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Washington State University

Notable inventors

WSU trio elected as 2016 fellows of the National Academy of Inventors. The group includes 27 Nobel laureates.

Two faculty members and a WSU chancellor recently were elected as 2016 fellows of the National Academy of Inventors—joining a prestigious group of scientists that includes 27 Nobel laureates.

Faculty members Diane Cook and Katrina Mealey, along with H. Keith Moo-Young, WSU Tri-Cities chancellor, will be inducted into the NAI during the organization’s annual conference April 5-7 in Boston.

Election as an NAI fellow is the highest professional distinction accorded to academics whose inventions have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and welfare of society.

“These honors are external validation of the valuable contributions our faculty and staff make to improving lives—both here in Washington and around the globe,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz. “I congratulate Diane, Katrina, and Keith for their achievements and their dedicated research efforts that resulted in NAI membership.”

Trio honored for inventions that make a tangible impact on life

Schulz also noted that the honors will boost the University’s Drive to 25, WSU’s institutional initiative to achieve recognition as one of the nation’s top 25 public research universities by 2030. “Reaching top 25 status will require us to excel in all of our efforts throughout the institution—these honors are an example of the impact we’re striving to achieve.”

NAI Fellows have generated more than 8,500 licensed technologies and companies and created more than 1.1 million jobs, with more than $100 billion in revenue generated based on their discoveries. There are 757 NAI fellows representing 229 research universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutes.

“With each year I continue to be amazed by the caliber of individuals named as NAI fellows, and the 2016 class is no exception,” said Andrew H. Hirshfeld, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office commissioner for patents.

“These honors are external validation of the valuable contributions our faculty and staff make to improving lives—both here in Washington and around the globe.”
—Kirk Schulz, President, Washington State University

Diane Cook

Huie-Rogers Chair Professor, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Diane Cook

Diane Cook created one of the first, fully instrumented, smart home test sites and has equipped 100 smart apartments with sensor networks in 10 countries.

She conducts research in data mining and artificial intelligence, focusing on the design of smart homes that use machine learning to provide health monitoring and intervention.

Smart home research uses programmed sensors to monitor, predict, and improve quality of life, particularly in elder care. As the U.S. population ages, using technology to address challenges is of increasing interest to the elderly who wish to stay in their homes, care providers and government leaders—especially since assisted living costs can average $70,000 per year.

Making a difference in people’s lives

“Dr. Cook is making a difference in people’s lives through her innovations in elder care and health monitoring,” said Don Bender, interim dean of the WSU Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture. “This prestigious honor demonstrates the impact that she is having in addressing our nation’s biggest health challenges.”

Cooks holds several patents in environmental sensor-driven activity model development. She cofounded Adaptelligence, a startup company that focuses on activity recognition using sensors in wearable and mobile devices. A former graduate student also founded Behaviometrics, which is building a consumer product for elder care that uses an in-home sensing array developed in Cook’s lab.

Ranked in the top 5 percent of her research peers, Cook is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and is a recipient of career and research initiation awards from the National Science Foundation. She received the Anjan Bose Outstanding Researcher of the Year Award from WSU’s Voiland College and was a finalist for the 2016 Geekwire Geek of the Year award.

She is codirector of the National Institute on Aging’s training program in gerontechnology and a director of its artificial laboratory. She has published more than 400 peer-reviewed articles.

Katrina L. Mealey

Professor and Richard L. Ott Endowed Chair in Small Animal Medicine and Research

photo of Katrina L. Mealey with dog

Katrina Mealey discovered a potentially fatal gene mutation in dogs, developed a test for it, and has established a unique program at WSU of individualized medical treatment for pets. Her nine national and international patents, licensed on four continents by eight different companies, have generated more than $1 million in royalties and licensing fees for WSU.

“Dr. Mealey’s research in veterinary pharmacogenetics has generated discoveries that truly are ‘bench to bedside’ and are used globally to prevent adverse drug reactions in dogs and cats,” said WSU veterinary college Dean Bryan Slinker. “Becoming a fellow in the NAI is quite uncommon for veterinarians, and we could not be more proud of this honor for Katrina and her team.”

Discovered MDR1 gene mutation

“While I am honored to be a fellow in the National Academy of Inventors, it is equally rewarding because this validates the impact of pharmacogenetics and precision medicine in the veterinary profession,” Mealey said.

She discovered the MDR1 gene mutation and is the inventor of a subsequent genetic test for the mutation. Knowing a pet dog has the mutation prevents it from suffering from a profound and potentially fatal toxicity to certain medications a veterinarian might normally administer.

She launched the world’s first coordinated research effort in individualized veterinary medicine. The program in individualized medicine (PrIMe) has established WSU as the preeminent institution in veterinary pharmacogenetics.

Optimizing drug therapy for individual patients

PrIMe employs a dedicated core faculty, technical staff, and collaborators in the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine that optimizes drug therapy for individual patients. PrIMe faculty share their expertise via education and outreach activities for veterinarians, breeders, and the pet-owning public worldwide.

The PrIMe team is changing the way animal research is conducted: “We are developing novel ways to determine the effects of drugs within the population of consenting client-owned animals, not research animals,” explained professor Michael Court, a veterinary anesthesiologist and researcher. “Ideally, we want to be able to provide benefit to dogs and cats with the full knowledge of their owners by providing optimized medicines and dosing regimens.”

PrIMe is focusing on animals sensitive to known anesthetic agents and searching for gene mutations that, like the MDR1, can be used to predict and prevent serious adverse drug reactions. Also under study, and of perhaps greater concern, is the class of drugs known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs.

H. Keith Moo-Young

Chancellor, Washington State University Tri-Cities

photo of H. Keith Moo-Young

H. Keith Moo-Young, a licensed Professional Engineer, led an industry consortium research project on manufactured gas plant remediation strategies for the Electric Power Research Institute that included 15 public utilities. As a result, he shares a patent with colleagues Derick Brown and Andrew J. Coleman for a process to quantify coal tar in the environment.

He has published more than 200 research papers on solid and hazardous waste management and on fate and transport in the environment. He has secured research funding from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. departments of energy, education, and defense, and other sources. He has contributed to environmental public policy through membership on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency science advisory board.

Moo-Young’s leadership and innovation span commercialization activity in Pennsylvania, California, and Washington state.

With him as chancellor, WSU Tri-Cities has grown its partnership with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for biofuels advancement and other innovative research efforts. Under his leadership, WSU Tri-Cities also became home to the $23 million St. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center.

“I am honored to be selected as part of the National Academy of Inventors,” Moo-Young said. “This opportunity also opens doors to our students, faculty, and staff at WSU Tri-Cities to expand upon their own research and innovation through the academy.”

Moo-Young also is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and American Academy of Environmental Engineers. He holds memberships in many professional organizations, such as the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Chemical Society.