FAU professor Gregg Fields named NAI Fellow

National Academy of Inventors names FAU professor Gregg Fields for Fellows status


Courtesy of Media Relations

Gregg Fields, the chair for FAU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the director of the Center of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, has just been named a National Academy of Inventors Fellow.

The NAI Fellows program has “414 Fellows worldwide representing more than 150 prestigious universities and governmental and non-profit research institutions,” as stated on their website. All of these inventors have patents – at least one is required for nomination – with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and together the 414 Fellows amass nearly 14,000 patents. Fields will be joining the likes of Jay S. Walker, founder of Priceline and Curtis Carlson, president and CEO of SRI International.

All inventors must also be peer nominated – they cannot nominate themselves – and they must have “made outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation,” as stated on the NAI website.

Fields received a bachelor’s degree at the University of Florida, a Ph.D. at Florida State University and did postdoctoral work at the University of California San Francisco. He became an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota in 1991, later becoming an associate professor in 1995. In 1997 Fields joined the FAU faculty as a professor. In 2000 he became chair for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, a position which he held until 2008. On Dec. 3, 2014, Fields’ return to the College of Science was announced.

Throughout his research he has studied collagen – a protein found in tissue – with the purpose of discovering how and why certain diseases spread so quickly and are so destructive. One of those studies led to the patenting of a product that is used to mimic collagen and has “been used in diagnostics for diseases such as cancer,” says Fields. Other research has also included osteoarthritis, multiple sclerosis, and melanoma. He currently holds patents for products in relation with Peptides International, BioStratum Inc. and Bachem. Fields told the UP that he currently has a total of “six issued patents [with the United States Patent and Trademark Office] and one under review.”

Fields has kept himself busy in his years of research. He has authored and co-authored over 250 scientific publications. Fields has also been the subject of many awards, including FAU’s Researcher of the Year for both 2000-2001 and 2005-2006. He also served as a keynote speaker for the second World Cancer Congress in Beijing, China in 2009. Yet, he sees the nomination for NAI Fellow as a major benchmark in his career. “At this point in my life this is certainly the greatest honor I’ve received,” says Fields.

Fields is the second FAU professor to ever receive the award, the first being Herbert Weissbach — Fields’ predecessor as Director of the Center of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology — in 2012.

On March 20, Gregg Fields will be joining the NAI Fellows along with 169 other distinguished inventors for the 2014 year. The induction ceremony will take place at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif.

Today, Fields continues to conduct research at FAU and, considering his record, we can be fairly certain that we will see a number of publications from him in the coming years.