Fellows Selection Committee is comprised of 16 Members including: NAI Fellows, recipients of U.S. National Medals, National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees, members of the National Academies, National Science Foundation and senior officials from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Director of Operations and Prize Programs
Lemelson-MIT Program Director of Operations and Prize Programs
Betsy Boyle manages operations for the Lemelson-MIT Program, and previously oversaw the LMIT inventor prize programs. She has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit management and higher education, and has managed programs focusing on green building and energy efficiency. Betsy received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Master of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School.
Vice President for Research, University of Georgia
Harbor Lights Endowed Chair
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Georgia
AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador
Karen J.L. Burg, Ph.D. was named Vice President for Research in 2021. She holds the Harbor Lights Chair in Small Animal Studies in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia (UGA). Prior to joining UGA, she served as vice president for research and professor of chemical engineering at Kansas State University. Honors to Karen include the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the inaugural Swiss AO Research Prize, recognition as an American Association for the Advancement of Science-Lemelson Invention Ambassador, an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, an American Council on Education Fellow, an American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering Fellow, a Biomedical Engineering Society Fellow, an International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering Fellow, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology TR Young Innovator, a National Academy of Inventors Fellow, and a US Department of Defense Era of Hope Scholar. Karen is the inventor of record of eight issued patents, with licenses serving as the foundation for a thriving diagnostics company. Karen served as a member of the United States delegation for the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad, India and as alumna ambassador for the 2019 GES in The Hague, The Netherlands.
Former Commissioner for Trademarks
United States Patent and Trademark Office
Anne H. Chasser is an Author and Intellectual Property Strategist and Expert. From 1999-2004 Anne served as the Commissioner for Trademarks at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Appointed by the President Clinton Administration and confirmed by the United States Senate. She served in both the Clinton and Bush administrations, where she oversaw the trademark operations at the USPTO. During her term at the USPTO, the trademark operations implemented full electronic processing of trademark applications and examination and implemented the Madrid Protocol. She was recognized by Managing Intellectual Property Magazine as one of the Fifty Most Influential People in Global Intellectual Property. Anne co-authored two books: Brand Rewired and Domain Rewired, published by John Wiley. In 2014, Anne was awarded the Distinguished Career Award by The Ohio State University, John Glenn School of Public Affairs.
Ms. Dougherty has dedicated much of her career to the USPTO’s outreach and education programs focusing on small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs. In this effort she has developed, implemented, and supervised programs that support the independent inventor community, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and the intellectual property interests of colleges and universities. Similarly Ms. Dougherty has spearheaded a number of special projects with federal, state and local governments, and private organizations to promote and support invention and innovation in the United States.
Ms. Dougherty is a member of the Virginia Bar, the Giles S. Rich American Inn of Court, the Pauline Newman American Inn of Court, the American Bar Association, the Federal Circuit Bar Association, the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the Patent and Trademark Office Society, the Supervisory Patent Examiners and Classifiers Organization, Women in Science and Engineering, Federally Employed Women, and the Network of Executive Women.
Commissioner for Patents
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
As Commissioner for Patents, Drew Hirshfeld manages and leads the patent organization as its chief operating officer. He is responsible for managing and directing all aspects of the organization which affect administration of patent operations, examination policy, patent quality management, international patent cooperation, resources and planning, and budget administration.
During his time as Commissioner, Mr. Hirshfeld has led the Patent business unit by emphasizing both transparency and collaboration. He has managed efforts to ensure the consistency and reliability of patent grants. Mr. Hirshfeld has further played a lead role to ensure that the examining corps is provided with updated examination guidance and training.
Prior to serving as Commissioner for Patents, Mr. Hirshfeld held the positions of Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy and Chief of Staff to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. Mr. Hirshfeld began his career in 1994 as a Patent Examiner, he became a Supervisory Patent Examiner in 2001, and was promoted to the Senior Executive Service in 2008 as a Group Director in Technology Center 2100.
Mr. Hirshfeld received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Vermont, and a J.D. from Western New England College School of Law.
Assistant Director, Research Policy
Dr. Bethany R. Johns is the Assistant Director of Research Policy at APLU. She works on research policy and regulatory issues related to sustaining the excellence of public research universities, as well as staff the Council on Research. Before joining APLU, Dr. Johns worked in Government Relations for the American Institute of Physics (AIP) managing the government relations advocacy services and administering tailored, nuanced strategies to educate, inform and constructively influence policy and policymakers. Dr. Johns has worked on a broad spectrum of issues regarded science and innovation including: Agriculture, energy, and environmental science for American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America; Science policy consultant to the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, the premier trade association of over 40 businesses at the forefront of commercial aerospace; and at the American Astronomical Society’s public policy office successfully in securing millions of federal dollars appropriated for the space sciences. Dr. Johns obtained her Ph.D. and Masters in Physics from Clemson University with an emphasis in policy studies and a B.A. in Physics from Kenyon College.
National Medal of Technology and Innovation Recipient
National Medal of Science Recipient
National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductee
David H. Koch Institute Professor
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Robert S. Langer is the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT (there are 13 Institute Professors at MIT; being an Institute Professor is the highest honor that can be awarded to a faculty member). He has written more than 1,400 articles. He also has over 1,300 issued and pending patents worldwide. His many awards include the United States National Medal of Science, the United States National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the Charles Stark Draper Prize (considered the engineering Nobel Prize), Albany Medical Center Prize (largest US medical prize), the Wolf Prize for Chemistry and the Lemelson-MIT prize, for being “one of history’s most prolific inventors in medicine.” Langer is one of the very few individuals ever elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering ,the National Academy of Inventors and the National Academy of Sciences.
University Professor & Albert and Wilda Van Dusen
Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
University of Connecticut
Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D. is the University Professor and Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Endowed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Connecticut. A surgeon-engineer-scientist, he is Professor of Chemical, Materials, and Biomedical Engineering at UConn. He serves as Chief Executive Officer of the Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering, at UConn Health. He earned his B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University, his M.D., Magna Cum Laude, from the Harvard Medical School, and his Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Laurencin has produced seminal research and technologies on nanotechnology and tissue regeneration, polymer/ceramic systems for bone regeneration, and biomaterials for soft tissue regeneration. Dr. Laurencin is a pioneer of the field of Regenerative Engineering. He received the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, and the National Science Foundation’s Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation Grant Award for this field. For his work he has received singular honors including the American Association for the Advancement of Science Philip Hauge Abelson Prize given ‘for signal contributions to the advancement of science in the United States’, the Simon Ramo Founder’s Award from the National Academy of Engineering and the Walsh McDermott Prize from the National Academy of Medicine. He is the first in history to win all three of these awards. Dr. Laurencin is a world leader in invention and innovation, and he is the recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, America’s highest award for technological achievement, award by President Barack Obama in ceremonies at the White House.
Smithsonian Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation
Arthur P. Molella, Ph.D., was the founding director, now emeritus, of the Smithsonian Institution’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History. He received his Ph.D. in the history of science from Cornell University and a Doctor of Science, honoris causa, from Westminster University, U.K (2005). At the National Museum of American History, he served variously as curator of electricity, chairman of the Department of History of Science and Technology, and assistant director for History. At Johns Hopkins University, he has served as Senior Lecturer, Dept. History of Science, and currently Lecturer M.A. in Museum Studies, On-Line, Advanced Academic Programs. He was head curator of the Smithsonian’s Science in American Life exhibition, co-curator of the international exhibition, Nobel Voices. He has published and lectured widely on the history of science, invention, technology, and modern technological culture. His most recent books include Places of Invention (Smithsonian, 2015), World’s Fairs on the Eve of War (Pittsburgh, 2015), World’s Fairs in the Cold War (Pittsburgh, 2019). In addition to serving on the Executive Advisory Board of the National Academy of Inventors, he is on the board of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame. He received the 2020 Leonardo da Vinci Medal of the Society for the History of Technology, the international society’s highest award.
Executive Vice President for Selection and Recognition
National Inventors Hall of Fame
Rini Paiva is the Executive Vice President for Selection and Recognition, National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF). In this role, she oversees the annual Inductee Selection process for the NIHF, working with a wide-ranging group of experts in science, technology, engineering, intellectual property, and history to ultimately recognize the world’s foremost patented inventors for their life-changing and innovative work. In addition, Paiva facilitates the Collegiate Inventors Competition (CIC), which brings recognition to the country’s outstanding college students who create the technologies that shape the future. Both the NIHF and the CIC are dedicated to recognizing and fostering invention, creativity, and entrepreneurship. Paiva also provides oversight for the NIHF Museum in Alexandria, Virginia, which features the life-changing Inductees of the NIHF and demonstrates the power of intellectual property and innovation. Also integral to her work is encouraging NIHF Inductees to be involved in the organization’s education programs, Camp Invention and Invention Project, so that they may serve as inspiration, encouragement, and examples to younger generations. With the National Inventors Hall of Fame since 1995, Paiva is an authority on the topic of U.S. invention.
Technology Transfer Officer
Versiti | Blood Research Institute
Laura is the Technology Transfer Officer for the non-profit organization Versiti | Blood Research Institute. In this role, she is responsible for technology protection, commercialization, and partnership development. Laura has a diverse background as a research scientist, entrepreneur, and start-up advisor, and broad experience bringing inventions to market. Laura’s early career in medical research focused on vaccine trials, molecular virology, stem cell biology, transplant/oncology, and cellular assays. Her past roles include Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Prodesse, a company she co-founded, which makes molecular infectious disease diagnostic products and is now part of Hologic. Laura has served on the boards for the Alliance of Technology Transfer Professionals (ATTP) which confers the Registered Technology Transfer Professional credential for the profession and for AUTM where she currently serves as Chair.
Deputy Vice President for Federal Relations and Counsel Policy
Jessica Sebeok has served at AAU since August 2014. As the Deputy Vice President for Federal Relations and Counsel for Policy, she has primary responsibilities for issues related to intellectual property and information technology and technology transfer. She shares responsibilities for a wide range of other regulatory, compliance and legal issues that affect research universities. She is the lead staff for the AAU Council on Federal Relations and the AAU General Counsels Committee.
She previously served as Counsel for Policy and International Affairs in the U.S. Copyright Office, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, and Assistant General Counsel of Yale University.
Jessica received her JD from Yale Law School and her master’s degree from the University of Oxford, where she was a Marshall Scholar. She earned her BA in History from the University of Chicago.
Associate Director for Innovation and Industry Services
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Phillip Singerman is the Senior Advisor on Technology Transfer and Commercialization to the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation and Elected Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. From 2011-2020 he served as the Associate Director for Innovation and Industry Services at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In this capacity he was responsible for the NIST suite of external partnership programs, including the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, the Office of Advanced Manufacturing, NIST technology transfer, economic analysis, and small business innovation research awards.
Singerman has more than 40 years of experience in tech based economic development; he was the first chief executive of two of the best known and longest lasting private-public partnerships; the Ben Franklin Technology Center of Southeastern Pennsylvania and the Maryland Technology Development Corporation. During the Clinton Administration he served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, a Presidential appointment requiring Senate confirmation.
James K. (Jim) Woodell, Ph.D. helps to realize the economic and societal impact of higher education. He provides professional services to institutions of higher education, and to their current and prospective partners in the private, civic, and government sectors. Spanning multiple areas of impact, his expertise includes: community development and improved quality of life in regions through higher education engagement, outreach, and public service; education, training, and workforce development, including strategies for design and delivery of programs; and R&D and innovation, including technological advancement, entrepreneurship, and regional technology-based economic development.
Woodell recently served as Vice President for Economic Development and Community Engagement at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), where he worked closely with member institutions to develop tools and resources to enhance their regional engagement and economic development efforts. He served as the staff director for APLU’s Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity (CICEP), and also the organization’s Council on Engagement and Outreach (CEO), advancing APLU’s economic and community engagement agenda. Woodell maintains APLU’s strong presence in national issues related to the economic and social impacts of public research universities.
Science Policy and Communications Analyst
National Science Foundation
Denise Zannino, Ph.D. is a Science Policy and Communications Analyst at the National Science Foundation in the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs. In this capacity she is responsible for internal communications and strategic visioning, project management for special events such as press conferences and symposiums, and general science outreach and communications projects. Prior to this role Denise was a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow in the same office.
Denise earned her Ph.D. in neuroscience from Vanderbilt University, and a BS in biology and psychology from James Madison University. She is passionate about utilizing her scientific background and experience in biomedical research to communicate science to a varied range of audiences including the public, media, and other scientists, and to promote scientific programs, outreach, and awareness.