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2 INDIAN AMERICANS AMONG 3 TAMPA USF faculty members PICKED as new National Academy of Inventors Fellows

Three University of South Florida faculty members, including two Indian Americans, whose inventions in engineering, molecular medicine and chemistry are shaping drug discovery, environmental sustainability and modern dental care have been selected as new National Academy of Inventors Fellows.

Morsani College of Medicine Professor Subhra Mohapatra, USF Institute for Advanced Discovery & Innovation Professor Sumita Mitra and USF College of Engineering Professor Norma Alcantar were selected for the honor, which is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors.

“Through their brilliant ideas and tireless efforts, these three inventors have created an incalculable impact on our world that is as impressive as it is inspiring,” USF President Rhea Law said. “The honor of being named an NAI Fellow not only recognizes their achievements but also celebrates them as trailblazing women who continue to encourage and mentor a new generation of innovators in pursuing the fullest measures of their abilities and ambitions.”

The three new Fellows from USF are among 164 distinguished academic inventors from 116 research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes worldwide who make up the 2021 class of Fellows. The new Fellows will be formally recognized in June at the NAI’s 2022 annual conference in Phoenix. The new selections bring USF’s total number of NAI Fellows to 26.

Meet this year’s honorees:

Subhra Mohapatra, PhD, Professor of Molecular Medicine, Morsani College of Medicine, Research Career Scientist, James A. Haley Veterans Hospital.

Mohapatra is a pioneering scientist/researcher whose work over 26 years has been instrumental in advancing the frontiers of drug delivery of therapeutics for cancer, traumatic brain injury and COVID-19. She developed a novel 3D scaffold for cell culture, now universally known as “tumor-on-a-disc” technology, enabling scientists to grow tumors in the lab which can be used to culture patient biopsies, test for anticancer compounds, and allow tailoring of personalized cancer treatment. This platform has led to a line of cell biology products which have been commercialized globally. She also pioneered novel methods significantly advancing drug delivery for cancer.

Sumita B. Mitra, PhD, Professor, USF Institute for Advanced Discovery & Innovation.

Mitra is a 2018 inductee to the National Inventors Hall of Fame and is a faculty member in USF’s Institute for Advanced Discovery & Innovation, which brings together internationally recognized senior leaders — academics, industry heads, and innovators from diverse fields — to advise the administrative leadership of the university, share insights with USF's high-achieving faculty, and mentors promising students. Mitra previously worked for more than 32 years at 3M Company as Corporate Scientist in the 3M Oral Care Division where she led the new materials/products research and development efforts.

Norma A. Alcantar, PhD, Professor of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering, USF College of Engineering Associate Dean for Research




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