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Three Faculty Members Named Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors

December 16th, 2015

Story Contact: Jeff Sossamon, 573-882-3346,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Three faculty members from the University of Missouri have been named fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). They join 168 other distinguished scientists who have been awarded this honor this year. Election to NAI Fellow status is a high professional distinction bestowed upon academic inventors who have demonstrated a 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. The MU faculty members are:

  • Gabor Forgacs, Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy and the George H. Vineyard Professor of Bioengineering – for his research in cell and developmental biology and meat proteins used for food as well as his work using modified ink-jet printers to produce human tissues and organs such as nerve cells. His methods could be implemented in countries suffering from war, famine or overpopulation and can be used to serve as nerve grafts for damaged and severed nerves.
  • Shubhra Gangopadhyay, the LaPierre Chair and Joint Professor of Electrical Engineering, Biological Engineering and Physics – for her work in engineering advanced methods and processes for analyzing DNA sequences used in medical studies. Her inventions make the process of studying DNA more mobile and portable, giving greater flexibility and faster analysis in the field.
  • Frederick Hawthorne, Curators Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Radiology and director of the MU International Institute of Nano and Molecular Medicine – for his research and work in the creation of boron cluster compounds, which may be useful in targeting tumor cells for drug delivery and imaging as well as MRI applications for the diagnosis of and therapy for disease.

“These remarkable individuals, all of whom are members of our faculty, have made outstanding and innovative contributions to many fields,” MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley said. “These esteemed researchers help enhance the visibility of the university while mentoring the next generation of undergraduates and graduates and help improve the lives of citizens in our state, region, nation and the world.”

Forgacs’, Gangopadhyay’s and Hawthorne’s research showcases the role the University of Missouri plays in economic development for the state. The MU Office of Economic Development works to build strategic collaborations to grow research and service contracts; enhance internships, experiential learning opportunities and job placements; explore collaborations for new funding opportunities; and accelerate entrepreneurship and commercialization to advance the growth of local, state and regional economies.

“The acknowledgement of these individuals’ life-long work shows the community that research at MU is relevant to people’s lives,” said Chris Fender, director of the Office of Technology Management and Industry Relations. “I’m proud of our role in facilitating the commercialization of technologies into the marketplace, where these outstanding researchers truly can impact society.”

Included among all NAI Fellows are more than 80 presidents and senior leaders of research universities and non-profit research institutes, 310 members of other National Academies (NAS, NAE, NAM), 27 inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame and 27 Nobel Laureates.

The NAI Fellows will be inducted on April 15, 2016, as part of the Fifth Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Alexandria, Va. Fellows will be presented with a special trophy, medal and rosette pin in honor of their outstanding accomplishments.