Milner & Georgiou Named Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors

Two professors in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Thomas Milner and George Georgiou, have been named Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

They join professor Nicholas Peppas as NAI fellows from the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Election to NAI Fellow status is a high professional distinction accorded to renowned academic inventors who have demonstrated a 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.

headshot of George Georgiou

Georgiou holds the Laura Jennings Turner Chair in Engineering. His research is focused on the discovery and preclinical development of antibody and enzyme therapeutics, the development of tools for the understanding of serological and B cell antibody repertoire, and the high-resolution evaluation of humoral responses to vaccines for seasonal influenza and other diseases.

After working with an antibody being developed for the treatment of prophylaxis of inhalational anthrax disease, Georgiou pursued clinical evaluation of protein therapeutics for cancer treatment. He creates protein therapeutics to target specific amino acids, taking advantage of a cancerous cell's metabolic vulnerability and, in turn, selectively killing the tumor while the normal cells are unaffected. Georgiou has also developed methods used for the manufacturing of protein drugs to treat macular degeneration and osteoporosis. 

Georgiou is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering, and American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has co-authored more than 230 refereed publications and holds 82 issued and pending U.S. patents. Georgiou founded oGGMJD LLC in 1999, Aeglea Biotherapeutics in 2013, and Kyn Therapeutics in 2015. In 2014 he was honored as UT Austin's Inventor of the Year and he was named one of the top 20 translational researchers of 2013 by Nature Biotechnology. 

He arrived at UT Austin in 1997 as an assistant professor in chemical engineering and was one of the founding members of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. 

photo of Thomas Milner

Milner, who holds the Joe J. King Professorship in Engineering, develops innovative medical diagnostic imaging and laser surgical technologies. He pioneered the development of optical-based imaging and surgical instrumentation applications that help physicians and patients in clinical settings. His applied research and inventions have helped physicians better treat many skin disorders using lasers as well as detect and diagnose diseases such as glaucoma and heart disease.

In 1994, Milner and his colleagues developed a technique to rapidly cool human skin just before the operation of pulsed laser surgery. The dynamic cooling device Milner and his colleagues developed has been installed in thousands of clinical laser systems worldwide and has been used to treat patients who were not candidates for therapy previously. Milner is also one of the early developers of a technology known as optical coherence tomography, which uses a fiber optic interferometer in combination with a broadband light source to image tissues.

He cofounded CardioSpectra Inc., a San Antonio-based company that was sold to the Volcano Corporation. The multimillion-dollar transaction has been named one of the greatest return-on-investments for the Texas Emerging Technology Fund. Milner's inventions have been widely used during the past decade in clinical laser treatment systems offered globally by Candela Laser Corporation.

Milner is also a fellow with the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and was honored with UT Austin's Inventor of the Year Award in 2013. He has received numerous research awards from private and national foundations such as Clayton, Whitaker, and the National Institutes of Health.

He joined the faculty of UT Austin in 1998 and is a founding member of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Throughout his career, Milner has been named co-inventor on more than 40 issued U.S. and international patents, and he has co-authored more than 155 peer-reviewed publications.