PCI Recognizes Faculty Trailblazers

Friday, May 3, 2019

Two Penn Arts & Sciences faculty were recognized for their ground-breaking work by the Penn Center for Innovation (PCI), the University’s hub for innovation, venture creation, and commercialization.

(L–R): Amos Smith, William Warren Rhodes-Robert J. Thompson Professor of Chemistry; Michael Kahana, Professor of Psychology

Amos Smith, William Warren Rhodes-Robert J. Thompson Professor of Chemistry, was named Inventor of the Year. Smith is a world-renowned chemist who researches how to synthesize natural products, bioorganic chemistry, and materials science. More than 85 architecturally complex natural products have been prepared in his laboratory, and he has coauthored over 700 publications and 26 patents.

“Smith has been involved in the synthesis and development of numerous drug candidates and medicinal molecules, and is very well known in the field with an extensive IP portfolio,” says John Swartley, PCI’s Associate Vice Provost for Research and Managing Director.

Michael Kahana, Professor of Psychology, earned Device of the Year for his work to develop next-generation technologies that improve memory function. Funded by a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency grant, Kahana and his collaborators have learned to identify brain activity that indicates good versus compromised memory function, and are using targeted electrical stimulation to try to improve function.