University of Georgia

Three faculty named NAI Senior Members

University of Georgia researchers Mark Eitman,
From left to right, Mark Eiteman, Holly Sellers and Mark Jackwood have been elected as Senior Members of the National Academy of Inventors. (Photos by Robert Newcomb, Peter Frey and Sue Myers Smith)

The National Academy of Inventors has named three University of Georgia faculty members to the 2021 class of NAI Senior Members, including two from the Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center (PDRC).

Mark Eiteman, professor in the College of Engineering, and Holly Sellers and Mark Jackwood, both professors in the College of Veterinary Medicine and researchers at PDRC, join a class of 61 academic inventors representing 36 research universities along with government and nonprofit research institutes worldwide. The new inductees represent named inventors on over 617 issued U.S. patents.

Jackwood is a molecular virologist with research interests in avian respiratory viruses. As the J.R. Glisson Professor of Avian Medicine, director of PDRC and head of the Department of Population Health, he focuses on avian coronaviruses. His work uses molecular techniques for the identification, characterization and control of these viruses. During his time at UGA, Jackwood has filed 18 invention disclosures, leading to four issued U.S. patents and multiple pending patent applications. He was named UGA Inventor of the Year in 2016.

“I would like to thank the NAI for this incredible honor and acknowledge the support of UGA’s Innovation Gateway team,” said Jackwood. “It takes a team working closely together to develop new and innovative products, and I am grateful to be part of such an outstanding group of scientists and clinicians at the Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center. On behalf of the faculty, staff and students who have helped me research, develop and bring new technologies and products to the marketplace, I sincerely thank you for this honor.”

Sellers specializes in viruses that cause respiratory, enteric and musculoskeletal disease in poultry, aiming to develop solutions for combatting both existing and emerging diseases. Her research has generated 14 invention disclosures and six issued U.S. patents, with another U.S. patent application pending and a multitude of pending and issued foreign patents. In 2019, Sellers was the first woman in almost 20 years to receive the UGA Inventor of the Year award.

“It’s a great honor to be elected as a NAI Senior Member,” said Sellers. “I am so thankful and appreciate all of the support I’ve received through my department and college, and especially from the great group of professionals at UGA’s Innovation Gateway. I also feel so fortunate to work with a dedicated and talented lab team who provide excellent support for all of my projects.”

Eiteman’s expertise lies in metabolic engineering, bioprocess engineering and fermentation technology. He has been named inventor on 20 invention disclosures and 10 issued U.S. patents, plus dozens of foreign patents. Several of his patents are licensed to multinational companies, and his licensed inventions are associated with the production of over 20 commodity chemicals. Eiteman received the UGA Inventor of the Year award in 2014.

“Being recognized by the National Academy of Inventors for the inventive process is a great honor, and one that would not have been possible without the enthusiasm and dedication of many talented students during my career,” said Eiteman, who has a courtesy appointment in microbiology. “It also would not have been possible without the encouragement of UGA administration and faculty who value a culture of innovation. The honor motivates me to redouble my efforts to support and mentor the future generation of scholars.”

Innovation Gateway has played a key role in the university’s Innovation District initiative to take on challenges from multiple angles, shape discoveries into marketable solutions, provide customizable problem-solving, and educate tomorrow’s creators to be skilled, experienced, and versatile.

The NAI Senior Member program recognizes national and international academic inventors who have demonstrated success in developing new technologies that benefit society. Senior members are elected biannually.

A full list of NAI Senior Members is available on the NAI website.