Two Penn Professors Named National Academy of Inventors Fellows

Professors James Eberwine, of the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and Shu Yang, of Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, have been named Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors.

Election to NAI Fellow status is a high professional distinction accorded 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.

James Eberwine is the Elmer Holmes Bobst Professor of Systems Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and co-director of the Penn Program in Single Cell Biology. He is a molecular neurobiologist whose research focuses on understanding the function of individual neurons and subregions of neurons, called dendrites, by using molecular biological tools. His lab has developed analytical procedures to characterize the mRNA and proteins present in single cells. This basic biomedical research has implications for studying brain function and such neurodegenerative diseases as Alzheimer’s and ALS.

Shu Yang is a professor in Penn Engineering’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Her work is focused on developing new materials with unique structures and functionalities inspired by biology. Her interest in self-assembled nanostructures and the self-organization process at surfaces and interfaces have several applications, including a colored or transparent superhydrophobic coating inspired by lotus leaves and butterfly wings, as well as solar energy collectors inspired by photosymbiotic giant clams.

Eberwine and Yang will be inducted on March 20, 2015, as part of the 4th Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. United States Patent and Trademark Office Deputy Commissioner for Patent Operations Andrew Faile will be providing the keynote address for the induction ceremony. Fellows will be presented with a trophy, medal and rosette pin in honor of their accomplishments.

The academic inventors and innovators elected to the rank of NAI Fellow 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.

The 2014 NAI Fellows Selection Committee comprises 17 members, including NAI Fellows, recipients of U.S. National Medals, National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees, members of the National Academies and senior officials from the USPTO, Association of American Universities, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Association of University Technology Managers and National Inventors Hall of Fame.

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