William “Buddy” Clark and Steven R. Little, of the Swanson School of Engineering, have been selected as members of the 2021 fellow class of the National Academy of Inventors, the highest professional distinction accorded to academic inventors.
They are the ninth and tenth Pitt faculty members to be selected as NAI Fellows since its inaugural class in 2015.
Clark is professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and is co-founder of Diamond Kinetics, a Pittsburgh-based company that produces data-driven bat swing and throwing systems for baseball and softball training. The company’s products are used by many of the teams in Major League Baseball and sold direct to consumers at Dick’s Sporting Goods. The company employs approximately 30 people on the North Shore near PNC Park.
Little is a professor of chemical and petroleum engineering, in addition to being the department chair. He also has appointments to the departments of Bioengineering, Immunology, Ophthalmology and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Little is a co-founder of Pitt spinout company Qrono Inc., which is developing therapies that change the way cancer tumor cells and immune cells interact in a manner that enables immune T cells to infiltrate metastatic tumors. In 2020 he co-authored a study in the journal Science Advances that utilized a similar microparticle therapy that “hacks” the immune system to accept transplanted tissue.
The NAI Fellows Program highlights academic inventors who have demonstrated a spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society. The 164 members of the 2021 fellow class hail from 116 research universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutes worldwide. They collectively hold more than 4,800 U.S. patents.
Read more about Clark and Little on the Innovation Institute website.