Two University of Oklahoma professors--Daniel E. Resasco and Paul H. Weigel--have been named fellows of the National Academy of Inventors, a professional distinction awarded 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 the welfare of society.
"Dr. Resasco and Dr. Weigel deserve this high honor, which brings great credit to the entire university," said OU President David L. Boren.
Resasco, professor of chemical engineering in the OU College of Engineering, has been recognized multiple times by his peers and international organizations for his innovative contributions to the body of knowledge in the areas of chemical engineering. Chiefly noted as the inventor of a method for producing single-walled carbon nanotubes from catalysts at lower cost and in great quantity, his research focuses on industrial processes in both molecular design of fuels with improved properties and synthesis of nanostructured materials based on single-walled carbon nanotubes.
Resasco is a founder of SouthWest NanoTechnologies, a company recognized as a leader in producing high-quality single-walled carbon nanotubes, and inventor of their core technology, their patented production method. He holds 60 patents issued in 14 countries, demonstrating his inventive proficiency. Resasco has demonstrated innovation in his teaching, research and commercialization efforts and has been a role model to faculty for combining academic pursuits with societal impact.
Paul H. Weigel, professor and chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at the OU Health Sciences Center, has made significant contributions to the understanding of glycosaminoglycans, such as hyaluronic acid, how they function normally in the body and how they are involved in diseases. Weigel is a leader in promoting entrepreneurship as well as collaboration between academia and the biotechnology industry. His research program has led to 27 issued U.S. patents and 39 foreign patents.
He has been awarded over $11 million in research grants, many of which directly contributed to the commercialization of his basic research, including four Oklahoma Applied Research Support grants.
Weigel is noted internationally for his contributions to the field of synthetic hyaluronan production. He serves as co-founder, co-chief scientist and director for Hyalose, LLC, a company formed in 2000 around his research and commercializations efforts, which was funded by the Austin-based investment firm Emergent Technologies. Hyalose uses recombinant technology for the production of hyaluronic acid, which was previously produced by extraction from animal by-products or bacteria and required rigorous purification prior to use. Recombinant technology developed by Weigel with Hyalose reduces the risk of unwanted contaminants and enables hyaluronan production of defined polymer length and content for use in biomaterials, drugs and reagents as well as medical device coatings. Hyalose has successfully partnered with a global pharmaceutical company for the commercialization of this technology.
Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors will be inducted by the Deputy U.S. Commissioner for Patents, Andrew Faile, from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, during the Fourth Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors on March 20, 2015, to be held at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. Fellows and their institutions are listed on a plaque on permanent display at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Weigel and Resasco will join 2013 OU Fellows Paul DeAngelis and Jeff Harwell in this distinguished honor.