Texas Tech University

Texas Tech Opening Local Chapter of National Academy of Inventors

George Watson

May 18, 2017


The local chapter will include two current NAI fellows and 38 members who have at least one registered patent.


With three Fellows to its name, Texas Tech University has opened a new, local chapter for the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

The NAI is a nonprofit organization founded in 2010 comprising U.S. and international universities, as well as government and nonprofit research institutes, to recognize and encourage inventors with patents, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage intellectual property disclosure, mentor and educate innovative students and bring those inventions to the forefront to better society.

Robert V. Duncan

There are now 757 Fellows of the NAI throughout the world. Collectively they have involved more than 18,000 students in the inventive process, and they have secured over 21,000 patents. These patents have been licensed to create more than 1.1 million jobs and to generate more than $100 billion in product sales and revenues. Texas Tech has had three of its faculty members elected to national Fellowship in the NAI, which speaks to the excellence and the innovative and inventive nature of the university's outstanding faculty. 

"We welcome everyone to become involved in this process of invention that is essential to the quality of life for us all," said Robert V. Duncan, vice president for Strategic Research Initiatives at Texas Tech, "and to help us celebrate and recognize these outstanding academic inventors from Texas Tech and our West Texas region."

The Texas Tech chapter will open with two current NAI Fellows among its faculty as well as a former faculty member who is an NAI Fellow. Duncan and Mindy Brashears, a professor of food safety in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, are the two current faculty NAI Fellows, with Brashears being named in 2016.

Mindy Brashears
Mindy Brashears

"This is a wonderful recognition of faculty commitment to research and exploration," said Lawrence Schovanec, Texas Tech President. "Our faculty and students are actively pursuing solutions to real-world issues and are doing so in a collaborative environment supportive of their interests and research."

Duncan's work has resulted in 42 U.S. and international patents that were developed before he arrived at Texas Tech. They center around a new, safer and less painful type of surgery that uses an ultra-cold process to kill cancer tumors, and to treat atrial fibrillation (AFib) and other heart conditions. Duncan's inventions have been licensed by multiple companies and are now in advanced human clinical trials. Duncan also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the NAI.  

Brashears is the director of the International Center for Food Industry Excellence (ICFIE) at Texas Tech.  Her 16 U.S. patents and two international patents have been licensed to various companies, two of which she is the co-founder. The technologies she has developed are focused on reducing pathogens in foods to protect human health on a large scale and also result in extended shelf life of food products, thus reducing food waste. A cattle probiotic she developed that reduces salmonella and pathogenic E. coli in cattle prior to harvest is currently fed to up to 70 percent of the feedlot cattle in the U.S.

Mohamed Soliman
Mohamed Soliman

Mohamed Soliman, a former faculty member in the Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering in the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering, left the university in 2016 to become the founding chairman of the petroleum engineering department at the University of Houston.

To begin the local NAI chapter, Texas Tech will elevate 38 inventors who hold at least one awarded U.S. patent to membership. Membership requirements for a local chapter by the NAI include being a member of an institution's academic community, which includes faculty, staff, alumni and affiliates, and having a patent issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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