The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Fellows Program highlights inventors who demonstrate a “prolific spirit of innovation.”
This year’s picks from Washington University in St. Louis are nothing if not prolific.
Between them, Yoram Rudy, of the School of Engineering & Applied Science, and Jeffrey I. Gordon, MD, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, have published nearly 780 papers in peer-reviewed journals and hold more than 30 patents.
Last year, three faculty members were inducted into the NAI. Other NAI fellows at Washington University include Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton, Provost Holden Thorp and Jennifer K. Lodge, vice chancellor for research.
Gordon and Rudy will join the more than 145 new fellows in April when they will be inducted officially at a ceremony to be held at the Eighth NAI Annual Meeting in Houston.
Jeffrey I. Gordon
Gordon is widely viewed as the founder of the field of human microbiome research. He has played a pioneering role in breaking down the barriers that stood in the way of understanding how the tens of trillions of microbes that live in our gut function. His research team has led the field in designing ways to understand how microbial communities assemble following birth; how microbes interact with one another; and how they work together to influence our biological features. His impact is evident in microbiome projects worldwide, in biotech/pharma, and in his students, many of whom have become leaders in the field.
Gordon’s research encompasses adults with obesity in Western societies and malnourished infants and children in low-income countries. He and his international collaborators have shown that children suffering from malnutrition possess gut microbial communities that fail to assemble normally, resulting in gut microbiomes that appear younger and more immature than those of healthy children. Current therapeutic foods do not repair this immaturity or overcome the long-term effects of malnutrition, including stunted growth, impaired brain development and poor immune function.
Discoveries in his lab have catalyzed efforts by his team to develop new microbiome-directed foods designed to repair microbiome immaturity and the manifestations of malnutrition, as well as to help ensure healthy development of gut microbial communities. These foods currently are being evaluated in clinical studies in Bangladesh. He holds 23 U.S. patents and one foreign patent.
Gordon, the Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor, earned his bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and his medical degree from the University of Chicago. After completing clinical training in internal medicine and gastroenterology and a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, he joined the Washington University faculty in 1981 — first as a member of the Departments of Medicine and Biological Chemistry, then as head of the Department of Molecular Biology and Pharmacology. Since 2004, he has served as founding director of the university’s interdepartmental, interdisciplinary Edison Family Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology.
He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine and the American Philosophical Society. Recent awards include the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize and the Royal Society’s Copley Medal.
Rudy’s inventions have changed the way cardiologists measure deadly irregular heartbeats. His labs noninvasive, painless cardiac imaging technology, electrocardiographic imaging (ECGI), led to the CardioInsightTM device and related technologies. Together, these innovations work to provide more detailed heart rhythm information than standard lead EKGs without the need for — or risks associated with — catheter placement.
In 2015, Medtronic acquired CardioInsight Technologies, Inc, a non-invasive cardiac electrical mapping system that has the potential to enable better patient outcomes and reduce the cost of delivery of care by improving diagnosis, evaluation and personalized treatment planning for patients with cardiac arrhythmias. The CardioInsight Mapping Vest captures cardiac electrophysiological data non-invasively from a patient, and the CardioInsight Workstation combines CT scan data with data from the vest to create personalized, 3-D cardiac maps.
Rudy is the Fred Saigh Distinguished Professor of Engineering and also a professor of biomedical engineering at the School of Engineering & Applied Science. He also holds appointments in medicine, cell biology & physiology, radiology and pediatrics at the School of Medicine. Beyond his teaching duties, he serves as the director of the Cardiac Bioelectricity and Arrhythmia Center.
After earning a master’s degree in physics from the Technion in Haifa, Israel, Rudy went on to study medicine and then earn a PhD in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University.
In 2004, he joined Washington University. He has been a visiting professor in computational medicine at Oxford University since 2014.
Rudy holds eight patents, and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering of the United States of America. He has received numerous awards for his innovations, including the National Institutes of Health Merit Award, the Biomedical Engineering Society Distinguished Lectureship Award, and the Heart Rhythm Society Distinguished Scientist Award.