February 3, 2021

Two LSU Professors Recently Selected by NAI

Two LSU Professors Recently Selected by NAI

Recently, the National Academy of Inventors, or NAI, elected 175 fellows including two LSU professors, as learned by a press release from Louisiana State University.

Among the 175 newly elected fellows are LSU School of Veterinary Medicine’s Pathobiological Sciences Professor and Virologist Konstantin “Gus” Kousoulas, as well as, LSU College of the Coast and Environment’s Department of Environmental Science Professor Emeritus and Ecotoxicologist Ralph Porter. Both Porter and Kousoulas have been elected as an NAI Fellow, and thus they have been bestowed the professional distinction accorded solely to academic investors.

To date, NAI fellows hold more than 42,700 issued United States patents, which have generated over 13,000 licensed technologies, companies, and the creation of more than 36 million jobs. In addition to this, revenue totaling over $2.2 trillion has been generated based on discoveries made by NAI fellows.

The Director of Louisiana State University’s Office of Innovation and Technology Commercialization, Andrew Maas,said of the incredible honor bestowed on the school’s faculty, “in the midst of the pandemic, we are watching in real-time how scientific discovery works—whether its rapidly improving tests or developing a vaccine that will save millions of lives—it’s clear how crucial innovation is to our society. Therefore, it’s an honor to recognize these experts, who are also innovators and pioneers.”

Of the NAI Fellows, Professor Konstantin Kousoulas’s research team at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is currently working on vaccines to combat COVID-19 and other influenza viruses. Kousoulas holds 18 patents that span innovations in gene delivery, vaccines for viruses in humans and animals, and bacteria and immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer.

Professor Kousoulas previously worked on SARS-COV in 2003 as well as other coronaviruses that infect and cause substantial disease in animals, and specifically, he led USDA-funded projects that describe acute pneumonia in cattle caused by bovine coronavirus, which is a similar disease to the current COVID-19.

Also elected as an NAI fellow, Environmental Toxicologist and Professor Emeritus Ralph Porter holds eight patents himself, and they are related to the bioremediation of contaminated sediment and soil using custom microbial habitats,or bioreactors. As of now, 265 sites across the United States and 12 international sites have been remediated usingLSU biomedical patents and intellectual property developed by Porter.

Before his nearly 40-year career at LSU, Porter also notably helped shape policies and processes for the Environmental Protection Agency, but in his time at LSU, he has developed a vast library of bioremediation microbes. Such microbes have helped private companies as well as local, state, and federal agencies mitigate a variety of environmental hazards in the United States and in the international world, where they can be used to break down dangerous chemicals and pollutants such as herbicides, plastics, fuels, and pesticides.

Porter  remarked on the necessity for such work by saying, “our ability to design biofilms specifically to target certain types of hazardous waste is probably the most important of the patents developed here at LSU. We have designed reactor systems which have been used successfully in almost every state in the union and in a dozen or so countries overseas.”

In addition to the honor that is being elected as an NAI fellow, Porter is also a recipient of the George W. Goethals Medal, which is the highest technical merit award that is awarded to an engineer or scientist. The Medal is named in memory of the builder of the Panama Canal. Porter is a Louisiana native as well as an alumnus of LSU, where he received his PHD in Oceanography and Coastal Sciences in 1982 before joining the faculty at LSU in 1984.

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