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Lodge elected to National Academy of Inventors

Vice chancellor for research honored for scientific innovation

by Tamara BhandariDecember 13, 2016

Robert Boston

Jennifer K. Lodge, PhD, vice chancellor for research at Washington University in St. Louis and the holder of a patent for virus-resistant potato plants, has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). The 2016 class of NAI fellows was announced Tuesday, Dec. 13.

Lodge is being recognized for demonstrating innovation in creating and facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.

The newest class of fellows – comprising 175 scientists from universities and governmental and nonprofit institutions – will be honored at a ceremony April 6 in Boston.

“It is a great honor to be selected by the NAI as a fellow,” Lodge said. “I believe that scientific innovation is crucial for turning insights from basic research into practical advancements that can benefit society, and I am enthusiastic about encouraging research, entrepreneurship and innovation on campus.”

As vice chancellor for research, Lodge is the university’s senior research official. She encourages innovation and entrepreneurship, and supports the translation of discoveries into knowledge and technologies that will benefit society.

Lodge is also associate dean for research and a professor of molecular microbiology at the School of Medicine. Her research focuses on disease-causing fungi, particularly Cryptococcus neoformans, which infects the lungs, brain and tissues around the brain and spinal cord, causing more than a half-million deaths every year. She co-led the team that sequenced the C. neoformans genome, and she continues to study the fungal cell wall to develop new targets for antifungal therapies and vaccines.

Lodge previously served as associate dean for research and a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. She completed postdoctoral fellowships at Monsanto Co. and Washington University, and served as a research assistant at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and at Harvard University. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, and her doctorate in biomedical sciences from Washington University in 1988.

Lodge was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2011 and a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in 2010.

The NAI was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 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.

The 2016 fellows were selected by a committee of 19 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 U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association of University Technology Managers, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Other NAI fellows at Washington University include Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and Holden Thorp, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.

Washington University School of Medicine‘s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient-care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.