Three U-M researchers have been named fellows of the National Academy of Inventors.
Election as an NAI fellow is a professional distinction given to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.
U-M researchers named NAI fellows are:
• Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan, professor of pathology and urology at the Medical School and director of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology. Chinnaiyan is a Comprehensive Cancer Center member and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.
His research has led to 18 issued patents and more than 30 pending U.S. patent applications stemming from more than 75 new inventions. These technologies have been licensed to startup companies he co-founded, such as OncoFusion Therapeutics, Compendia Bioscience (now part of Thermo Fisher) and Armune Bioscience, and existing companies Hologic and GenomeDx.
• Stephen Forrest, former vice president for research and a professor of electrical engineering and computer science. His research focuses on thin film optical devices for solar cells, displays and lighting.
Forrest has helped start five companies: Epitaxx (purchased by JDSU), Sensors Unlimited (purchased by Goodrich), Universal Display Corp. (traded as OLED on NASDAQ), Global Photonic Energy Corp. (now NanoFlex Power Corp.) and ASIP Inc. (now part of Avago Technologies). He is an inventor on more than 260 U.S. issued patents, with many more patent applications pending.
• Shaomeng Wang, professor of internal medicine and pharmacology at the Medical School, and professor of medicinal chemistry at the College of Pharmacy. He also serves as co-director of the molecular therapeutics program at the Comprehensive Cancer Center and directs the Cancer Drug Discovery Program.
Wang is an inventor on 38 issued U.S. patents and several pending patent applications, many of which have been licensed to three startup companies: Ascenta Therapeutics, Ascentage Pharma and OncoFusion Therapeutics, which Wang co-founded.
“We are very pleased to have these three inventors added to the list of NAI fellows,” said Robin Rasor, managing director of licensing at U-M Tech Transfer, who nominated them.
“Their research and entrepreneurial activities serve as excellent examples of the work being done at the University of Michigan to bring new products and technologies out of the lab for the benefit of the public.”
There are now 414 NAI fellows, representing more than 150 prestigious research universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutions. The new fellows will be inducted March 20, 2015, at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif.
Those elected as NAI fellows are named inventors on U.S. patents and were nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation.