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Boime, Covey named National Academy of Inventors senior members

Developmental biologists recognized for successes in developing therapeutics

February 14, 2019

Developmental biologists Irving Boime, PhD, and Douglas Covey, PhD, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, have been named senior members of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). They are being recognized for their success in patents, licensing and commercialization, and for producing “technologies that have brought, or aspire to bring, real impact on the welfare of society.”

They will be honored in April at the NAI Annual Meeting in Houston.


Boime, a professor of developmental biology and of obstetrics and gynecology, has developed therapeutics that improve in vitro fertilization protocols for women who have difficulty conceiving. Boime and his colleagues developed a way to extend the time a vital hormone required for ovulation remains in the bloodstream, reducing a week’s worth of daily shots to a single injection. The technology can be applied to other conditions in which maintaining the stability of a hormone in the blood longer is beneficial, including growth disorders and hemophilia.


Covey, a professor of developmental biology, of anesthesiology and of psychiatry, pioneered the study of neurosteroids and their potential to treat metabolic, cardiovascular and psychiatric diseases. His lab is a world leader in the manufacture of enantiomeric steroids, or steroids whose structures are mirror images of one another. Differences in structure can lead to remarkably different physiologic effects. Covey is a co-founder of SAGE Therapeutics, a company working to bring his lab’s novel chemical compounds into clinical use. The work shows promise for new therapies for epilepsy, depression and essential tremor.