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Professors Named Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors

Professors Named Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors

George Georgiou and Jonathan L. Sessler, professors in the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin, have been named Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors.

Election to the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) fellow status is a "professional distinction given to renowned 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," according to the academy.

The 168 individuals named this week also included Thomas Milner of the Cockrell School of Engineering. The latest additions bring the total number of NAI fellows to 582, representing more than 190 prestigious research universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutions. The 2015 fellows account for more than 5,300 issued U.S. patents, bringing the collective patents held by all NAI fellows to more than 20,000.

George Georgiou is a professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences and in the Cockrell School of Engineering's McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering and Department of Biomedical Engineering. His research is focused on the discovery and preclinical development of antibody and enzyme therapeutics, the development of tools for the understanding of serological and B cell antibody repertoire and on the high-resolution evaluation of humoral responses to vaccines for seasonal influenza and other diseases. Georgiou is a member the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has co-authored more than 230 referred publications and holds 82 issued and pending U.S. patents. Georgiou founded oGGMJD LLC in 1999, Aeglea Biotherapeutics in 2013 and Kyn Therapeutics in 2015. In 2014, Georgiou was named UT Austin's Inventor of the Year. In 2013, Georgiou was named one of the top 20 translational researchers by Nature Biotechnology.

Jonathan L. Sessler, who holds the Roland K. Pettit Centennial Chair in Chemistry in the College of Natural Sciences, developed a class of experimental drugs called texaphyrins that target cancerous tumors. Sessler's innovation was at the heart of the pharmaceutical research company he co-founded, Pharmacyclics Inc., which was purchased earlier this year for $21 billion. Sessler is the inventor of record on 75 U.S.-issued patents. He is the author or co-author of more than 620 research publications and two books. Sessler, who joined the Department of Chemistry faculty in 1984 and is himself a two-time cancer survivor, is now leading a research team at UT Austin in the development of a new compound to fight ovarian cancer. 

Sessler, Georgiou, and Milner join three other UT Austin faculty in engineering who are NAI fellows. The NAI fellows will be formally 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 in Alexandria, Virginia.

​Adapted and cross-posted from UT News.

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