VCU innovation and research leader honored by National Academy of Inventors

P. Srirama Rao, Ph.D., the university’s vice president for research and innovation, was inducted as a senior member of the National Academy of Inventors during its annual meeting in Tampa, Florida. In addition, VCU Massey Cancer Center researcher Swadesh K. Das, Ph.D., was also inducted as a senior member of the NAI this fall.

Senior member honorees are active faculty, scientists and administrators from member institutions who have demonstrated remarkable innovation-producing technologies that have brought, or aspire to bring, real impact on the welfare of society, according to the National Academy of Inventors. “With the NAI senior member award distinction, we are recognizing innovators who are rising stars in their fields and the innovative ecosystems that support their work,” says Paul R. Sanberg, Ph.D., D.Sc., president of the National Academy of Inventors. “This new class is joining a prolific group of academic visionaries already defining tomorrow.”

Rao heads VCU’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation and is a member of the School of Medicine’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology. He is the inventor on eight U.S. patents that are being commercialized by two companies he co-founded: Mardil, a medical device company, and Diakron Pharmaceuticals, a cardiovascular drug development company.

Das’ research spans diversified areas of cancer biology, including molecular targeting, drug discovery and cancer diagnosis. His inventions with his collaborators focus on understanding cancer metastasis and developing targeted therapeutics. Currently, he is recognized as an inventor on five issued patents and six patent applications. In addition, Das’ research work has generated numerous invention disclosures with strong potential for future patents. 

Rao and Das join other faculty members of the VCU community to be named senior members: Ben Ward, Ph.D., Supriyo Bandyopadhyay, Ph.D., Everett Carpenter, Ph.D., and Shunlin Ren, M.D., Ph.D.