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Faculty receive prestigious honor from National Academy of Inventors

Faculty receive prestigious honor from National Academy of Inventors

FEBRUARY 12, 2021 — UTSA is home to exceptional professors and researchers who solve the world’s grand challenges. That commitment to research excellence was recognized by the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), who named four UTSA professors to its prestigious Senior Member designation. They are among 61 academic inventors selected for this honor.

Representing UTSA for the latest NAI Senior Member class are: Doug E. Frantz, Max and Minnie Tomerlin-Voelcker Distinguished Chair in Chemistry; Stanton F. McHardy, director of the Center for Innovative Drug Discovery and associate professor of chemistry; Paul Rad, Peter T. Flawn Endowed Professor 2020-2021 and associate professor of cyber analytics and artificial intelligence; and John Quarles, associate professor of computer science.

“Being elected into the National Academy of Inventors as a Senior Member is an incredible honor that is truly humbling.”

NAI Senior Members are active faculty, scientists and administrators from NAI Member Institutions who have demonstrated remarkable innovation producing technologies that have brought, or aspire to bring, real impact on the welfare of society. They also have growing success in patents, licensing and commercialization.

Frantz is a co-inventor on new potential drugs that can control how stem cells differentiate into different cell types (U.S. Patent 8,686,012). This particular invention has significant ramifications in areas such as regenerative medicine, diabetes and neurodegeneration where stem cells could help treat devastating human diseases.

“Being elected into the National Academy of Inventors as a Senior Member is an incredible honor that is truly humbling,” Frantz said. “It’s not only a recognition of some of my own scientific contributions but to all of my fellow co-inventors who worked hard to develop new inventions to treat human diseases.”

McHardy says one of the inventions he’s most proud of is U.S. Patent 8,124,639, entitled “Bicyclic [3.1.0] heteroaryl amides as type 1 glycine transport inhibitors.” 

“The lead compound I discovered is a potent and selective glycine-transport inhibitor, which went to advanced human clinical trials as a possible treatment for schizophrenia and associated cognitive deficits,” said McHardy. “After 25 years of drug discovery research and the discovery of novel small molecule drug candidates, I’m extremely honored to be part of this elite group of inventors in the 2021 class of NAI Senior Members.”

Rad received patents for his inventions related to artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms for workload scheduling and security on multi-clouds. One was for systems and methods for scheduling of workload-aware jobs on multi-clouds and for systems and methods for secure file transmission and cloud storage. He received an additional patent for “Intellectual Property Transitioning to Industry,” where some of his AI algorithms have been licensed to a startup in Austin.

“It is an honor to be recognized nationally by peers and highlight the culture of creativity and entrepreneurship of our community,” said Rad. “In any of these projects, I have done nothing alone, so I would like to thank all my collaborators, mentors, and students for helping along the way.”

In June 2020, Quarles received U.S. Patent 10,692,401 for “Devices and Methods for Interactive Augmented Reality.” Quarles, along with clinicians and business professionals, formed MedCognition, Inc., to help save lives through developing the PerSim® augmented reality (AR), holographic medical patient simulator training system. PerSim’s® immersive AR overcomes key shortcomings of traditional mannequin-based medical simulation that do not adequately prepare medical personnel to perform well when presented with uncommon, but dangerous medical conditions.

“Our mission has always been to create inventions that help people save lives. Being elected as a Senior Member recognizes and validates our continued effort,” Quarles said. “Overall, I am humbled to be included among such highly accomplished Senior Members of the National Academy of Inventors.”

This latest class of NAI Senior Members represents 36 research universities, government, and non-profit research institutes. They are named inventors on over 617 issued U.S. patents, mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society.

“NAI Member Institutions support some of the most elite innovators on the horizon. With the NAI Senior Member award distinction, we are recognizing innovators who are rising stars in their fields and the innovative ecosystems that support their work,” said NAI President Paul R. Sanberg. “This new class is joining a prolific group of academic visionaries already defining tomorrow.

Bruce Forey

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