Program Chair Named UArizona Innovator to the National Academy of Inventors

March 1, 2024

The National Academy of Inventors has named five University of Arizona faculty members as Class of 2024 Senior Members. To be selected as a Senior Member, academic inventors must demonstrate their rising leadership within their fields and show success in the patenting, licensing, and commercialization of innovations stemming from their work. According to the NAI, they must have produced “technologies that have brought, or aspire to bring, real impact on the welfare of society.” 

This cohort of UArizona honorees have innovated in areas from Alzheimer’s disease to antimicrobials to advances in quantum communications, and hail from across the academic and research spectrum, including medicine, chemistry and biochemistry, agriculture, and optical sciences. 

“Every year, more UArizona faculty are recognized with this honor,” said Doug Hockstad, associate vice president of Tech Launch Arizona (TLA), the office of the university that works with researchers to protect and commercialize inventions stemming from innovation. “The number and diversity of researchers honored is a clear indicator that not only are we a leader in cutting-edge research, but that we have a growing institutional focus on generating impact from and recognizing those discoveries and achievements.”  

Elliot Cheu, Interim Senior Vice President of Research and Innovation said, “Congratulations to this year's inductees, who truly deserve this honor. Their induction not only highlights their contributions as individuals, but also underscores the university’s collective commitment to translating research and discovery into real-world solutions that benefit society.”

Sadhana Ravishankar, Professor, Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences
College of Agriculture, Life & Environmental Sciences, BIO5 Institute


Sadhana Ravishankar


As chair of the University’s Applied Biosciences Graduate Interdisciplinary Program and the Food Safety Consortium, Ravishankar’s research focuses on applied food safety. She works to solve problems around foodborne bacteria in food production and processing environments, while controlling these bacteria using naturally occurring substances and sustainable, ecologically sound principles. She has received research funding from the USDA-NIFA, the Arizona Department of Agriculture, and the International Life Sciences Institute. A dedicated inventor, Ravishankar has published 74 peer-reviewed manuscripts and filed 18 invention disclosures, which have resulted in six provisional patent applications and three U.S. utility patent applications. As of today, she has two issued patents, including “Synergy of plant antimicrobials with silver” (#9,661,856), and “Plant antimicrobial compositions including an emulsifier and/or ozone and methods of use” (#11,191,275), the latter of which has been licensed to her startup, PhytoCentric Solutions LLC. 

“I am extremely delighted to be named as a Senior Member of the NAI; professionally this motivates me to pursue my passion for additional discoveries in food safety for public health protection; and personally this encourages me to give back to society by educating the younger generation especially female and minority students to become inventors and achieve high,” she wrote in an email. “I am very thankful to TLA for teaching me everything regarding intellectual property protection, innovation, and entrepreneurship, and without their support, I could not have reached this far!”

Most recently, Ravishankar was selected to serve as a TLA Faculty Innovation Ambassador. Through this new program, she will serve as a resource for information about intellectual property protection, licensing, startups, and details about commercialization for her colleagues throughout the College of Agriculture, Life, and Environmental Sciences.  

Read more: