Dartmouth Engineering Professors Elected Senior Members of the National Academy of Inventors

February 11, 2020

By Julie Bonette

Two members of Dartmouth’s faculty have been named to the National Academy of Inventors’ (NAI) 2020 class of Senior Members: Laura Ray, Professor of Engineering and Senior Associate Dean of Faculty Development, and Stuart Trembly, Associate Professor of Engineering. 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 proven success in patents, licensing and commercialization.

Professor Ray, whose NASA- and National Science Foundation-funded research includes developing robots to support science in polar regions, served as interim dean of Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering from October 2018 to June 2019. She is a faculty fellow in Dartmouth’s Society of Fellows and was also the co-founder of Sound Innovations, Inc., and Clarisond, Inc. She co-leads Dartmouth’s I-Corps Sites Program, which is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and is meant to support promising technologies arising from Dartmouth research and experiential learning programs. She is also a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Society for Engineering Education, as well as a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

“I am honored to be recognized by the National Academy of Inventors for my work as an entrepreneur and for my work in support of young entrepreneurs at Dartmouth. My success would not have been possible without the help of the many co-inventors, collaborators, and partners who have contributed to all aspects of my engagement in entrepreneurship at Dartmouth,” said Ray. “I especially want to recognize Chris Pearson Tu'03 and Caroline Cannon Tu'98 for their contributions over the years, especially in the areas of business and mentorship. I am also especially grateful for the leadership of Associate Provost Eric Fossum and the service of the Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer and the Magnuson Center for their dedication to entrepreneurship at Dartmouth.”

Professor Trembly is the inventor and co-inventor of 16 patents, with four more currently under review. He is the founder or co-founder of four companies, including Avedro, which develops and commercializes technology for correcting vision disorders and went public with an IPO priced at $70 million last year. Trembly has taught at Dartmouth since 1983, the same year he received his PhD in biomedical engineering from the institution.

“Thayer School promotes invention through the outstanding examples of its well-known practitioners with national and world stature, as well as the support from its culture. It is a privilege to be here and have the inspiration of my hyper-accomplished fellow faculty members, as well as the tangible support from the organization itself, including that of former Thayer Overseer Ralph Crump,” said Trembly. “Dean Lewis Duncan and Dean Joe Helble supported faculty entrepreneurship for many years, and Dean Alexis Abramson has already established her orientation toward supporting strongly what Thayer School does so well. My current clinical collaborators at Dartmouth-Hitchcock will be the foundation for continued joint efforts toward medical device inventions supported by the uniquely fertile conditions at Thayer School, I believe.”

This latest class of NAI Senior Members, comprised of 32 academic inventors, represents 16 research universities and government and non-profit research institutes. They are named inventors on 368 issued U.S. patents.

“NAI Member Institutions support some of the most elite inventors on the horizon. With the NAI Senior Member award distinction, we are recognizing innovators who are rising stars in their fields,” said Paul R. Sanberg, NAI President. “This new class is joining a prolific group of academic visionaries already defining tomorrow.”

Following a nomination for NAI Senior Member, individuals undergo a rigorous selection process by the NAI Advisory Committee, which is composed of elected NAI members and other professionals considered pioneers in their respective fields. Senior Members are elected biannually.