Three UT Austin Professors Named Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors

AUSTIN, Texas — George Georgiou, Thomas Milner and Jonathan L. Sessler, professors at The University of Texas at Austin, have been named Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

They join Texas Engineering professors Joseph J. Beaman Jr., Nicholas Peppas and Bob Metcalfe as NAI fellows from UT Austin.

Election to 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 today 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. 

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. 

2015 NAI fellows from UT Austin:

George Georgiou is a professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering’s McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering and Department of Biomedical Engineering, and in the Department of Molecular Biosciences in UT Austin's College of Natural Sciences. He also holds the Laura Jennings Turner Chair in 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. 

Thomas Milner, who holds the Joe J. King Professorship in Engineering in the Cockrell School, develops innovative medical diagnostic imaging and laser surgical technologies. Milner pioneered the development of optical-based imaging and surgical instrumentation applications that help physicians and patients in clinical settings. His applied research and inventions have helped physicians to better treat many skin disorders using lasers as well as to detect and diagnose diseases, including glaucoma and heart disease. Milner is also a fellow with the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and was honored with UT Austin’s Inventor of the Year Award in 2013. Milner has been named co-inventor on more than 40 issued U.S. and international patents, and he has co-authored more than 155 peer-reviewed publications.
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.