By Jean Gordon Cook
(JACKSON, Miss.) – Five Jackson State University researchers were recognized as pioneers in their fields July 21 during an induction ceremony into the National Academy of Inventors.
The inductees include biology professors Ernest B. Izevbigie and Hari Parshad Cohly and chemistry professors Paresh Ray, Ming-Ju Huang and Kenneth S. Lee. Also inducted was former JSU biology professor John E. Piletz, who worked with Huang and Lee on the patent they received.
JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers opened the ceremony by thanking the researchers for their commitment to science and to the university.
“Thank you for putting Jackson State on the map of innovation,” Meyers said. “Because of you, the university’s image soars even higher.”
Earlier this year, Jackson State became a charter member of the National Academy of Inventors, which was founded at the University of South Florida to recognize inventors who have a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The JSU researchers are the first inventors at Jackson State to be inducted into the academy.
Izevbigie has earned two patents, including one for a formula he created from a Nigerian herbal shrub called Veronica amygdalina, or bitter leaf. Izevbigie’s research led to the formation of the JSU-initiated company EdoBotanics, which sells dietary supplements to boost the immune system and help with the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. The government of Nigeria recently gave the company its approval to manufacture and sell the dietary capsules in the country.
Working with Piletz, Huang and Lee earned a patent for an invention that provides for methods and compounds for treating brain trauma and for designing and identifying inhibitors of agmatine in the brain. Lee also serves on the editorial board of the National Academy of Inventors international journal, Technology and Innovation-Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors.
Cohly earned two provisional patents, one for an oxygen displacement technology to remove rust from iron tools and structures, and one for clean green fuel technology.
Ray earned a provisional patent for his work using a laser system and popcorn-shaped gold nanoparticles to detect and kill cancer cells. His work is moving forward through partnerships with Penn State University and Harvard Medical School to conduct animal models.
“We’re looking forward to more patents with this,” Ray said. “This is a completely new technology.”
JSU vice president for research and federal relations Felix Okojie said the university is accelerating its efforts to encourage innovation among faculty, staff and students.
“We want to make sure the intellectual property of our researchers is used for the good of society,” he said.