Auburn University inventors inducted into local chapter of National Academy of Inventors

AUBURN – More than 40 Auburn University inventors were inducted into the National Academy of Inventors during the recent inaugural luncheon of the academy’s Auburn University chapter. Hosted by Auburn’s Office of Technology Transfer, the luncheon took place at the Auburn University Hotel and Dixon Conference Center.

The academy was founded at the University of South Florida in 2009 to recognize and encourage inventors and to raise the visibility of technology transfer on campuses. Auburn University is a charter member of the academy and has recently formed a local chapter of the organization.

Eligibility for inventor membership requires the individual to be a faculty or staff member, student, graduate or affiliate of a member institution and to be named as an inventor on at least one issued U.S. patent.

Thirty-eight charter members of the Auburn chapter were recognized by John Mason, vice president for research. To support the initiative to encourage a spirit of entrepreneurship at Auburn, Mason will provide the first year’s membership fee for eligible Auburn faculty or staff members who want to join the organization.

“It is important to recognize the value of truly innovative research and the corresponding opportunities for entrepreneurship that flow from it,” Mason said. “Applying for and receiving patents are a critical part of that process. The reception honored those who have been successful in this arena and also encouraged others to engage.”

Auburn President Jay Gogue spoke at the event and along with Mason was recognized as an honorary member of the chapter.

John Weete, assistant vice president for technology transfer and commercialization and charter member of the National Academy of Inventors, presented the inaugural Excellence in Innovation Award to S. D. Worley, professor emeritus of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Worley’s antimicrobial technologies are being commercialized into water purification systems in third world nations by the start-up company HaloSource, based in Seattle, Wash. HaloSource has manufacturing plants in China and India and has recently received FDA approval for use of the product in the United States and the FDA equivalent in China.

“The water purification chemistry developed by Dr. Worley is making it possible for people in underdeveloped areas of the world to have safe drinking water, and it is gratifying that the results of research at Auburn University are making such an important contribution to world health,” said Weete.

Additional acknowledgements went to the initial officers of the Auburn Chapter: Ram Gupta, Chemical Engineering, President; ZhongYang Cheng, Mechanical Engineering, President-Elect; James Barbaree, Biological Sciences, Vice President; and Gwynedd Thomas, Polymer and Fiber Engineering, Secretary.

Contact Jan Thornton or John Weete in the Office of Technology Transfer at 844-4977 for questions about the NAI or to apply for membership.

Contact: John Weete, (334) 844-4977 (, or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (