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Three SBU Researchers Win 2023 Young Academic Inventor’s Award

Sima Mofakham

The National Academy of Inventors, Stony Brook University Chapter (NAI-SBU) presented its 2023 Young Academic Inventors Award to Sima Mofakham, Jann Stavro and Yifan Zhou.

The winners, announced during the NAI-SBU Chapter Annual Meeting in May, presented a short lecture of their inventions at the Young Academic Inventors Award Symposium via Zoom on December 11. They were each honored with a certificate and a $1,000 award.

Sean Boykevisch, executive director of the NAI-SBU and director of Stony Brook University’s Intellectual Property Partners, and Iwao Ojima, president of the NAI-SBU Chapter and distinguished professor in the Department of Chemistry welcomed the crowd to the symposium and introduced the keynote speaker, Wei Zhao, professor in the Department of Radiology, along with this year’s winners.

Zhao addressed how to get involved in inventing as a graduate student, and how to nurture an inventive spirit in students when working as a professor. Her inventions relate to X-ray detectors, and she was first encouraged when in graduate school by a professor to apply for a patent.

Nai stavro
Jann Stavro

She now does the same for her own students, motivating them to apply for patents whenever possible to get involved in the inventive process very early on in their career.

Sima Mofakham, assistant professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stony Brook Renaissance School of Medicine (PhD 2016, Biophysics, University of Michigan), won the award “for her inventions of an automated method to measure the level of consciousness, as well as on the neuromodulatory approaches to restore consciousness in brain injury patients.”

Jann Stavro, a medical physics resident in the Department of Radiology at Stony Brook Renaissance School of Medicine (PhD 2020, Biomedical Engineering, Stony Brook University), won the award “for his inventions on the development of novel amorphous selenium sensors for medical imaging applications.”  

Yifan Zhou, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (PhD 2019, Electrical Engineering, Tsinghua University), won the award “for her inventions on the development of a series of quantum computing algorithms that can be successfully implemented on today’s quantum computers to solve large scale power system problems.”

Nai zhou
Yifan Zhou

“The recipients of this year’s award are truly rising stars and mentors to our incoming junior faculty, postdocs and graduate students,” said Boykevisch. “Their inventions are feeding the pipeline of innovation at Stony Brook and by honoring them, we hope to showcase that great research and innovation and inspire the next generation of innovators to follow in those footsteps.”

The event was moderated by Anil Dhundale, interim executive director of the Long Island High Technology Incubator (LIHTI) and NAI-SBU honorary member.

The NAI-SBU was established in 2016 to recognize innovation and invention. Membership includes a track record of academic innovation including inventorship, with at least one issued patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Members should enhance the visibility of university technology and academic innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society.

Inventors should be recognized for their imagination and accomplishments, and called upon to share their special translational talents within the university and the wider community.

The NAI-SBU Chapter established the Young Academic Inventors’ Award in 2017 to encourage early career inventors. Candidates are carefully evaluated in several stages by a panel of reviewers from the NAI-SBU Executive Committee.

For more information, visit the NAI-SBU website.

— Beth Squire


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