By Paul Tumarkin
University of Arizona inventor Dr. Marvin J. Slepian of the Colleges of Medicine and Engineering has been elected as Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). Election to NAI Fellow status is a high professional distinction granted 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.
Along with being an experienced entrepreneur-inventor, Dr. Slepian is a professor of medicine (cardiology) and professor and associate department head for Clinical and Industrial Affairs in Biomedical Engineering in the UA College of Engineering, as well as McGuire Scholar in the Eller College of Management, where he teaches an annual course on innovation.
Most recently, in collaboration with Tech Launch Arizona – the office of the UA that commercializes the inventions stemming from University research – Dr. Slepian started the Arizona Center for Accelerated Biomedical Innovation (ACABI) to serve as a “creativity engine’” as Slepian calls it – a hub where investigators can work with experienced innovators to flesh out ideas and invent, strategize next steps in technology development, and access scientific and business resources to move their ideas forward.
”It is truly an honor to be recognized by the National Academy of Inventors,” says Dr. Slepian. “Invention is seeing – envisioning what can be, where we can go, how to improve – leading to innovation. I look forward, based on this recognition, to continue to spark creativity in our students to empower their ingenuity for the future.”
His lab in the Sarver Heart Center has successfully translated a wide variety of concepts from bench to bedside, having developed therapeutic solutions based on polymeric biomaterials, such as drug-eluting stent technologies, tissue “paving,” stent coatings, tissue sealants as well as cardiovascular prosthetic devices including the total artificial heart. Dr. Slepian is a named inventor on 52 issued patents and applications, and is a co-founder of SynCardia Systems, the company that brought the total artificial heart to market. He has commercialized a range of inventions and founded other medical device companies including Focal (NASDAQ), Hansen Medical (NASDAQ), Arsenal, 480 BioMedical and MC10. Dr. Slepian is an elected fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and current president of the International Society for Mechanical Circulatory Support.
The 168 named this year bring the total number of NAI Fellows to 582, representing more than 190 prestigious research universities and governmental and non-profit 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. These academic luminaries have made a significant impact to the economy through innovative discoveries, creating startup companies, and enhancing the culture of academic invention.
The 2015 NAI Fellows Selection Committee included 17 members, comprising 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.
Top image of this year’s fellows courtesy National Academy of Inventors.