Texas Tech University

CASNR, TTUHSC Professor Named Fellow for National Academy of Inventors

George Watson

December 7, 2021

Samuel Prien becomes the eighth Texas Tech University and first Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center faculty member to be named an NAI Fellow.

Samuel Prien, a professor of reproductive physiology and assisted reproduction in the Department of Animal & Food Sciences, housed within the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources at Texas Tech University, has been named to the 2021 class of Fellows for the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), the organization announced today (Dec. 7).

“I am truly humbled by this recognition,” Prien said. “It recognizes not just me but everyone who has passed through my lab over the last 25 years, where we have tried to improve assisted reproductive techniques for individuals struggling with infertility as well as improve production techniques in animals, making them more accessible to the farmer and rancher, and improving their profitability and sustainability as they try to feed a hungry world.”

Prien, who also holds a joint appointment in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the School of Medicine at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC), was elected to the NAI's inaugural class of senior members in 2019. He currently holds five U.S. patents, 20 international patents and three copyrights. His first U.S. patent was for a method of collecting and preserving semen, which was Texas Tech's first patent focused on reproductive science, a patent that has reached the marketplace via a license agreement between Texas Tech and Reproductive Solutions Inc.

Prien becomes the eighth Texas Tech faculty member to be named an NAI Fellow, joining Robert V. Duncan in the Department of Physics & Astronomy (2014), Mindy Brashears in the Department of Animal & Food Sciences (2016), Kishor Mehta in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering (2017), Hongxing Jiang in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (2018), Luis Rafael Herrera-Estrella in the Department of Plant and Soil Science (2019), Jingyu Lin in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (2019) and John McGlone in the Department of Animal & Food Sciences (2020).

Prien earned his bachelor's degree (1978) and master's degree (1980) in botany and his doctorate in animal sciences in 1991, all from Texas Tech. He has held his appointment with TTUHSC since 1992, has served as the Director of the Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology Laboratories at TTUHSC since 2010 and as Director of Research in the department since 2003.

Prien will be inducted during the NAI Fellows induction ceremony in June as part of the 11th annual meeting of the National Academy of Inventors.

“Professor Sam Prien is a highly valued member of the faculty both at Texas Tech and TTUHSC,” said Joseph Heppert, vice president for research and innovation in the Office of Research & Innovation. “He is a prolific researcher and dedicated collaborator in many of his scholarly activities. My sincere congratulations go out to Sam for this recognition and for the many other accomplishments during his distinguished career.”

The NAI Fellows Program highlights academic inventors who have demonstrated a 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. Election to NAI Fellow is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors.

To date, NAI Fellows hold more than 48,000 issued U.S. patents, which have generated more than 13,000 licensed technologies and companies and created more than 1 million jobs. In addition, more than $3 trillion in revenue has been generated based on NAI Fellow discoveries.

Those elected as fellows by the NAI are named inventors on U.S. patents and were nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, having a significant impact on society and the support and enhancement of innovation.

The 2021 Fellows class represents 116 research universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutes worldwide and collectively holds more than 4,800 issued U.S. patents. Among the 2021 Fellows are 33 members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine and three Nobel Laureates, as well as other honors and distinctions.

About the NAI

The National Academy of Inventors is a member organization comprising U.S. and international universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutes with more than 4,000 individual inventor members and Fellows spanning more than 250 institutions worldwide. It was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society. The NAI has a close collaborative relationship with the USPTO and is one of three honorific organizations, along with the National Medals and National Inventors Hall of Fame, working closely with the USPTO on many discovery and innovation-support initiatives. The NAI publishes the multidisciplinary journal, Technology and Innovation.