3 MSU faculty named Senior Members of the 2024 National Academy of Inventors

Michigan State University researchers Evangelyn Alocilja, André Bachmann, and Richard Lunt have been named Senior Members by the National Academy of Inventors.

This year’s class of NAI Senior Members is the largest to date and hails from 60 NAI member institutions across the nation. Collectively, they are named inventors on over 1,000 U.S. patents with 344 of those being licensed technologies and commercialized products. The 2024 class also showcases the shared commitment to celebrate the diversity of the academic ecosystem, with 50% of this year’s Senior Members being outstanding female and/or underrepresented academic inventors.

Evangelyn Alocilja

“MSU’s Innovation Center provides an environment of support and opportunities for our researchers to pursue patents and to positively impact the world through the commercialization of their research discoveries,” said Doug Gage, vice president for research and innovation. “The fact that we have three members being recognized by NAI this year is testament to the priority MSU places on research and innovation, and the downstream economic impact that MSU can have in our state and beyond.”

The MSU researchers being honored have found that their research often presents a challenge that provides an opportunity for invention.

“My passion is to find solutions to challenging societal problems, especially for those needing the most help,” said Evangelyn Alocilja, a professor in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the College of Engineering. Alocilja develops biological sensors that can diagnose infectious and antimicrobial resistant diseases earlier.

Like Alocilja, Richard Lunt, who is a Johansen Crosby Endowed Associate Professor in the College of Engineering, also was inspired to make the world a better place. Lunt’s work is focused on creating better materials that are more efficient and longer lasting for solar energy production.

Richard Lunt

“The act of patenting actually helps guide our research in defining unmet needs and solving unresolved challenges,” said Lunt. “From a young age, I wanted to make our world more sustainable. I did not know it then, but this passion would lead to this path of becoming a researcher working on creating inventions and patents that are translating to real-world products for a more sustainable and healthier world.”

André Bachmann, a professor and associate chair for research in the College of Human Medicine, has found that holding a patent is often the first step in the process of having the idea commercialized and made available. Bachmann’s research has been concentrated on drug development in oncology and rare diseases.

“I am proud to say that three of my patents have already been commercialized,” said Bachmann. “This produces royalties and is a testament of the quality of our inventions.”

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, while educating and mentoring the next generation of inventors. MSU Interim President Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D., is a lifetime fellow of the NAI.

André Bachmann

“This year’s class of Senior Members is truly a testament to the outstanding innovation happening at NAI Member Institutions and what happens when the academic space encourages and celebrates invention and commercialization,” said Paul Sanberg, president of NAI. “We are proud to welcome these outstanding academic inventors to the academy and look forward to supporting and celebrating them as they continue in their innovation journeys.”

The 2024 class of Senior Members will be celebrated at NAI’s annual conference taking place June 16 to 18, in Raleigh, North Carolina. More event and registration information is available on the NAI conference webpage.

A full list of NAI Senior Members is also available.

This story was published on MSUToday.

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