University of Arizona Women Elected Senior Members of the National Academy of Inventors

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Tucson, Ariz. (February 11, 2021) – The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) has named 61 academic inventors to the 2021 class of NAI Senior Members. Among these are professors May Khanna and Meredith Hay of the University of Arizona

NAI Senior Members are active faculty, scientists and administrators from NAI Member Institutions who have demonstrated remarkable innovation producing technologies that have brought, or aspire to bring, real impact on the welfare of society. They also have growing success in patents, licensing and commercialization. 

The ability to nominate an individual for NAI Senior Member recognition is an exclusive opportunity afforded solely to NAI Member Institutions like the UArizona to recognize their outstanding innovators. These organizations themselves are widely regarded as innovation powerhouses which continuously promote and foster the spirit of innovation. 

“As a driver of innovation at the center of an increasingly entrepreneurial and creative region of our nation, the University of Arizona is proud to have women like Khanna and Hay as members of our faculty,” said Doug Hockstad, assistant vice president of Tech Launch Arizona (TLA), the office of the university that works with researchers to commercialize inventions stemming from UArizona innovation. “All have not only excelled in their fields but have made the commitment to be a part of the growing culture of innovators working to move their inventions into the public sphere to make a better world for all of us.”  

Meredith Hay, Ph.D., College of Medicine – Tucson, BIO5 Institute 

Meredith Hay joined the UArizona Health Sciences faculty in 2008. She is a professor of physiology in the College of Medicine – Tucson and is a member of the BIO5 InstituteSarver Heart Center and Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute. Internationally known for her work in cardiovascular neurobiology, Hay was one of the first scientists to look at the role of sex differences in development of hypertension. Her studies helped establish guidelines to include gender differences in the treatment of high blood pressure. 

Substantial evidence links increases in systemic inflammation to impaired cognitive function. In addition, scientific studies have linked early Alzheimer’s to inflammation in the brain. There are currently no effective treatments for inflammation related brain disease and memory loss. In response to these needs, Hay’s research focuses on inflammation-related brain disease and the development of novel peptides to inhibit this inflammatory cascade and improve brain blood flow. These peptides act to inhibit the inflammatory pathways at both the level of brain blood vessels and the brain itself. 

Hay worked with TLA to protect the technology and license it to ProNeurogen Inc., a biopharmaceutical startup she founded. The company’s goal is to develop drug therapies for preventing and treating cognitive impairment and pain caused by inflammation. 

Read the full article from Tech Launch Arizona here