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National Academy of Inventors and Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies announce NAI Charter Fellows

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Dr. Richard A. Houghten of Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies has been named a Charter Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Election to NAI Fellow status is a high professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a highly 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.

The 98 innovators elected to NAI Fellow status represent 54 universities and non-profit research institutes.  Together, they hold more than 3,200 U.S. patents.

Included in the Charter class are 8 Nobel Laureates, 2 Fellows of the Royal Society, 12 presidents of research universities and non-profit research institutes, 50 members of the National Academies (National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine), 11 inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, 3 recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, 4 recipients of the National Medal of Science, and 29 AAAS Fellows, among other awards and distinctions.

The NAI Charter Fellows will be inducted as Fellows by the U.S. Commissioner for Patents, Margaret A. Focarino, from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, during the 2nd Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors, on Feb. 22, 2013, in Tampa, Fla., at the Embassy Suites Hotel in the University of South Florida Research Park. Fellows will be presented with a special trophy and a rosette pin.

The NAI Charter Fellows will be recognized in a full page advertisement in The Chronicle of Higher Education on Jan. 18, 2013, in the Jan. 2013 issue of Inventors Digest, and in a future issue of Technology and Innovation – Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors.

Dr. Richard A. Houghten currently serves as Founder, CEO & President of Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies.  Dr. Houghten’s inventions include the parallel synthesis approach known commonly as the “tea bag method” for synthesizing peptides.  This invention revolutionized peptide chemistry worldwide.  He next created very large (i.e. tens of millions) of peptides in mixture formats which are known as soluble mixture-based combinatorial libraries.  Further inventions include the preparation of a wide range of differing drug like molecules using the “Libraries from Libraries” approach and the direct high throughput in vivo testing of large combinatorial libraries.  Dr. Houghten and his team introduced a method to rapidly identify individual compounds from millions of other, known as the Positional Scanning technique.   Dr. Houghten and his fellow researchers have identified 3 compounds which have entered into clinical trials after licensing out to pharmaceutical companies.  In addition, he was one of the inventors of a currently marketed diagnostic approach to determine Epstein Barr virus infection.

Dr. Houghten is the recipient of the American Chemical Society’s San Diego Distinguished Scientist Award, the UCSD Connect Athena Individual Pinnacle Award for Empowering Women in the Workplace.  He also has received the R. Bruce Merrifield Award and the Vincent du Vigneaud Award for Excellence in Peptide Science from the American Peptide Society, the Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry from the American Chemical Society, and the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Indian River State College Foundation in Florida.  Dr. Houghten was named the Kuang-piu Chair Professorship of Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.

Dr. Houghten has been issued 76 U.S. patents as well as 47 International patents.  Many of these patents have been licensed to other companies.

He founded the not-for-profit Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies in 1989, which expanded into Florida in 2007.  He has also founded several for profit companies including Multiple Peptide Systems in 1986, Trega Biosciences in 1993 (which became publicly traded in 1996), and Mixture Sciences in 1999.

Dr. Houghten has authored or co-authored over 400 peer reviewed scientific publications and 150 articles, books and book chapter and serves as one of the founding editors of Peptide Research, and has served on many and varied editorial boards. His work has been cited thousands of times and is included in medicinal chemistry textbooks worldwide.  Houghten is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pharmaceutical Scientists.

Academic inventors and innovators elected to the rank of NAI Charter Fellow were nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation.

The NAI Fellows Selection Committee is comprised of 14 Members from the National Academies, recipients of National Medals, a National Inventors Hall of Fame inductee, and senior officials from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), the United Inventors Association and University Research Leadership.


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