Laura Marcu Named National Academy of Inventors Fellow

By Aditi Risbud Bartl

DAVIS, Calif.; Dec. 12, 2017 – Laura Marcu, professor of biomedical engineering and neurological surgery at the University of California, Davis, has been recognized as a Fellow by the National Academy of Inventors.

Founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the NAI aims to enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society.

Laura Marcu Photo: Reeta Asmai/UC Davis

Marcu’s laboratory promotes better diagnosis, treatment and prevention of human diseases through optical spectroscopy and imaging techniques for medical diagnostics. In particular, her team uses fluorescence lifetime spectroscopy, ultrasound and optical coherence tomography to study disease processes in biological tissue. She is a fellow of the Optical Society, the International Society of Optical Engineering, the Biomedical Engineering Society and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Earlier this year, Marcu developed a catheter probe capable of imaging arteries inside a living heart. This innovative tool could help cardiologists predict heart attacks more reliably.

“I am honored to be elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. My passion is to develop optical diagnostic technologies that can impact the management of human diseases and that address critical societal problems – for example, cancer and cardiovascular disease,” said Marcu. “It is very rewarding to see biophotonic devices engineered in my laboratory used in patients. I hope – in the not too distant future – our devices can impact the way patients are treated and save lives.”

Election to NAI Fellow status is the highest professional distinction accorded solely 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.

“The highly collaborative environment at UC Davis bridging the College of Engineering and the School of Medicine has nurtured innovative applications of our optical technologies,” Marcu added. “I am fortunate to be surrounded by very supportive colleagues as well as talented students and researchers in my laboratory who have helped translate ideas to reality.”

The NAI Fellows Program has 757 Fellows worldwide representing more than 229 prestigious universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes. Collectively, the Fellows hold more than 26,500 issued U.S. patents, which have generated more than 9,400 licensed technologies and companies.

She will be inducted into the National Academy of Inventors at a ceremony in Washington, DC in April. Read about the Marcu lab here.