More than 60 faculty members, researchers and graduate students who hold U.S. patents were honored by the University of Hawaiʻi and presenting sponsor American Savings Bank at a dinner on September 24, 2015 at the Waialae Country Club. UH launched the first Hawaiʻi chapter of the National Academy of Inventors, an organization of more than 200 U.S. and international universities and research institutions and more than 3,000 individual members who have obtained patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Among the inventors who were recognized at the dinner were:

  • Norm Abramson, who developed the ALOHA protocol, a foundation of modern networking taught in engineering classes around the world
  • Ryuzo Yanagimachi, a pioneer in mouse cloning and the development of assisted fertilization techniques
  • Thomas Ernst, inventor of motion-correction technologies for MRI scanners (learn more)
  • John Madey, inventor of the free-electron laser
  • Virginia Hinshaw, who developed a method of producing a vaccine for Avian flu in humans

“We congratulate and thank our UH faculty and students for the difference their work has made in our communities and to the world,” said UH President David Lassner. “These accomplishments are a testament to the creativity and innovation that abounds in our UH community and we look forward to future discoveries from our scholars.”

At the event, three entrepreneurs with close affiliation to UH shared how they commercialized technologies they developed.

  • Heidi Kuehnle, co-founder and CEO of Kuehnle AgroSystems and a former UH professor
  • Paul Lucey, co-founder and chief scientist of Spectrum Photonics and a current UH professor
  • Patrick Sullivan, founder and CEO of Oceanit, who received a PhD from UH

The event was organized by the UH Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development of the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.

For more information about technology commercialization at UH, visit

—By Kelli Trifonovitch