Annual ranking from the National Academy of Inventors and International Property Owners Association is a key measure of global innovation.
TAMPA, Fla. (June 15, 2021) – For the ninth consecutive year, University of South Florida inventors are among the most prolific producers of U.S. patents at universities worldwide, securing an institutional-record 123 patents in 2020.
The new ranking, released today, places USF eighth among American public research universities and 15th among more than 1,000 universities worldwide in generating new, novel and useful inventions granted intellectual property protection from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
The Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Utility Patents in 2020report uses data from USPTO in the previous calendar year and highlights the vital role patents play not only in university research and innovation, but in the global knowledge economy. Since the NAI/IPO began publishing its ranking in 2013, USF has been among the top 10 U.S. public universities and top 20 universities worldwide.
“The University of South Florida is proud to fuel the vibrancy and strength of the Tampa Bay regional economy by serving as a research and innovation powerhouse,” said USF President Steven Currall. “Patent production continues to be an important indicator of our performance as a top urban research university and vital to our nation’s competitiveness in today’s global innovation ecosystem.”
USF’s 2020 patents cover a wide range of disciplines, including medical sciences, robotics and cybersecurity. The current rankings do not take into account a myriad of COVID-19 related inventions produced by USF faculty and students in 2020 that gained global acclaim as the pandemic unfolded.
“USF researchers have become known worldwide for their dedication to finding new ways of solving old problems and addressing entrenched global challenges,” said David Conrad, the director of the university’s Technology Transfer Office. “While this ranking is one measure of their achievements, even more significant to USF’s faculty and student inventors is the potential each new patent holds to save lives, shape the future and make our region’s growing knowledge economy even stronger through the new industries and jobs that flow from innovative ideas.”
Here are some of the highlights of USF’s 2020 patents:
Neonatal pain monitoring is one of the most challenging aspects of caring for newborns, especially fragile premature babies. The task of determining when babies need pain medicine most often falls to nurses, who rely on years of experience to visually monitor an infant for signs of pain. A team of USF medical and engineering experts collaborated in creating an artificial intelligence-enabled system of cameras and sensors that monitors infants’ cries, limb movements, vital signs and facial expression to alert care givers to the earliest signs of pain. Morsani College of Medicine’s Dr. Terri Ashmeade and College of Engineering Professors Dmitry Goldgof, Yu Sun and Rangachar Katsuri, along with USF engineering doctoral alum Ghada Al Zamzmi are the inventors.
The invention of a system that converts human wastewater into nutrients, energy and clean water, by USF engineering Professor Daniel Yeh and Senior Development Engineer Robert Bair, has become one of the world’s most hopeful technologies in solving a myriad of health and sustainability issues in communities around the world. Three international companies have licensed the technology and are manufacturing the system for distribution in India and South Africa. The NEWgenerator system was recognized last year with the USPTO’s 2020 Patents for Humanity Award. In addition to Yeh and Bair, USF engineering alums Onur Ozcan, George Dick, Jorge Calabria and Matthew Woodham are the inventors.
Alya Limayem, an assistant professor in the Taneja College of Pharmacy, and Shyam Mohapatra, a USF Distinguished Professor in the Morsani College of Medicine, teamed up to create a new substance to fight drug-resistant bacteria using natural antimicrobial agents as an alternative to synthetic chemicals. Chitosan oligomer is a derivative of a material taken from the exoskeleton of crustaceans, such as shrimp and crabs, and is non-toxic and biodegradable. The most common use of zinc oxide nanoparticles is in sunscreen, ointment and as an immune system boosting supplement. The inventors unexpectedly found that a formulation of these two substances is effective against multi-drug resistant fecal bacteria without harming beneficial bacteria.
High concentrations of ammonia produced by fish waste can be lethal to the fish. The product is a user-friendly, sustainable, affordable product capable of extending the life of contained fish by removing ammonia with a natural, non-toxic product derived from earth minerals commonly found in volcanic deposits. The project was led by College of Engineering Professor Norma Alcantar, who recently was announced as a new inductee to the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame. Engineering Professor Sarina Ergas and doctoral alumna Wen Zhao are co-inventors.
Endometriosis produces debilitating pain, infertility and a risk of developing rare types of ovarian tumors. Treatment usually involves medication, hormone therapy or surgery – but often women with the condition undergo multiple treatments and surgeries that do not resolve the condition. Meera Nanjudan, an associate professor in the Department of Cell Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology, collaborated with USF doctoral alum Kyle Bauckman and Idhaliz Flores of Ponce Health Sciences University in developing methods of diagnosing, treating and preventing endometriosis at the cellular level with the use of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine.
About the University of South Florida
The University of South Florida is a high-impact global research university dedicated to student success. Over the past 10 years, no other public university in the country has risen faster in U.S. News and World Report’s national university rankings than USF. Serving more than 50,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee, USF is designated as a Preeminent State Research University by the Florida Board of Governors, placing it in the most elite category among the state’s 12 public universities. USF has earned widespread national recognition for its success graduating under-represented minority and limited-income students at rates equal to or higher than white and higher income students. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference. Learn more at www.usf.edu.