Two members of the UC Davis faculty are among the newly elected fellows of the National Academy of Inventors:
- David A. Horsley, professor, mechanical and aerospace engineering, College of Engineering
- Michael Rogawski, professor of neurology and pharmacology, School of Medicine
Their election brings to 12 the number of current UC Davis faculty members who are fellows of the academy. Established in 2012, the 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.
Horsley is co-founder and chief technology officer of TDK-Chirp Microsystems, a manufacturer of ultrasonic sensors using micro electromechanical systems, or MEMS, technology. Horsley holds 21 issued and licensed U.S. patents and 11 pending patent applications for MEMS-based sensors and actuators on silicon devices.
His pioneering use of piezoelectric micromachined ultrasonic transducers can be found in a wide variety of consumer electronics applications, such as range finding and fingerprint sensing for phones and home electronics; drone and robot navigation; precise three-dimensional tracking for virtual/augmented reality/gaming; and most recently in wearable tags for COVID-19 contact tracing and social distancing.
Rogawski holds seven U.S. patents and has additional pending patent applications, mostly related to new treatment approaches for seizures and epilepsy. His work in neurotherapeutics laid the groundwork for the development of epilepsy drugs, including perampanel (Fycompa), now used throughout the world to treat various forms of epilepsy.
Rogawski is the inventor, with UC Davis project scientist Dorota Zolkowska, of brexanolone (Zulresso), the first Food and Drug Administration-approved drug for the treatment of postpartum depression. Zulresso, licensed by UC to Sage Therapeutics, became commercially available in the United States in June 2019 and is being used at more than 40 clinical sites, including UC Davis Medical Center.
Horsley and Rogawski are among 175 academic inventors elected to the academy this year. As a group, the 2020 fellows hold more than 4,700 issued U.S. patents.
An induction ceremony is scheduled to take place in June during the 10th annual meeting of the National Academy of Inventors Tampa, Florida.