USF Research News

Seven inventors, including Henry Ford, inducted into the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame

October 5, 2015

USF's Paul Sanberg and Nobel Laureate Robert Grubbs among inductees

'Henry Ford', Chris Pendleton, Jerry Pratt, Nan-Yao Su, Robert Howard Grubbs, Janet Yamamoto, Gary Ostrander, Paul Sanberg
(from left) 'Henry Ford', Chris Pendleton, Jerry Pratt, Nan-Yao Su, Robert Howard Grubbs, Janet Yamamoto, Gary Ostrander, Paul Sanberg (Photo: Aimee Blodgett)

TAMPA, Fla. – Automotive pioneer Henry Ford, Nobel Laureate Robert Grubbs, and founder of the National Academy of Inventors Paul Sanberg were among the seven inventors inducted into the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame on Oct. 2, 2015, at the InterContinental Hotel in Tampa.

Other inductees include Robert Holton, inventor of the chemical synthesis of anti-cancer drug Taxol; Nan-Yao Su, who invented a revolutionary termite abatement system; Janet Yamamoto, whose discovery of the feline immunodeficiency virus and vaccine is being applied to HIV research; and robotics and human assistive devices innovator, Jerry Pratt.

HSN show host Bill Green was emcee for event
HSN show host Bill Green was emcee for event (Photo: Aimee Blodgett)

Bill Green, show host for HSN, was emcee for the invitation-only event. The seven inventors were inducted by Valencia Martin Wallace, Deputy Commissioner for Patent Quality from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and Randy Berridge, who serves on the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame Advisory Board and as chair of the Selection Committee. This was the second annual induction ceremony and gala for the Hall of Fame.

"We are delighted to recognize these exceptional inventors whose work has had an impact on the lives of Floridians and the world," said Berridge, who is also president of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council.

Valencia Martin Wallace, Paul Sanberg, Randy Berridge
Valencia Martin Wallace, Paul Sanberg, Randy Berridge (Photo: Aimee Blodgett)

Nominees, who must have at least one U.S. patent, were nominated through an open nomination process and elected by a selection committee comprising distinguished leaders in research and innovation throughout Florida.

"Collectively, the seven 2015 inductees hold more than 430 U.S. patents," said Berridge. "Their high merit has been recognized by national and international institutions and communities with named parks, museums, scholarships, funds, a U.S. postage stamp, and many other honors and awards, and we are honored to induct them into the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame."

'Henry Ford' and 'flapper' Christine Gitch with 1912 Ford, courtesy of Bob and Pam Most
'Henry Ford' and 'flapper' Christine Gitch with 1912 Ford, courtesy of Bob and Pam Most (Photo: Aimee Blodgett)

2015 Inductees of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame:

  • Henry Ford (1863-1947), founder of the Ford Motor Company, for advancing industrial manufacturing, pioneering automotive technology, and contributing to experimental botanical research. Ford established a rubber test site in Fort Myers, Florida, with Thomas Edison and his work in Florida helped pass the Plant Act of 1930 through the U.S. Congress. He also conducted aeronautical research in Florida on early airplanes and advanced V-8 engines.
  • Robert Grubbs, educated at the University of Florida and currently the Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology, for contributions in the field of chemistry that have led to the creation of practical, sustainable new materials in medicine and the plastics industry. He is the recipient of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
  • Robert Holton, professor of chemistry at Florida State University, for the invention of the chemical synthesis of Taxol, a widely-utilized and highly-effective anti-cancer drug.
  • Jerry Pratt, senior research scientist at the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition, for contributions to robotics and human assistive devices, especially in the humanoid bipedal locomotion field.
  • Paul Sanberg, senior vice president for research, innovation and economic development and Distinguished University Professor at the University of South Florida, for discovery of novel approaches to drug and cell therapies to treat stroke and brain diseases and for founding the National Academy of Inventors.
  • Nan-Yao Su, professor of entomology at the University of Florida, for the invention of Sentricon┬«, which revolutionized termite colony elimination systems and has protected millions of structures through a safer and greener approach to termite control.
  • Janet Yamamoto, professor of immunology at the University of Florida, for the discovery of the deadly feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), the FIV vaccine, and for furthering research on the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS.

Bios and photos of the inductees are available on the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame website.

About the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame

The Florida Inventors Hall of Fame (FIHF) recognizes and commends Florida inventors whose achievements have advanced the quality of life for Floridians, the state and the nation. Founded in 2013 and housed in the USF Research Park in Tampa, FIHF was recognized by Florida Senate Resolution 1756 in April of 2014. FIHF encourages individuals of all ages and backgrounds to strive toward the betterment of Florida and society through continuous, groundbreaking innovation, and, by commending the incredible scientific work being accomplished in the state, to further the growth of Florida's innovation sector. www.FloridaInvents.org

Media contact: Judy Lowry, jhlowry@usf.edu, 813-974-3181