Professor George Barany to be inducted into the National Academy of Inventors

Barany holds 38 patents, several for the detection of genetic disease

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (12/08/2020) — University of Minnesota Chemistry Professor George Barany has been named a National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Fellow and will be inducted into the NAI at the academy’s annual meeting in June.

Election to NAI Fellow status is the highest professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.

Barany, who is a University of Minnesota Distinguished McKnight University Professor, is a highly creative and prolific scholar who is internationally recognized for his long-standing leadership and pioneering innovations in the field of peptide synthesis methodology and for his role in the invention of revolutionary universal Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) arrays for detection of genetic diseases. He has worked continuously to shepherd many of the discoveries emanating from his academic research programs to successful, commercially viable products. He holds 38 U.S. patents.

When Professor Barany began his independent research career at the University of Minnesota in 1980, peptide chemistry was an art practiced by only a few experienced scientists and marked by dangerous experimental procedures of limited generality. Barany’s vision, based on the concept of orthogonality and grounded with innovative discoveries in organic and polymer chemistry, overhauled the prior state-of-the-art and provided scientists with widely used toolkits that have enabled the preparation of clinically important hormones and proteins ranging from oxytocin to peptide antimicrobials to Fuzeon (an anti-HIV peptide).

"This work has had a tremendous impact on our Department and University that goes well beyond the royalties and fees," said Department Head David Blank. "The example set by Professor Barany’s remarkable approach to science and resulting culture of discovery and innovation has become integrated into every aspect of our ongoing multi-faceted mission of teaching, research, and service."

To date, Professor Barany’s inventions have netted more than $2 million in royalties and licensing fees to the University of Minnesota, with about a third from peptide reagents and materials, and the remainder from the DNA array work. Indirectly, his research has impacted the pharmaceutical industry and generated an estimated $3 billion in revenue for more than a dozen commercial entities that are focused on diagnostics, genetic analysis, and allied areas.

Professor Barany's research is described in more than 375 scientific publications and seminal review articles on various aspects of the peptide field. While at Minnesota, Professor Barany has mentored approximately 60 graduate and post-doctoral students, and more than 100 undergraduates. Many of his protégés have gone on to prominence as independent scientists in academia, industry, biotechnology, and government, and several of them have received prestigious awards of their own.

The 2020 NAI Fellows will be inducted into NAI at the academy’s 10th Anniversary Annual Meeting event in Tampa, Florida, June 7-9, 2021.

For more information and a complete list of 2020 NAI Fellows, visit the NAI website