Three Rutgers Profs Honored for Inventions

Their Patents in Biomedical Materials, Drug Delivery and Computer Engineering Led to the Honor

Three Rutgers faculty members were honored recently as Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors: Joachim Kohn and Kathryn Uhrich, professors in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences, and Richard Mammone, professor in the School of Engineering and the Rutgers Business School.

(Top Left) Richard Mammone, (Top Right) Joachim Kohn and (Bottom) Kathryn Uhrich

The academy, which was founded three years ago, will induct the 2013 fellows at its annual conference March 7. They include 143 inventors who collectively hold more than 5,600 U.S. patents. Among them are 69 members of the National Academies, six recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation, and nine Nobel Laureates.

Christopher J. Molloy, senior vice president for research and economic development at Rutgers, congratulated the university’s first NAI fellows.

“Professors Kohn, Mammone, and Uhrich exemplify the high level of scientific excellence and creativity among the Rutgers faculty, and they are recognized leaders both in their fields of research and within the university,” Molloy said. “It’s noteworthy that all three have been influential teachers and mentors to students and postdoctoral fellows over the years, while achieving great success in their research and commercializing their results.”

Kohn is the founder and director of the New Jersey Center for Biomaterials at Rutgers. He is a leader in biomaterials science and widely known for the development of tyrosine-derived, resorbable polymers, which are now used in several FDA-approved medical devices. His research focuses on new ways to develop biomaterials for specific applications, particularly tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and drug delivery, using combinatorial and computational methods. Kohn led a team of scientists who discovered a polymer optimized for fully degradable cardiovascular stents, which are being tested in clinical trials. His approach also was used for the development of optimized polymers by Lux Biosciences for ophthalmic applications and by Trident Biomedical for orthopedic applications. Kohn holds 45 U.S. patents and has received over $75 million in research support from U.S. federal agencies and other sources since 1997.

Mammone, who is Rutgers’ associate vice president for innovation and partnerships, holds 17 U.S. patents. His inventions in the fields of laser eye surgery, speaker recognition, and detection of hazardous materials have fueled the growth of several new ventures. The innovations behind his ventures, such as the corneascope and speaker-recognition algorithms, are used by companies such as Nuance. Mammone launched ClearView Diagnostics Inc., which is commercializing early stage breast cancer detection software. He founded Power Map, an energy monitor and home automation firm that was a top 10 finalist in VentureBeat’s GreenBeat Innovation Competition (2010). The R&D Council of New Jersey chose Mammone for its Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award (2010) in recognition of his contribution to speech recognition technology and the N.J. Inventors Hall of Fame honored Mammone with its Inventor of the Year Award (2013).

Uhrich, who holds 26 U.S. patents, is the scientific founder of Polymerix Corporation, a specialty pharmaceutical company that develops products based on therapeutic polymer technology. She has been involved in several start-ups that use her technology: Bioabsorbable Therapeutics, Xenogenics, Polymer Therapeutics and two others in process. She leads The Uhrich Group, a laboratory focused on the synthesis and characterization of biocompatible and biodegradable polymers for medical and dental applications such as drug delivery and tissue engineering. Her honors include the Common Pathways Award from the New Jersey Association for Biomedical Research (2013), the American Chemical Society’s Buck-Whitney Award (2005) and the Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award from the R&D Council of New Jersey (2003). Uhrich is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and a fellow of the American Chemical Society’s polymer division.

Established in 1766, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is America’s eighth oldest institution of higher learning and one of the nation’s premier public research universities. Serving more than 65,000 students on campuses, centers, institutes and other locations throughout the state, Rutgers is the only public university in New Jersey that is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. Rutgers ranked #1 nationally among public universities in terms of increased federal funding from FY2002 to FY2011, according to National Science Foundation data. Rutgers rank #1 nationally in funding for chemistry research.

March 11,2014