Author: Brian Conlin


2 Johns Hopkins Faculty Members Honored by National Academy…

2 Johns Hopkins Faculty Members Honored by National Academy of Inventors

The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) elected Howard E. Katz and Russell Taylor to its 2017 class of fellows, a prestigious distinction reserved for academic inventors who have benefited people and society.

The two Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering faculty members bring the total number of Johns Hopkins affiliates to receive this recognition to 11. The NAI began distributing these awards in 2012 and currently has 912 NAI Fellows from over 250 research universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutes.

Howard Katz

Katz, a professor in the Department of Materials Science and engineering and member of the Institute for NanoBioTechnology, chaired the Department of Materials Science from 2008 to 2014.

Among many other awards and recognition, Katz has been named an American Chemical Society Fellow in 2010 and was selected a Materials Research Society Fellow in 2008. His research interests include nanomaterials and optoelectronic and magnetic materials.

Russell Taylor

Widely considered the father of medical robotics, Taylor is the John C. Malone Professor in the Department of Computer Science, director of the Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics and a member of the Johns Hopkins Malone Center for Engineering in Healthcare.

In addition to receiving numerous awards and honors, Taylor has authored more than 325 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters.

The 2017 Class

The work of the 155 NAI Fellows selected as part of the 2017 class has resulted in nearly 6,000 issued U.S. patents and discoveries. In total, the six classes of NAI Fellows are responsible for more than 32,000 patents.

“Election to NAI Fellow status is the highest professional accolade bestowed 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 welfare of society,” according to the NAI. “NAI Fellows have generated more than 9,400 licensed technologies and companies and created more than 1.3 million jobs, with over $137 billion in revenue generated based on their discoveries.”
The nine other NAI Fellows from The Johns Hopkins University are:

Solomon H. Snyder, Professor of Neuroscience


James West, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering


Jennifer Elisseeff, Director of the Translational Tissue Engineering Center, Professor of Ophthalmology
Justin Hanes, Director of the Center for Nanomedicine, Professor of Ophthalmology


Kenneth Kinzler, Director of the Ludwig Center at Johns Hopkins University, Professor of Oncology
Se-Jin Lee, The Michael and Ann Hankin and Partners of Brown Advisory Professor in Scientific Innovation, Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics
Bert Vogelstein, Professor of Oncology


Henry Halperin, Co-director of the Johns Hopkins Imaging Institute of Excellence, Professor of Medicine
David Sidransky, Director of Head and Neck Cancer Research, Professor of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery

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Corporate Collaborations

Bluefield Innovations Pursues Broadly Applicable Cancer Target

Bluefield Innovations Pursues Broadly Applicable Cancer Target


Bluefield Innovations, a collaboration between the Johns Hopkins University and Deerfield Management to catalyze early stage therapeutic development, announced today the acceptance and funding of its first project. The target, the enzyme RNA polymerase I (Pol I), is implicated in many forms of cancer.

Originating in the lab of Marikki Laiho, MD, Ph.D., the Willard and Lillian Hackerman Professor of Radiation Oncology and director of the Division of Molecular Radiation Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the discovery illustrates how cancer cells disproportionately rely on the Pol I cellular pathway when compared to normal cells. Laiho’s research indicates that interfering with this pathway kills cancer cells while causing little harm to normal cells. The acceptance of this project comes just two months after the launch of Bluefield Innovations.

“We are excited to accept Dr. Laiho’s project into Bluefield Innovations and show our commitment to the goal of advancing promising research projects,” says James Flynn, managing partner at Deerfield Management.

Dr. Marikki Laiho
Bluefield will provide scientific, financial and operational support to Laiho’s research, enabling her team to identify the clinical lead molecule and to move that candidate toward human clinical trials. Ultimately, this support could lead to the development of a first-in-class small molecule drug.

“I truly appreciate the opportunity to align with a collaborator that shares the same mindset and goals surrounding early stage research targets,” Laiho says. “Bluefield understands that new targets and first-in-class molecules require a higher level of due diligence and with that, they provide the expertise to support the extensive ground work required for the IND process.”

A joint steering committee consisting of representatives from Johns Hopkins and Deerfield selected Laiho’s research to receive the first round of support from Bluefield. The initial five-year term of Bluefield Innovations will provide support and funding to approximately a dozen Johns Hopkins faculty and researchers. A call for applications will take place in the first quarter of 2018.

“Bluefield Innovations provides a valuable avenue for Johns Hopkins researchers to unleash the potential of their promising work,” says William Nelson, MD, Ph.D., professor of oncology and director of the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. “Dr. Laiho’s research may prove to be a transformational cancer treatment. We’re excited that Bluefield has provided her an opportunity to accelerate its development and commercialization.”

Click here for the announcement of Bluefield Innovations!

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