TAMPA — One has dedicated 35 years to revolutionizing cancer treatment. The other has developed thermal storage technology for solar energy while also inventing a molecular air purifier that not only traps, but destroys airborne pollutants.
On Friday, the two University of South Florida researchers were among seven innovators inducted into the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame, joining the ranks of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.
"I'll be very honest with you: I wanted to make sure they got the right guy," quipped cancer researcher William Dalton on his selection. "I was very proud, honestly, but also very humble. Especially when I look at the accomplishments of others."
Dalton is founder and chief executive of M2Gen, a subsidiary of Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, where he previously served as president and chief executive. He is founder and chairman of the Department of Interdisciplinary Oncology at USF.
He was recognized for research in molecular mechanisms of drug resistance that led to the creation of Total Cancer Care, personalized protocols for the treatment of cancer, and information and decision tools used by clinicians worldwide.
"What we're doing is trying to take medicine from a reactive response to a proactive response," Dalton said.
Studies of hundreds of thousands of patients allow cancer specialists to "design a personalized approach for that person based on what we've already learned from other patients looking like that patient."
Dalton holds 10 U.S. patents.
Yogi Goswami, a mechanical engineer at USF, has been studying solar power since the 1970s. He recognized early on that the key issue involved in the intermittent power source would be energy storage. He developed a system to concentrate energy storage into golf ball-sized capsules that take up little space, reduce costs and last longer than other technologies.
Meanwhile, with a young son suffering from allergic reactions that would trigger asthma attacks, he tackled the issue of indoor air quality, ultimately designing the Molekule portable molecular air purifier. Two production runs to be delivered in January 2017 have sold out. Goswami said a system that works with central air conditioning units is in development.
"It's really a great honor for me to be selected for this Hall of Fame," said Goswami, who holds 15 patents. "If you look at all of the people who have been inducted before us, I'm proud, but I'm humbled to be in the company of those people."
Others inducted at a ceremony at the Hilton Tampa Downtown were:
• Alan George Marshall, professor of chemistry and founding director and chief scientist at the Ion Cyclotron Resonance Program at Florida State University. He co-invented and leads continuing development of Forier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance mass spectrometry, which aids in the study of molecular structure and the composition of cells.
• Nicholas Muzyczka, professor of microbiology at the University of Florida, who's responsible for the "granddaddy patent" for recombinant adeno-associated virus vectors. His research led to potential therapies for neurodegenerative, pulmonary, cardiovascular and eye diseases.
• Jacqueline Quinn, an environmental engineer at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, who invented NASA's most licensed and recognized technology for groundwater remediation.
• Andrew Schally, Nobel laureate and professor of pathology at the University of Miami, who received the 1977 Nobel in physiology or medicine for his discovery of hypothalamic hormones, which are applied to cancer treatment.
• M.J. Soileau, professor of optics and photonics, electrical and computer engineering and physics at the University of Central Florida. He led the development of the internationally recognized Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers at UCF.
Inductees must hold at least one U.S. patent and have a connection to Florida. They were nominated through an open process and elected by a selection committee of leaders in research and innovation throughout Florida.
They are recognized with plaques in a new Inventors Commons on the USF campus.
Contact Jerome R. Stockfisch at [email protected]