PHILADELPHIA — Professors James Eberwine, PhD, of the Univeristy of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and Shu Yang, PhD, of Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, have been named Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors.

Election to NAI Fellow status is a high professional distinction accorded to 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.

James Eberwine is the Elmer Holmes Bobst Professor of Systems Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and co-director of the Penn Program in Single Cell Biology. He is a molecular neurobiologist whose research focuses on understanding the function of individual neurons and subregions of neurons, called dendrites, by using molecular biological tools. His lab has developed analytical procedures to characterize the mRNA and proteins present in single cells. This basic biomedical research has implications for studying brain function and such neurodegenerative diseases as Alzheimer’s and ALS.

Shu Yang is a professor in Penn Engineering’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Her work is focused on developing new materials with unique structures and functionalities inspired by biology. Her interest in self-assembled nanostructures and the self-organization process at surfaces and interfaces have several applications, including a colored or transparent superhydrophobic coating inspired by lotus leaves and butterfly wings, as well as solar energy collectors inspired by photosymbiotic giant clams.

Eberwine and Yang will be inducted on March 20, 2015, as part of the 4th Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. United States Patent and Trademark Office Deputy Commissioner for Patent Operations Andrew Faile will be providing the keynote address for the induction ceremony. Fellows will be presented with a trophy, medal and rosette pin in honor of their accomplishments.

The academic inventors and innovators 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.

The 2014 NAI Fellows Selection Committee comprises 17 members, including NAI Fellows, recipients of U.S. National Medals, National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees, members of the National Academies and senior officials from the USPTO, Association of American Universities, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Association of University Technology Managers and National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $6.7 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $392 million awarded in the 2016 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2016, Penn Medicine provided $393 million to benefit our community.