Five Tufts Faculty Named National Academy of Inventors Senior Members

Researchers from across the university received the prestigious honor, which recognizes academic inventors who aspire to make a positive impact on society 
collage of five professors who are selected by the National Academy of Inventors

Five Tufts faculty have been named as senior members of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), a prestigious recognition awarded to academic inventors who are rising leaders in their respective fields and who have produced technologies that have brought or aspire to bring a positive impact on society.

The mission of the NAI is to encourage academic inventors and raise awareness of academic technology and innovation with the goal of “expanding the invention community and celebrating creativity within the academic ecosystem.”

This year’s senior members from Tufts are Ayse Asatekin, Alexei Degterev, Philip Haydon, Krishna Kumar, and Charles Shoemaker, whose fields range across infectious disease, neuroscience, biology, chemistry, and engineering. They will be inducted at the 12th NAI Annual Meeting in June in Washington, D.C.

“The noteworthy translational research and enterprise efforts from these five Tufts faculty make them worthy additions to the NAI,” said Bernard Arulanandam, vice provost for research at Tufts. “To have five Tufts faculty bestowed with this honor is a testament to the strength and quality of the research capacities at Tufts.”

Alexei Degterev, associate professor in the Department of Developmental, Molecular and Chemical Biology at Tufts University School of Medicine, investigates the molecular mechanisms of regulated cell death. These processes play critical roles during development and in maintaining health, such as helping eliminate infected or damaged cells. Changes in regulated cell death pathways lead to a variety of conditions, including cancer and chronic inflammatory diseases.

At Tufts since 2005, the major goal of his lab is to understand how key players in these pathways affect cell death under different circumstances, and to develop chemical probes and drug leads that can be used to therapeutically modulate cell death processes.

Philip Haydon, Annetta and Gustav Grisard Professor and Chair of Neuroscience at Tufts University School of Medicine, is a leader in the study of neuroglial interactions. His lab has published papers showing how glial cells change during epilepsy and how perturbing them in certain ways can limit the number of seizures. They focus on astrocytes (a type of glial cell), which wrap around the synaptic structure to control synapse formation and function. The goal of his lab is to identify the mechanisms by which astrocytes regulate synaptic transmission and their role in controlling behavior.

At Tufts since 2008, Haydon is currently on a mission to circumnavigate the globe on a 50-foot yacht to raise awareness and money for epilepsy research.

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