors at the pinnacle of their career who have made a sizeable impact on the global innovation ecosystem, either through invention or

through policy change. The NAI Senior Members program, by contrast, aims to recognize rising inventors with the promise to make such an impact in the future. Candidates for the NAI Senior Members program must be affiliated with an NAI Member Institution. While NAI Member Representatives are encouraged to nominate eligible individuals, it is not a requirement that they do so; self-nominations are also accepted.


• One licensed/commercialized U.S. patent and/or five issued U.S. patents • Seven years of professional practice • Affiliation with an NAI Member Institution

SENIOR MEMBERS PROGRAM TIMELINE Advisory Committee Review Official Member Announcement





Nomination Period

Nomination Period









Official Member Announcement Advisory Committee Review

Contact info@academyofinventors.org for more information



2018 2019

CELEBRATING SENIOR MEMBERS AT EIGHTH ANNUAL MEETING The NAI invited the inaugural class of Senior Members to the Eighth Annual Meeting for a special ceremony. The Members of the inaugural class are named on a plaque that hangs at the NAI headquarters in Tampa, FL. Each Senior Member was also awarded an honorary certificate and a Senior Member Challenge Coin. The presentation of challenge coins dates back to the Roman Empire, when soldiers were rewarded for their achievements. Today around the world, challenge coins are presented to distinguished personnel in recognition of their leadership and kinship. They are traditionally given in a handshake. The Senior Member Challenge Coin features the NAI logo on one side, symbolizing how innovation drives the world. On the other side is a light bulb, the symbol of the Senior Members program. This coin commemorates and recognizes each inventor’s incredible contributions to society through invention and innovation.

Tom Nosker, Rutgers, accepts his election materials from Elizabeth Dougherty, USPTO.

The Senior Member Challenge Coin


2019 Annual Meeting At Space Center Houston



At Space Center Houston

2018 2019

Anna Leese de Escobar, Nathan Newman and Walter Herbst

The NAI Annual Meeting, held each spring, is a collaborative forum for leadership and an arena for the research community to deliberate on the translation of science and technology. We bring together innovators and thought leaders from organizations worldwide who are making a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society. The Annual Meeting features stimulating presentations, focus groups and interactive networking and culminates in the formal NAI Fellows Induction Ceremony. This year, the NAI inducted 125 new Fellows at Space Center Houston. Following the ceremony, guests celebrated the new class’s outstanding impact at the

Signature Gala. The evening featured special remarks by veteran astronaut Ellen Ochoa, FNAI, and musical selections by musicians of the Texas Medical Center Orchestra. Throughout the Annual Meeting, innovation and entrepreneurship are recognized, honored and cultivated. This year’s program highlighted presentations and panel discussions on topics such as “Industry, Academia and Government Collaborations,” “Connecting Disciplines to Explore Innovative Solutions” and “Insights for Future Innovation.” Presenters included NAI Members and Fellows along with university leaders, government officials and industry executives.



Universities/ Institutes

125 Fellows Inducted



Attendees 19

2019 Annual Meeting

In addition to the various presentations and panels, five keynote speakers gave lectures on the biggest issues facing the innovation ecosystem today. Maria Oden delivered the first keynote speech of the meeting. Oden is a Professor of Bioengineering at Rice University, Director of the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, and Co-Director of the Rice 360o Institute for Global Health. Ten years ago, Oden traveled to sub-Saharan Africa to identify realworld problems for her students to tackle. In her keynote, she told the story of how those efforts made a difference. She encouraged attendees to think of new ways to enable the next


generation of inventors to improve lives, saying “We open doors for students, not just for them to be engineers, but to learn to be inventors. I urge you all to open the doors and windows in your kitchen to let in young people.” Oden was recognized as an Honorary Member of the NAI following her presentation. Walter G. Copan, FNAI, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, delivered an update on “Unleashing American Innovation: Convergence, NIST & the Return on Investment (ROI) Initiative.” He touched on the NIST-on-a-chip initia-

tive, which is a suite of quantum-based measurements. Copan was inducted as an NAI Fellow this year. Steven J. Sasson, FNAI, delivered one of the most anticipated presentations of the Annual Meeting; his insights as the inventor of the digital camera are invaluable to the academic invention community. In a present tation full of quotable moments, one message stood out above all: “You have to instill curiosity in things. It requires you to lead others and take a chance.” Sasson joined the NAI as a Fellow this year. The idea to host the Eighth Annual Meeting in Houston stemmed from a conversation between NAI President Paul R. Sanberg and

NAI Fellow Ellen Ochoa. Ochoa is a veteran astronaut and the Former Director of the Johnson Space Center. She was the first Hispanic woman in space, and she knew Houston, as an international hub of innovation and entrepreneurship, would be an incredible city for the NAI’s Annual Meeting. Ochoa also delivered a riveting keynote presentation on her time at NASA, discussing how NASA’s informal motto, “Failure is Not an Option,” can combine with the seemingly contradictory sense of failure as an integral part of innovation. She closed the presentation with footage of her time at the International Space Station.

U.S. Commissioner for Patents and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Drew Hirshfeld delivered the final keynote speech of the 2019 Annual Meeting. At Space Center Houston, Hirshfeld welcomed the newest Fellow inductees and highlighted their accomplishments. He spoke of how the USPTO is working to further innovation on a national level. In particular, Hirshfeld highlighted the USPTO’s efforts to encourage women inventors and to educate their patent examiners. Hirshfeld closed the ceremony with Paul R. Sanberg, as they presented each new Fellow with their medal and trophy.


At Space Center Houston

2018 2019

CONNECTION AND THINK SPACE The Connection and Think Space was an inaugural NAI networking event to encourage collaboration across our Membership and facilitate meaningful discussions surrounding the educational sessions earlier that day. Conversation focused on breakthrough trends in invention, the importance of applied research and

strategies to encourage inclusion in innovation. This unstructured session provided the crucial time to allow our Members a chance to connect on a personal level, further deepening their individual identification as inventors and broadening the scope of innovation.

NATIONAL SCIENCE BOARD FOUNDATION The National Science Board (NSB) Foundation hosted a private 2030 Vision focus group for a small subset of attendees. In this listening session, participants gained essential insight into the direction of our nation’s STEM initiatives. The experience was beneficial to both the NSB and the participants and served as a crucial lesson to our

leadership. We are now re-examining the potential of our Annual Meeting to act as a cooperative environment to leverage the genius of our collective Membership. Next year, the NAI plans to offer more productive, small group sessions to harness the power of our unique network to empower our community to shape the future of innovation.

TOP: Yipeng Gao, Yikai Luo, Chih-Hsu Lin, students at Baylor College of Medicine BOTTOM: Carolyn L. Cason (FNAI), University of Texas at Arlington and Walter G. Copan (FNAI), National Institute of Standards and Technology


2019 Annual Meeting



For more information on sponsorship and general support opportunities, please contact Lisa Velesko at lvelesko@academyofinventors.org


To learn more about GAIN please visit academyofinventors.org/mentorship-platform or register as a user at NAI.firsthand.co. For more information on the Global Academic Inventors Network please contact GAIN@academyofinventors.org.



NAI Fellows, Senior Members and Chapter Members are encouraged to register as mentors. We hope to empower all of our valued NAI Members to impart expertise and experience on young innovative leaders to shape the next generation of inventors.

Enrolled students and junior professionals at NAI Member Institutions who have a piqued interest in innovation are encouraged to register as mentees. Leverage our network of prominent inventors to navigate each stage of your invention process.





In the fall of 2018, the National Academy of Inventors introduced our new mentorship platform available exclusively for our Members: the Global Academic Inventor Network (GAIN). Since its launch, our unique program has connected seasoned academic inventors with collegiate innovators at our NAI Member Institutions across the nation and around the globe. These connections promote the teaching and sharing of advice regarding careers, academics, innovation, inventions and much more. We strive to connect our Members so they may share their experience and knowledge, as well as continue to support our mission of promoting the importance of innovation and academic invention. The platform technology features a powerful matching algorithm and a robust search engine to bring the right people together based on discipline, subject matter, and skills. Intelligent scheduling and synchronized calendars make it easy for Members to find a time to connect, and digital meeting rooms allow users to connect via audio and video, file sharing and chat functions.



2018 2019


Global Academic Inventor Network

R / ME






“[NAI Fellows] are willing to share and disclose their talent, and their expertise so that others can benefit from it both by enjoying the technology and then even more importantly perhaps by building upon it. So, our Fellows have been a really unique source of education, of information and most certainly inspiration.� ELIZABETH DOUGHERTY, USPTO, NAI BOARD OF DIRECTORS


and Worcester Polytechnic Institute





Young innovators from Stevens Institute of Technology



The Next Generation





Young Innovators

2018 2019

Stevens Institute of Technology

NAI CHAPTER INNOVATIONS THAT IMPROVE LIFE: Students Prove the Power of Collaboration and Inspiration Ureteral stents present a painful, longstanding N VE TO design problem: N how to develop a thin, strong device that works to accommodate urinary flow I





within the body while also preventing dangerous infection and calcification — while remaining easily retractable. In 2018, physicians at one of the metropolitan New York City region’s leading hospitals, Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC), decided to look at the challenge with fresh eyes. Little did they know an

answer was waiting in the hands and minds of four talented Stevens Institute of Technology students, part of an NAI Student Chapter working under the careful mentorship of Stevens NAI Fellow Vikki Hazelwood and lecturer Becky Tucci. Just one year later, the result is a novel medical device unique enough to have already earned a provisional patent. “This absolutely has the potential to make patient impact,” says HUMC urology chair Dr. Michael Stifelman, who worked with the student team. “There’s no current stent that works like this. I brought the problem, and they developed an amazing potential solution.” The device works by replacing the J-shaped coil at one end of a standard ureteral stent with a ring-shaped neodymium magnet; this keeps the stent from contacting the bladder while allowing easy retrieval. The smooth, circular magnet is covered with polymer material to help slow the growth of painful, dangerous calcium crystals and biofilms on the stent head. The group envisions it being harmlessly retracted with a portable, magnetically charged wand. “It was a great exercise for us to get deeply into this challenge,” recalls Mithin Nair, a student at Stevens Institute of Technology who continues to refine the new system and explore other electromagnetics applications in the university’s labs this summer. “We went through a lot of calculations and theories, some of them fairly obscure, until one

day we had a ‘eureka’ moment that a magnet might be the best answer. It’s pretty exciting that our design appears to be a realistic solution.” Attached mini-cameras, onboard batteries and improved, MRI-compatible magnetic materials could all be among the potential enhancements studied. Once the system is ready, Nair envisions clinical trials of a 100-subject group as the next logical step. “They are a fantastic team, extremely engaged,” says Stifelman. “This is an impressive student innovation, addressing a real patient need,” adds Hazelwood. “I couldn’t be prouder of their work on this.” Faculty-mentored student teams approach a variety of other medical problems as a required component of their Stevens senior-year curricula, as well. One team recently tackled the need for patients to self-administer small doses of oxygen quickly and portably in puffs, often in public spaces. The resulting product, a handheld device, holds the potential to assist panic attack sufferers and asthmatics who may be unable to tote cumbersome oxygen tanks. “We are always pleased to connect student ingenuity and passion with the needs of industry,” sums up Hazelwood. “Stevens has developed a special talent for building these bridges and helping ideate the next great innovations in these spaces, and Members of our NAI Student Chapter are instrumental in this.” 25

The Next Generation

Worcester Polytechnic Institute


In keeping with the project-based curriculum at N Worcester PolyVE TO N technic Institute (WPI), it is no wonder that the WPI student body is full of prolific inventors. During their senior year, students undertake a yearlong project, their Major Qualifying Project (MQP), which often results in novel intellectual property (IP) that students disclose to the Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) before presenting it publicly during poster presentation day. A majority of student disclosures relate to ongoing faculty research, although some students do file disclosures based on their own inventions. Each year faculty will have students continue work on previous inventions to further their research, add additional claims and move the invention(s) closer to commercialization. As a result, student patent disclosures are often with a group of students and faculty as the Principal Investigator. R






Over the past several years, at least 12 students, through their MQP, have worked with Professor Chris Brown on advancing research for his new athletic shoe technology that could prevent ACL tears and that will eventually go into a shoe for commercial applications. This past fall, among others, Julia Dunn ‘19 added her name to new disclosures related to Professors Brown’s work, entitled “Vertical Absorption System for Shoes, Boots, and its Integration with a Horizontal Absorption System.” Even more notable, Julia is included on three other disclosures, all with co-inventors and faculty PI’s. Julia’s other IP disclosures include “Waste Plastic Hydrocarbons For Metal Oxide Reduction,” “The Compact Retract for Treatment of Drop Foot” and “The Throwing Force Analysis.” Julia’s IP activity highlights what so many students at WPI do – invent new technologies with the goal of making an impact on the world. The ACL shoe technology, specifically, is based on a ‘SmartSpring’ system that Professor Brown has been working on for years and has applications to ski boots,

ski bindings and skates. The SmartSpring system works to transmit excessive forces away from knees and ankles resulting from movements that can cause injuries. With the increase in ACL injuries and associated costs, creating a new disruptive shoe technology could be transformative for the shoe industry, creating an opportunity to prevent ACL injuries. Prior to starting an NAI chapter at WPI, there was no official way to recognize students like Julia for the avid inventors they are. Since the WPI NAI chapter inception in 2016, WPI has recognized students as Honorary NAI Members when their invention disclosure results in a patent application with the USPTO. Including students in the WPI annual NAI event recognizes their hard work, sparks excitement and helps embed the concept that their work at WPI could actually get out into the world and help people. The enthusiasm and engagement of students has grown each year, from 11 students recognized in 2016 to 112 students in 2019 who were eligible to become honorary Members of the WPI chapter. WPI expects the trend to continue with even more student NAI honorees next year.

Including students in the WPI annual NAI event recognizes their hard work, sparks excitement and helps embed the concept that their work at WPI could actually get out into the world and help people.





From Our Sustaining Members




From our Sustaining Members

In 2018, Rittmann and colleague Professor Mark van Loosdrecht of Delft University of Technology were named laureates of the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize, presented annually by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). The award, which is given to promote excellent water achievements and inspire future water-wise action, was granted in recognition of the duo’s work employing microbiological-based technologies in water and wastewater treatment. Rittmann, who holds 15 patents related to his work, was recognized with a National Academy of Inventors Fellowship in 2017. One of his prominent inventions, the membrane biofilm reactor, uses naturally occurring microorganisms to remove contaminants such as perchlorate and trichloroethene from water and has been commercialized. A fellow of the International Water Association and American Association for the Advancement of Science, Rittmann is also a Member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. A highly cited researcher, Rittmann is the author Arizona State University of more than 650 peer-reviewed scientific papers. He also authored the textbook A leader in the field of environmental biotechnology, Professor “Environmental Biotechnology: Principles and Bruce Rittmann, Ph.D., FNAI, has devoted his career to pioneerApplications,” with fellow Stockholm Water ing new uses of naturally occurring microbes to benefit environPrize Laureate Perry McCarty. The textbook is used N mental and human health. His research has not only an enormous across the globe to illustrate the ways in which T O VA scope but also a wide-range of impact. microorganisms can improve environmental quality. Since joining Arizona State University (ASU) in 2005, Rittmann has served as the Prior to his time at ASU, Rittmann was a John director of the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at the Biodesign Evans Professor of Environmental Engineering Institute. Under his leadership, the Swette Center managat Northwestern es microbial communities to serve society, using bacteria University and a Rittmann’s research is and microbes to solve problems involving water, waste professor in the and energy. Rittmann is also a Regents’ Professor of creating novel ways to Department of Civil environmental engineering in the School of Sustainable Engineering at the harness microbial technologies Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the Ira A. University of Illinois Fulton Schools of Engineering. A Regents’ Professorship is at Urbana-Chamthe highest faculty honor awarded at Arizona State University. paign. His career as an environmental engineer Rittmann’s research is creating novel ways to harness microbial technologies began at Sverdrup & Parcell and Associates, Inc. to remove pollution from water, reduce wastewater treatment costs and Rittmann received his bachelor of science in civil energy consumption, and even recover chemicals and nutrients for recycling. He engineering and master of science in environmental has also advanced the use of anaerobic microbes to convert biomass to useful engineering degrees from Washington University energy forms and used photosynthetic bacteria to produce new biomass that can in St. Louis, and earned his Ph.D. in environmental be transformed into liquid fuels. engineering from Stanford University. O






Cutting-edge research at our nine Sustaining Member Institutions




Access to clean, safe water is among the most N critically important O VAT needs in human society. Dongye Zhao, Ph.D. has dedicated his professional career of more than 30 years to developing technologies to remediate contaminated water and soil. As a professor and the Elton Z. and Lois G. Huff Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering in Auburn University’s Department of Civil Engineering, Zhao and his team have


Zhao’s lab data show this technology to be effective in removing more than 99 percent of PHA contaminants from water

developed a number of patented pollutant remediation technologies. Their recent project, Photo-Regenerable Material for Remediation of Contaminated Water, has proven to be highly successful in the laboratory setting, and Zhao soon will be evaluating the technology in the field. Using a unique blend of photoactive nano-materials with a carbon base, Zhao’s technology can effectively and efficiently remove polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PHAs) from water that is contaminated by these

2018 2019

potentially harmful pollutants. PHAs are common organic pollutants of waterways. They are a byproduct from the burning of fossil fuels and have toxic and carcinogenic properties. Remediation of PHAs is a high priority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The novel photoactive absorbent material can be used in either the standard filtration setting or in a batch reactor. First, the target contaminants are absorbed and accumulated on the material surface. The contaminants then are broken down by exposure to UV rays or sunlight. Zhao’s lab data show this technology to be effective in removing more than 99 percent of PHA contaminants from water. Compared to existing technologies, such as activated carbon or ion exchange, it not only offers greater removal rate and capacity but nearly completely breaks down the contaminants. Moreover, the technology eliminates the need for chemical regenerant and thus produces no regeneration waste residual. Following photo-regeneration, the material can be reused and retains its capacity and activity for multiple applications, resulting in significant potential environmental and economic benefits. Zhao’s pollutant remediation research has resulted in seven provisional patent applications, five non-provisional patent applications and three issued patents for Auburn University.


From our Sustaining Members






Roger Laine, Ph.D., FNAI, is a professor of N biological sciences O VAT and biochemistry at Louisiana State University (LSU). His research interests are in glycobiology, the study of the biological function of complex saccharides, including structural characterization using mass spectrometry. The Minnesota native who credits most of his 31 U.S. patents to “funny” discoveries in his lab was also chair of the biochemistry department at LSU from 1983 to 1988. Most of Roger Laine’s patents relate to enzyme cloning, fungi staining, microbial diagnostics and insect attractants and repellants. He has founded many science-based companies throughout his career, including Citrazone for insect repellants and insecticides and TumorEnd for products to treat cancer. When elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

in 2018, Laine was recognized for patents in several areas of applied biochemistry and for outstanding entrepreneurship. He’s the fifth NAI Fellow from LSU. “I have one mantra,” Laine said. “Surround yourself with people who are better than you if you want to get ahead.” The commercial success of his companies and patent-based products has not detracted Laine from continuing his work with students and colleagues to pursue new discoveries. The cancer drug he’s currently developing, a polysaccharide that targets receptors on all known tumors, has been through a phase-one clinical trial in humans. A phaseone human trial is a safety trial that can only be done on stagefour cancer patients, but positive effects were observed in onethird of the patients treated with their drug, including one cure. They now have a phase-two trial underway on dogs with cancer

at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, and a phase-two human trial ready to go. A lot of Laine’s work has been on insect attractants and repellants, including nootkatone and cyclohexylamine. One of the most surprising discoveries Laine made in the lab happened as a student was counting termites and found the insects walking up and down a ballpoint pen line on a piece of paper. “I said, ‘What kind of pen is that?’,” Laine recalls. “And he said, ‘I don’t know.’ So, I said, ‘Go down and draw a line with all of your pens and throw a bunch of termites on there and see which line they’re drawn to.’ He came back with one pen and it was some kind of BIC pen. I said, ‘Go buy 200 of these.’” After extracting the ink, Laine and his team used a chromatography column to separate the different compounds. They then laid out more paper and made spots with each of the 80 fractions. Once the termites were let loose, they all walked over to one spot. The compound was identified by mass spectrometry as 2-phenoxyethanol, which led to another patent. “Most of the stuff that I have found in the lab, where we’ve had all this fun, has been from chance,” Laine said. “Just from noticing something that was different and then following up. The best thing I can hear a student say in the lab is, ‘Well, that’s funny…’”

“The best thing I can hear a student say in the lab is, ‘Well, that’s funny…’”

Elsa Hahne LSU Office of Research & Economic Development 225-578-4774 ehahne@lsu.edu

Cutting-edge research at our nine Sustaining Member Institutions





Miguel A. Modestino, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering (NYU Tandon). N He obtained a B.S and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the O VAT Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2007 and 2008) and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley (2013). From 2013 to 2016, he was a post-doctoral fellow at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland where he served as project manager for the Solar Hydrogen Integrated Nano-electrolysis (SHINE) project. He is the recipient of the 2016 Global Change Award from the H&M Foundation, 2017 MIT


2018 2019

Technology Review Innovators Under 35 Latin America Award and the 2018 ACS Petroleum Research Fund Doctoral New Investigator Award for his work on sustainable chemical manufacturing. Modestino’s research focuses on the development of electrochemical processes for the electrification of chemical synthesis and separations. Currently, the chemical industry is responsible for 26% of the world energy demand as it requires large amounts of fossil fuel-derived heat to drive thermochemical processes. In contrast, electrochemical processes can directly interconvert electricity from renewable energy sources into chemical compounds, resulting in significant reductions on CO2 emissions. Modestino’s earlier work on sustainable electrochemical manufacturing led to the development of the highest efficiency solar-driven hydrogen fuel generator based on silicon photovoltaics and cost-effective electrolysis components. At NYU Tandon, his group is now targeting electro synthetic processes for the production of organic chemicals, which account for more than 75% of industrial chemical products. Organic electrosynthesis processes can be used for the production of high-value sustainable materials such as adiponitrile (ADN), the main precursor to Nylon 6,6. This important electrochemical reaction was first developed by the Monsanto Company in the 1960s and has been practiced industrially ever since. Through the use of dynamic electrochemical pulses and artificial intelligence (AI), Modestino and Ph.D. student Daniela Blanco have developed a new electrochemical process for ADN production that increases the production rate by 30% and the selectivity towards the desired product by 325%. These improvements are among the most significant advances in organic electrosynthesis in the past 50 years. Together with NYU Tandon graduate Myriam Sbeiti (2018), who has assumed the role of the CEO of NYU spin-off company Sunthetics Inc., the team is working on the scaling up of the process and its integration with renewable energy sources, which could result in the annual reduction of 2.4 million tons of CO2 or 20% of the total emissions of Nylon manufacturing.


From our Sustaining Members






The use of radar to detect objects began in the N 1940s. Today, a O VAT Texas Tech University researcher is continuing research into radar, particularly in biomedical uses and in areas of beam forming, which could also increase the capacity of 5G communication and help self-driving cars avoid accidents.

Changzhi Li, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering at Texas Tech. He has been working with radar since he was a doctoral student in electrical engineering at the University of Florida. Li specializes in non-contact applications of radar. While he was in Florida, he worked with a team to develop a wireless baby monitor that uses radar to track the respiration of infants. When he came to Texas Tech in 2009, he led the development of miniature radar sensors which remotely read bio-signals without requiring any device on the body. Not only could these devices assist in detecting respiration problems associated with sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, but they can also detect sleep apnea without the need for an expensive sleep lab. Li’s team at Texas Tech has also found a way to track the location of tumors during cancer radiotherapy, which led to radiation beam control to follow a tumor in real-time. “The motion induced by respiration will also move a tumor,” Li explained. “That consequently reduces the treatment efficacy, as well as increases the harm to healthy tissue.” The Texas Tech engineering associate professor is also leading research into beam forming, which would allow individuals

to control the direction of the signal by electronic devices. If communications companies could send a signal in a specific direction rather than emitting cellular phone signals in all directions, they could increase the capacity of their systems. Before that can happen, the communications companies would have to know in which direction to send their signal, which can be determined by biomedical radar to pinpoint user location. “For radar, beamforming leads to higher angular resolution,” said Li. “If we can send out a very focused beam to one direction, we can detect what is going on over there, and then we can scan the beam to different directions. Thus we can construct a big picture of the space in front of our radar, and we call this 3D radar.” That same technology could be used for self-driving cars to avoid accidents. Compared with LiDAR, a 3D map-making technology that stands for Light Detection and Ranging, radar could offer a lower cost advantage. Li relies on help from his students at Texas Tech and talks with them daily when he is not traveling. “Actually they are the most important part of research. I really appreciate the opportunity to work with those students,” he said.

Cutting-edge research at our nine Sustaining Member Institutions


2018 2019

compared to days and sometimes weeks of computer and manual counting. It also tracks and analyzes hundreds of individuals moving in dense crowds to predict dangerous pileups or spot suspicious behavior, saving many lives yearly. The software was used to count Catalonian pro-independent demonstrators in Spain in 2015 and 2016. Saudi Arabian officials have licensed this technology to monitor crowds during the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, to prevent a fatal stampede like the one that occurred in 2015 due to a crowd bottleneck. The deep learning AI could even alert authorities to the suspicious behavior of individuals in crowds to prevent attacks such as the Boston Marathon bombing. Shah is a University Trustee Chair Professor and holds appointments as professor of Computer Science and Mathematics. He previously served as the assistant vice president for research (2005 – 2006), and vice provost and interim dean of the College of Graduate Studies (2015-2016). Shah is among the top 100 computer science researchers in the world with an h-index of more than 100 and more than 50,000 citations. He is a Fellow of IEEE, AAAS, IAPR and SPIE. Shah has supervised 45 Ph.D. theses to completion. Several of his Ph.D. graduates occupy University of Central Florida leadership positions at tech giants such as Facebook, Apple, Amazon Twitch and Synaptics. His computer vision course on YouTube has received more than Professor Mubarak Shah, Ph.D., is a pioneer of automated one million views. video analysis, one of the most active areas of computer Shah has seven U.S. issued patents and has vision research. He is most known for his seminal work on received more than N human action recognition in surO VAT $20 million in exterveillance videos and the series of nal research grants. He UCF human action datasets that have become “This is the most exciting time serves as a Member of research benchmarks. for computer vision research the technical advisory When he arrived at UCF in 1986, Shah singleduring my more than three board of two start-up handedly established the computer vision curricudecades of work in this area.” companies, Sighthound lum to study the science of electronically acquiring, and Saikou Optics, and analyzing and understanding images using computers his technology has been in ways superior to the human brain. In 2012, UCF appointed him as director of licensed by Kairos, a leading AI facial recognition the newly established Center for Research in Computer Vision, the first of its kind software company. in the U.S., which is ranked among the top 10 programs in the nation. Shah reflects, “This is the most exciting time for Shah’s research includes video surveillance, visual tracking, human computer vision research during my more than three activity recognition, visual analysis of crowded scenes, video registration and UAV decades of work in this area. Due to deep learning video analysis. His team launched the world’s first automated high-density crowd disruption, we are now able to solve problems that I counting method. This breakthrough in artificial intelligence (AI) computes the never imagined we would solve 10 years ago.” size of crowds as large as hundreds of thousands in a less than a minute as O





From our Sustaining Members






University of Florida researcher William Hauswirth, Ph.D., has spent decades working to bring sight to patients with genetic forms of vision loss. N That effort was rewarded in December 2017 when a gene T O VA therapy he helped develop to treat an eye disease that causes severe vision loss won final approval from U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulators. The treatment, known as Luxturna and brought to market by a Philadelphia-based pharmaceutical company called Spark Therapeutics, uses a gene delivery process that originated at UF with Hauswirth, an ophthalmology professor in the College of Medicine, part of UF Health. Luxturna is being used to treat Leber congenital amaurosis type 2, or LCA 2, which is caused by a genetic defect. Hauswirth developed the treatment technique, which uses a harmless virus to deliver a functional copy of a crucial, sight-saving gene to the retina. A subsequent collaboration as well as other research work at the University of Pennsylvania brought the treatment to the public. Hauswirth’s work on the gene therapy that would become Luxturna began in the late 1990s, when he learned about a group of dogs at Penn

with the genetic mutation that causes LCA 2. He supplied the gene-delivery vehicle – known as an adeno-associated virus vector, or AAV – to the Penn researchers. One of the dogs, a Briard named Lancelot, was born blind but had his sight restored with the gene therapy in 2001. The vector was ultimately tweaked several times by the Penn researchers and further developed by Spark Therapeutics before winning regulators’ approval. An estimated 4,000 people in the United States and Europe have LCA 2, which affects specialized light- and color-detecting tissue in the back of the eye. The gene therapy works by injecting a virus containing a functional copy of the RPE65 gene into the retina’s remaining live cells. That gene, in turn, makes a protein that is essential for normal vision. During trials in humans, Hauswirth and a Penn collaborator found that the treatment improved patients’ vision by about 40,000-fold. “What was really interesting is that almost all of the patients showed quantifiable improvements in vision,” he said. “I’ve been able to see things I’ve never seen before, like stars, fireworks and even the moon,” Christian Guardino of Long Island, NY, testified at an FDA committee hearing. While the treatment is not permanent — most patients regressed to their original vision state after about six years — Hauswirth considers it a success because the disease is progressive. If those patients had not received the gene therapy, their subnormal vision would have continued its unstoppable decline, he said. The therapy also provides improved light sensitivity — the ability to see in much dimmer light — and can likely be repeated or used in a patient’s other eye as the effects of the original treatment wear off, Hauswirth added. Hauswirth is also working on AAV vectors for five other gene therapies to treat different genetic forms of blindness. Those therapies have restored vision in animal models and are currently undergoing human clinical trials. Corresponding author: Doug Bennett


Cutting-edge research at our nine Sustaining Member Institutions

2018 2019





Robert “Bob” Wilhelm, Ph.D., FNAI, vice N chancellor for O VAT research and economic development at the University of NebraskaLincoln and Kate Foster Professor of Mechanical and Materials engineering has built his career on his expertise as an engineer and inventor. Now he is leveraging that experience to grow university research and broaden economic development efforts, a challenge he is tackling with enthusiasm at Nebraska. Prior to joining Nebraska in 2018, Wilhelm served as vice chancellor for research and economic development at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte from 2011 to 2018. Before making a career change to higher education, Wilhelm was an engineer with Cincinnati Milacron and Rockwell Science Center. “I’ve been lucky to work in many engineering domains, from large-scale structures like Navy ships and the space shuttle to very precise instruments and machines,” Wilhelm said.

An expert in precision engineering, Wilhelm holds three patents for technologies in distinct areas: precision metrology, machining thin wall structures and additive manufacturing. Dedicated to building the next generation of innovators, he included students on two of his three patents. “I think my second patent, which in the 1990s was the basis for our company, Opsource, has had the most impact,” Wilhelm said. The invention delivered a new way to manufacture complex thin metal structures still widely used today in aerospace, structural elements in aircraft,

“I’m proud to be included in the circle of NAI Fellows that includes friends, UNL faculty and alumni and very high achievers,”

consumer electronics and the auto industry, he said. Wilhelm received a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award in 1994 and was named a fellow of the International Academy for Production Engineering in 2013. He was awarded more than $6 million in peerreviewed competitive research funding between 1993 and 2009, working with companies like Caterpillar and DaimlerChrysler on virtual manufacturing and software frameworks for integrated measurement processes. At UNC Charlotte, Wilhelm established himself as a leader in bridging the gap between industry and academia. He spearheaded the effort to build the university’s Partnership, Outreach and Research to Accelerate Learning (PORTAL) facility, designed to stimulate innovation, business growth and job creation while supporting research. He brought that experience to Nebraska Innovation Campus, where he serves on the board of the public-private innovation hub where companies and university researchers work side by side.

He also assisted with the founding of six National Science Foundation industry-university cooperative research centers at UNC Charlotte, and developed focus areas for large-scale research and academic programs in data science-business analytics, energy, advanced manufacturing, biomedical research and bioinformatics. Wilhelm is a fellow of the International Academy for Production Engineering and has served on many boards, including the North Carolina Board of Science, Technology and Innovation; the North Carolina Biotechnology Center; Ventureprise; Nebraska Innovation Campus; the National Strategic Research Institute; and NUtech Ventures. “I’m proud to be included in the circle of NAI Fellows that includes friends, UNL faculty and alumni and very high achievers,” Wilhelm said. “Recognition by NAI is an honor for both me and the university. We have had great success and impact with our work, and I plan to make an even bigger difference in years ahead.”


From our Sustaining Members






The next miracle plant may be a common cactus that thrives in the desert - or perhaps in your backyard. Easily recognizable by its large flat green pads, or nopales, and the bright red fruits, called tunas, the N O VAT prickly pear cactus manufactures a specific type of mucilage that has uses ranging from water purification to a natural disbursement for oil spills. In the last decade, the use of natural materials has become an interesting approach for the efficient removal of contaminants from water. Norma Alcantar, Ph.D., SMNAI, and her team at the University of South Florida (USF) have developed a method that includes the extraction and utilization of natural materials from cactus plants capable of flocculating and dispersing pollutants from water. The cactus mucilage is extracted from the gooey liquid contained in the cactus pads. Most of the Opuntia cacti can produce this substance. The mucilage is a combination of sugars and carbohydrates, which gives the cactus plant the ability to store water. Alcantar and her group have worked on a comprehensive approach of how the Opuntia ficus-indica plants (prickly pear cacti) can be used to remove contaminants from water. The removal of heavy metals, radioactive isotopes,

sediments, organic compounds and bacteria from water has been investigated and optimized. The hydrophilic and hydrophobic structures (i.e., water-loving and water-hating) of the sugar molecules in cactus mucilage cause their net-like fishing nanostructure to floc water contaminants, making them easy to remove because they either sink or float in the water column. The USF researchers also discovered that depending on the contaminant concentration, mucilage concentration, and water conditions, the efficiency in removing contaminants from natural and industrial water sources can be enhanced. They used different parameters such as flocculation rates, turbidity, contaminant concentration, and removal rates to characterize how cactus mucilage can produce clean drinking water. Alcantar and her team have also investigated the intrinsic composition and mechanisms responsible for the intermolecular forces that influence the efficiencies of contaminants removal and the dispersion of hydrocarbons from crude oil spills situations. A new research direction in the group involves creating new materials with the cactus mucilage extracts. Consequently, cactus mucilage can be manufactured into nanofibers to produce biodegradable new textile materials and scaffolds for tissue engineering. The team has created thin coatings with cactus mucilage capable of responding to external stimuli for smart applications such as cell receptors, cell separators and responsive hydrogels. Furthermore, other coatings with similar structures and properties to the cactus protective outer-skin are being studied to create robust and reflective protective layers. In terms of potential applications in biomedical engineering, Alcantar’s team is studying the implementation of cactus mucilage to prevent the aggregation of protein plaques similar to those found in neurogenerative diseases. This is a technology that has been found to be viable because it utilizes a material that can be obtained through sustained agriculture. It grows in arid environments, and it is readily abundant. The cactus has several advantages because it is non-toxic and completely biodegradable. Moreover, it is edible by humans and other mammals and poses no threat to ocean environments or aquatic life.

Inaugural Class of NAI Senior Members


2018 2019

M. Khairul Alam, Ohio University

Dominic D’Agostino, University of South Florida

Darren Johnson, University of Oregon

Dandina N. Rao, Louisiana State University

Norma Alcantar, University of South Florida

Harbans Singh Dhadwal, Stony Brook University

Michael Khonsari, Louisiana State University

Kyle Reed, University of South Florida

David Allee, Arizona State University

Christos Dimitrakopoulos, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Jeffrey Laskin, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

R. Michael Roberts, University of Missouri, Columbia

Wadad Dubbelday, Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific

Yanbin Li, University of Arkansas

Stephen Safe, Texas A&M University

Jianming Liang, Arizona State University

Hady Salloum, Stevens Institute of Technology

Duncan Maitland, Texas A&M University

Wei-Chuan Shih, University of Houston

Richard B. Miles, Texas A&M University

Wayne Shiroma, The University of Hawai’i

Subhra Mohapatra, University of South Florida

Andrew Stuart, East Carolina University

Thomas J. Nosker, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Hongmin Sun, University of Missouri, Columbia

Keith Paulsen, Dartmouth College

Paul Swanson, Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific

Supriyo Bandyopadhyay, Virginia Commonwealth University Sagnik Basuray, New Jersey Institute of Technology

Michael J. Escuti, North Carolina State University

Mark Benden, Texas A&M University

Zhaoyang Fan, Texas Tech University

Irving Boime, Washington University in St. Louis

Robert (Bob) Farrauto, Columbia University

Ardeshir (Adi) Bulsara, Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific George Burba, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Gregory S. Fischer, Worcester Polytechnic Institute Swaroop Ghosh, The Pennsylvania State University

Eric W. Burger, Georgetown University

Noel Giebink, The Pennsylvania State University

Bertrand Francis Cambou, Northern Arizona University

Richard H. Gomer, Texas A&M University

Changyi (Johnny) Chen, Baylor College of Medicine

David Gozal, University of Missouri, Columbia

Shafiqul Chowdhury, Louisiana State University Rongming Chu, The Pennsylvania State University Mark S.F. Clarke, University of Houston Douglas F. Covey, Washington University in St. Louis

Jaime Grunlan, Texas A&M University Sidney M. Hecht, Arizona State University William E. Higgins, The Pennsylvania State University Alex Hills, Carnegie Mellon University Shuliang Jiao, Florida International University

Patrick Pinhero, University of Missouri, Columbia

Nongjian Tao, Arizona State University

Gregory Pottie, University of California, Los Angeles

Yonhua Tzeng, National Cheng Kung University

Samuel Prien, Texas Tech Health Sciences Center

Kenji Uchino, The Pennsylvania State University

Joanna Ptasinski, Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific

Ben Ward, Virginia Commonwealth University

Jeffrey Pyun, The University of Arizona

Jon A. Weidanz, The University of Texas at Arlington

Hamid Rahai, California State University, Long Beach

Douglas H. Werner, The Pennsylvania State University


2018 Class of NAI Fellows

Seth Y. Ablordeppey, Florida A&M University

Susan J. Baserga, Yale University

Young I. Cho, Drexel University

Rafi Ahmed, Emory University

Rashid Bashir, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Sang H. Choi, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Frank S. Bates, University of Minnesota

Chih-Chang (C.C.) Chu, Cornell University

J. Michael Bishop, University of California, San Francisco

Walter G. Copan, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Elizabeth H. Blackburn, University of California, San Francisco

Mark Cushman, Purdue University

Pulickel M. Ajayan, Rice University Rod Alferness, University of California, Santa Barbara Emad S. Alnemri, Thomas Jefferson University Hal S. Alper, The University of Texas at Austin Evelina Angov, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research Bernard P. Arulanandam, The University of Texas at San Antonio Stephen F. Badylak, McGowen Institute for Regenerative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Harrison H. Barrett, The University of Arizona Mark A. Barteau, Texas A&M University Jacqueline K. Barton, California Institute of Technology


Sylvia M. Blankenship, North Carolina State University

Karl Deisseroth, Stanford University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Robert E. Burrell, University of Alberta

Calum John Drummond, RMIT University

Ahmed A. Busnaina, Northeastern University

Lawrence T. Drzal, Michigan State University

Yihai Cao, Karolinska Institutet

Igor R. Efimov, The George Washington University

Federico Capasso, Harvard University Ni-Bin Chang, University of Central Florida Constance J. ChangHasnain, University of California, Berkeley Russell R. Chianelli, The University of Texas at El Paso

Alan Finkel, Monash University, Australia’s Chief Scientist Jessica Fridrich, Binghamton University Elaine Fuchs, The Rockefeller University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Judy Genshaft, University of South Florida Durham Kenimer Giles, University of California, Davis George T. Gillies, University of Virginia Jay R. Goldberg, Marquette University, Medical College of Wisconsin Jeffrey I. Gordon, Washington University in St. Louis

Hesham El Gamal, The Ohio State University

Craig Gotsman, New Jersey Institute of Technology

Mary K. Estes, Baylor College of Medicine

Linda Gay Griffith, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Omid Farokhzad, Harvard Medical School

John L. Hall, University of Colorado Boulder

Mauro Ferrari, University of St. Thomas


Tayyaba Hasan, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School Gary M. Hieftje, Indiana University M. Cynthia Hipwell, Texas A&M University Dean Ho, National University of Singapore Peter Høj, The University of Queensland Robert A. Holton, Florida State University

Hongxing Jiang, Texas Tech University

Roger A. Laine, Louisiana State University

Jingyue Ju, Columbia University

Edmond J. LaVoie, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Kenneth Kaushansky, Stony Brook University Pradeep K. Khosla, University of California, San Diego Robert P. Kimberly, The University of Alabama at Birmingham Joseph Kloepper, Auburn University Thomas L. Koch, The University of Arizona

Susan Band Horwitz, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Philip G. Koehler, University of Florida

Matthew A. Howard, III, University of Iowa

Jindřich Kopeček, The University of Utah

(Alex) Qin Huang, The University of Texas at Austin

Sally Kornbluth, Duke University

Shu-Yuen Ron Hui, The University of Hong Kong, Imperial College London Bahram Javidi, University of Connecticut Quanxi Jia, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

William J. Koros, Georgia Institute of Technology Adrian R. Krainer, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Tei-Wei Kuo, National Taiwan University Joshua LaBaer, Arizona State University

Abraham P. Lee, University of California, Irvine Anna M. Leese de Escobar, Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific

2018 2019

Muriel Médard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Ellis Meng, University of Southern California Joachim Messing, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Lalit K. Mestha, The University of Texas at Arlington

Warren J. Leonard, National Institutes of Health

Lyle R. Middendorf, University of Nebraska Lincoln

Johannes A. Lercher, Technische Universität München, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Shaker A. Mousa, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Science

Teik C. Lim, The University of Texas at Arlington

William L. Murphy, University of WisconsinMadison

Craig W. Lindsley, Vanderbilt University

William P. Murphy, Jr., Florida International University

Elizabeth G. Loboa, University of Missouri, Columbia

Prakash Nagarkatti, University of South Carolina

Ted Maddess, Australian National University

Nathan Newman, Arizona State University

Elizabeth M. McNally, Northwestern University

Bert W. O’Malley, Baylor College of Medicine


2018 Class of NAI Fellows (Cont’d.)

Aydogan Ozcan, University of California, Los Angeles Muthukumaran Packirisamy, Concordia University Drew M. Pardoll, Johns Hopkins University

Samuel I. Stupp, Northwestern University

Rahul Sarpeshkar, Dartmouth College

K.P. (Suba) Subbalakshmi, Stevens Institute of Technology

Steven J. Sasson, University of South Florida Christine E. Schmidt, University of Florida

Bruce A. Sullenger, Duke University Jing Sun, University of Michigan

Albert Z. H. Wang, University of California, Riverside Michael S. Waterman, University of Southern California Alan W. Weimer, University of Colorado Boulder

Roderic I. Pettigrew, Texas A&M University, Houston Methodist Hospital

Zheng John Shen, Illinois Institute of Technology

Apparao M. Rao, Clemson University

Thomas Shenk, Princeton University

Yu Sun, University of Toronto

Robert G. Wilhelm, University of NebraskaLincoln

Theodore Scott Rappaport, New York University

Mark B. Shiflett, The University of Kansas

Wanchun Tang, Virginia Commonwealth University

Yushan Yan, University of Delaware

Xiuzhi Susan Sun, Kansas State University

Leo Rafael Reif, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Michael L. Simpson, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Joshua Rokach, Florida Institute of Technology

Koji Sode, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Bhavani Thuraisingham, The University of Texas at Dallas

Yoram Rudy, Washington University in St. Louis

Costas M. Soukoulis, Iowa State University, Ames Laboratory

David A. Tirrell, California Institute of Technology

Wheeler Ruml, University of New Hampshire

John Spirk, Cleveland Clinic

Don M. Tucker, University of Oregon

Gary Stacey, University of Missouri, Columbia

Jeffrey S. Vitter, The University of Mississippi

F. William Studier, Brookhaven National Laboratory

Israel E. Wachs, Lehigh University

Thomas P. Russell, University of Massachusetts Amherst Jagannathan Sarangapani, Missouri University of Science and Technology


Vinod Sarin, Boston University

Susan S. Taylor, University of California, San Diego

Louis M. Weiner, Georgetown University

Eui-Hyeok (EH) Yang, Stevens Institute of Technology Jian Yang, The Pennsylvania State University Mark H. Yim, University of Pennsylvania Michael J. Yost, Medical University of South Carolina James M. Zavislan, University of Rochester Ruiwen Zhang, University of Houston Huda Y. Zoghbi, Baylor College of Medicine


2018 2019

COLLABORATORS The NAI is proud to work alongside organizations that understand the importance of recognizing academic innovation.


“You have to instill curiosity in things. It requires you to lead others and take a chance.” STEVEN J. SASSON, FNAI I N V E N T O R O F T H E D I G I TA L C A M E R A

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF INVENTORS 3702 Spectrum Blvd., Suite 185 Tampa, FL 33612-9445 USA EMAIL: info@academyofinventors.org WEB: www.academyofinventors.org PHONE: +1-813-974-4438

Profile for National Academy of Inventors

NAI Annual Activities Report 2018-2019  

NAI Annual Activities Report 2018-2019