NAI Fellows

Washington University celebrates faculty inventors

Over the past three years, Washington University faculty patent filings through the Office of Technology Management (OTM) increased by more than 60 percent and 20 startups have been formed to license Washington University intellectual property.  In 2017, 92 faculty inventors received an issued patent and, for the first time in the history of the office, it received more than 200 invention disclosures. This year, three faculty members were named National Academy of Inventors (NAI) fellows.

Impressive, yes, but there was one thing OTM had not done – until now.

At a ceremony featuring Mayor Lyda Krewson and Washington University leaders, OTM Managing Director Nichole Mercier did something she’d wanted to do since joining the office: Celebrated the faculty inventors who are the foundation of the office and all that it does.

Representatives from WashU startups pose for a picture
Representatives from WashU startup companies.
Photo by Sid Hastings / Washington University

The first Celebration of Inventors featured not only Mayor Krewson, who said St. Louis was “ahead of the game” thanks to its robust healthcare and startup environment, but also the university’s own innovation leaders. Chancellor Mark Wrighton, Provost Holden Thorp, and Vice Chancellor for Research Jennifer Lodge are also NAI Fellows, (along with former biology professor Mary-Dell Chilton, namesake of the Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor in Arts & Sciences, who was not in attendance).

Vice Chancellor for Operations & Tech Transfer Dedric Carter, opened the ceremony.

The three inductees to the National Academy of Inventors are:

  • David Holtzman, MD, the Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor and head of the Department of Neurology. Holtzman holds 10 U.S. patents and 186 foreign patents. He has license agreements with 12 companies and is the co-founder of C2N Diagnostics.
  • Neurosurgeon Eric C. Leuthardt, MD, a professor of neurosurgery, of biomedical engineering, of neuroscience, and of mechanical engineering and material sciences, has 566 issued U.S. patents and more than 1,150 pending patents. He has license agreements with three companies and is a founder of Neurolutions, Immunovalent, and OsteoVantage.
  • Samuel Achilefu is the Michel M. Ter-Pogossian Professor of Radiology. He serves as chief of the Optical Radiology Laboratory and director of the Washington University Molecular Imaging Center, and is also a professor of medicine, biochemistry and molecular biophysics, and of biomedical engineering. He led a team that developed the “cancer goggles” technology and is listed as an inventor on 57 U.S. patents and has a license agreement with one company.