Dr. Emad Alnemri Named National Academy of Inventors Fellow


Emad S. Alnemri, PhDHeadshot of Dr. Emad Alnemri, Thomas Eakins Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – Jefferson Health (SKCC), has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

The NAI Fellows Program was established in 2012 to highlight academic inventors and innovators. Election to NAI Fellow status is the highest professional accolade bestowed solely to academic inventors who have demonstrated a highly prolific 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.

Those elected to the rank of NAI Fellow are named inventors on U.S. patents and were nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation.

Dr. Alnemri is an internationally renowned leader in the field of programmed cell death (apoptosis). In the past 25 years, he has led ground-breaking research on the molecular pathways of apoptosis resulting in the discovery of many human caspases, protease enzymes that cleave cellular proteins during apoptosis and inflammation. His research on the function of inflammatory caspases led to the discovery of several inflammasome complexes that are important for production of inflammatory cytokines during inflammation and innate immune responses to pathogens.

Dr. Alnemri is the recipient of the 2011 Jefferson Medical College Research Career Achievement Award. He has authored or co-authored more than 180 peer-reviewed publications. In 2008, he was named an ISI (Thomson Reuters) Highly Cited Researcher in Molecular Biology and Genetics, and in 2013, a Stanford University study named him as one of the top 400 highly influential biomedical researchers evaluated from 1996 to 2011. His work has been cited more than 67,000 times, according to Google Scholar. Dr. Alnemri holds 34 U.S. and 11 foreign patents and has over 9 technologies that are sublicensed to Conatus Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a publicly traded company.

He recently received a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and a $300,000 grant from the Dr. Ralph and Marian Falk Medical Research Trust to study a novel caspase-3 substrate called DFNA5 he discovered two years ago. One of the aims of his new research is to examine the role of DFNA5-mediated cell death in tumor recognition by the immune system with the goal of developing more effective and durable anticancer therapies.

With the election of the 2018 class, there are now more than 1,000 NAI Fellows, representing more than 250 research universities and government and non-profit research institutes. The 2018 fellows are named inventors on nearly 4,000 issued U.S. patents, bringing the collective patents held by all NAI Fellows to more than 35,000 issued U.S. patents.

The 2018 fellows will be inducted in a ceremony April 11, 2019, at the Space Center Houston during the NAI Eighth Annual Meeting. Andrew H. Hirshfeld, U.S. Commissioner for Patents for the United States Patent and Trademark Office, will provide the keynote address for the ceremony.