CVM Professor, Researcher Elected to Inaugural Class of NAI Senior Members

Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) distinguished professor Stephen H. Safe, is one of six faculty members from across Texas A&M University recently named to the inaugural class of National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Senior Members.

He is among 66 academic inventors selected for the honor.

“This important award recognizes the life-long contributions of Dr. Safe to innovation in scientific discovery that is a goal of all researchers and scientists. Not all of us are able to make such wide-ranging and important contributions as Dr. Safe,” said Larry Suva, head of the CVM’s Department of Physiology & Pharmacology (VTPP). “It is high praise for Dr. Safe, our college, and our university that his endeavors have been so highly visible and successful.”

NAI Senior Members are active faculty, scientists, and administrators from NAI member institutions with success in patents, licensing and commercialization. They have produced technologies that have brought, or aspire to bring, real impact on the welfare of society.

“I am honored to be chosen among this group of scientists,” Safe said. “I have numerous patents out there and this recognition is an honor that I appreciate.”

Over the course of his career, Safe has focused his research efforts on creating molecular compounds to treat or cure cancers. These compounds have been licensed by pharmaceutical companies, and he has more than a dozen patents or patent applications on several compounds/drugs and their applications.

More recently, he found that one of his cancer-treating compounds was effective for treating endometriosis.

“We have two or three compounds that act through different pathways,” Safe said. “We’re right at the point where we’ve shown that they are effective in animal models and in cells. These are big diseases, I am confident that we’re on the right track.”

Safe, who started as a chemist before moving into the fields of environmental toxicology, endocrinology, and molecular oncology—and, ultimately, his laboratory discovered a new mechanism for the way hormones affect breast cancer—attributes the range of successes in his career to following the path that organically developed as each of his projects unfolded.

“Everything we do requires another area of expertise, which often leads us off into a different field,” he said. “Some people will work on the same gene or pathway for their entire career, but I find that when I work on something and learn what I want to know, this usually results in a change of research direction into new and interesting areas of science.”

This inaugural class of NAI Senior Members represents 37 research universities and research institutes. Their names appear on more than 1,100 issued U.S. patents.

Other elected NAI Senior Members from Texas A&M are Mark Benden, School of Public Health; Richard H. Gomer, College of Science; Jaime C. Grunlan, Linda and Ralph Schmidt ’68 Professor, J. Mike Walker ’66 Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering; Duncan J. Maitland, College of Engineering; and Richard Mile, College of Engineering.

“Congratulations to our faculty members who have been elected to this first class of NAI Senior Members,” said Mark A. Barteau, vice president for research and NAI fellow. “This recognition pays tribute to their knowledge, skill and talent as well as to the role that Texas A&M plays in encouraging and nurturing research and innovations from start to finish. Together, these faculty members and Texas A&M are making the world a better place for all of us.”

A full list of NAI Senior Members is available on the NAI website.

The National Academy of Inventors is a member organization comprising U.S. and international universities, and governmental and non-profit research institutes, with more than 4,000 individual inventor members and fellows spanning more than 250 institutions worldwide.

It was founded in 2010 at the University of South Florida to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society.

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Contact Information: Megan Palsa, Executive Director of Communications, Media & Public Relations, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science; mpalsa@cvm.tamu.edu; 979-862-4216; 979-421-3121 (cell)