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Mikos, Richards-Kortum named National Academy of Inventors fellows


Rice University Professors Antonios Mikos and Rebecca Richards-Kortum have been named fellows of the National Academy of Inventors.

They are among 170 in this year’s class of inductees, who represent more than 150 research universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutions. Fellows are nominated by their peers for their 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.

Mikos is the Louis Calder Professor of Bioengineering and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and a professor of chemistry, materials science and nanoengineering. His research group at Rice’s BioScience Research Collaborative specializes in the synthesis, processing and evaluation of new biomaterials for use as scaffolds for tissue engineering, as carriers for controlled drug delivery and as nonviral vectors for gene therapy. His work has led to the development of novel orthopedic, dental, cardiovascular, neurologic and ophthalmologic biomaterials. He is the author of more than 520 publications and holds 27 patents.

Mikos is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas.

Richards-Kortum is the Stanley C. Moore Professor of Bioengineering and a professor of electrical and computer engineering. She is director of both Beyond Traditional Borders and Rice 360°: Institute for Global Health Technologies and oversees the Optical Spectroscopy and Imaging Laboratory.

She is also a co-founder of the Day One Project to build an innovation facility, the Nursery of the Future, at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi, to test life-saving technologies under the supervision of pediatric specialists there. The project was recently featured in UNICEF’s annual report, “The State of the World’s Children 2015.”

Richards-Kortum integrates nanotechnology and molecular imaging with microfabrication for inexpensive, portable optical imaging systems that provide point-of-care diagnoses. This basic and translational research is highly collaborative and has led to new technologies to improve the early detection of cancers and other diseases, especially in impoverished countries.

The new fellows will be inducted at its annual conference in March in Pasadena, Calif.

— Mike Williams, Rice University Public Affairs