USF Research News

USF Maintains Standing as a Global Leader in Producing New United States Patents

June 5, 2018

New National Academy of Inventors/Intellectual Property Owners Association rankings released

Patent Wall

TAMPA, Fla. – The University of South Florida is the nation’s fifth leading public university in generating new United States utility patents and ranks 12th among universities worldwide in this key measure of innovation, according to rankings released Tuesday by the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO).

With 116 new utility patents issued in 2017, USF continues to stand with some of the world’s most prestigious institutions in the highly competitive arena - including innovation powerhouses such as the University of California System, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University and Stanford University. On a global scale, this is the eighth year USF has ranked in the top 20.

USF earned two more patents in 2017 over its previous record of 114 in 2016. USF was first among Florida’s universities, which collectively ranked highly among the world’s centers of academic invention.

Judy Genshaft USF System President Judy Genshaft

“We are in an era when the public increasingly looks to research universities as a key driver of global innovation. USF’s strong emphasis on invention creates benefits far beyond our campus,” said USF System President Judy Genshaft. “Each day, our students, faculty and staff bring incredible new ideas to life and apply their talents in shaping a better future for all.”

The ranking is the latest marker of success for USF’s efforts to translate academic research into new technologies, medicines and products and has fueled the university’s growing national and international reputation. The rankings coincided with Tuesday’s start of the Times Higher Education Young Universities Summit at USF, which is drawing scores of academic leaders from universities around the world founded during the last 50 to 70 years. USF is the first North American university to host the prestigious summit.

USF’s rise up the patent rankings comes through strategic and dedicated support for building an integrated technology transfer effort. In addition to supporting a vibrant research environment, the USF System provides faculty, students and staff with institutional support to patent and license their inventions; gives faculty members credit in the tenure and promotion process for inventions and creating startup companies; and provides guidance and early-stage funding opportunities for startup companies. Students and faculty have access to programs such as the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps and the USF Student Innovation Incubator to support them as they entrepreneurial efforts around their inventions.

Paul R. Sanberg Paul R. Sanberg

“USF is part of a global community of dynamic institutions who are leveraging scientific and technological discoveries to create new jobs, new companies and even new industries,” said Paul R. Sanberg, USF’s Senior Vice President for Research, Innovation & Knowledge Enterprise. “Inventors and innovators fuel the growth of the global knowledge economy, and we have built a strong institutional culture to support their efforts. As the only research university in the Tampa Bay Region, our economy and our community grow stronger with each new idea that becomes a patented invention.”

USF joins the University of California System, the University of Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the University of Texas System and the University of Michigan as the top American public institutions in the ranking.

Other Florida universities listed in the top 100 ranking are the University of Florida with 111 patents; Florida International University with 42 patents; University of Central Florida with 39 patents; and Florida State University with 34 patents.

The NAI and IPO have published the report annually since 2013 to highlight the vital role patents play in university research and innovation. The report ranks the top 100 universities named as the first assignee on utility patents granted by the USPTO during the 2017 calendar year.

The full report can be found at:

The patented technologies in USF’s record-setting year include a wide range of inventions. Here are some examples:

Systems and methods for communicating robot intentions to human beings
Patent #: 9,744,672
Inventor(s): Yu Sun, Michael David Coovert and Ivan Shindev
Department: Computer Science and Engineering, Psychology

USF researchers have developed systems that easily communicate robot short and long term intentions (e.g., planned movements) to people within close proximity. The novel framework enables robots to communicate a set of short and long term future intentions in a quick, simple and human-digestible manner. The framework provides users with real-time information regarding a robot’s planned actions and enables people and robots to make collaborative decisions and act synergistically. The invention includes an intention generator that derives a set of possible intentions for a robot based on a task and the robot’s kinetic and dynamic models associated with the task. In addition, an intention interaction component enables humans to influence the robot’s intentions before the robot executes a planned action. This invention can be used in any area where it will be beneficial for people and robots to work side-by-side including manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, military and service industries.


Mobile hemolysis detection in whole blood samples
Patent #: 9,547,899
Inventor(s): Anna Pyayt
Department: Chemical Engineering

USF researchers have developed a novel mobile application for hemolysis detection. According to the World Health Organization, preeclampsia and its complications are the reason for 25 percent of maternal deaths worldwide in addition to fetal and neonatal death. Preeclampsia can rapidly escalate to a dangerous complication known as HELLP syndrome. One of the ways to diagnose HELLP syndrome is to detect the onset of in-vivo hemolysis - a condition which occurs when red blood cells (RBCs) are lysed releasing hemoglobin into blood plasma. Hemolysis cannot be detected in whole blood because of the presence of cells; therefore, centrifugation and plasma separation are required to assess level of hemoglobin in plasma. There is a need for a technology that can work with just a drop of whole blood and promptly and reliably measure hemoglobin concentration in plasma. USF inventors have developed systems and methods within a mobile application that can cheaply detect hemolysis in under an hour without sample pre-processing. The application uses a camera to determine the level of hemoglobin in plasma based on color. Add-on components may be attached to the phone to hold the sample in place and block unneeded light.

Hemomlix (Photo: Anna Pyayt)

Lithium co-crystals and an additional neuropsychiatric agent for treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders
Patent #: 9,603,869
Inventors: Jun Tan, Adam John Smith and Roland Douglas Shytle
Department: Neurosurgery, Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences

USF researchers have developed an ionic co-crystal of lithium for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Recent evidence suggests that lithium may be efficacious for both the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Unlike traditional medications which only address a single therapeutic target, lithium appears to be neuroprotective through several modes of action. For example, it exerts neuroprotective effects, in part, by increasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor leading to restoration of learning and memory. Another neuroprotective mechanism of lithium is attenuation of the production of inflammatory cytokines like IL-6 and nitric oxide (NO) in activated microglia. Recent clinical studies suggest that lithium treatment may reduce dementia development while preserving cognitive function and reducing biomarkers associated with AD.

With this in mind, USF inventors have designed, synthesized and characterized a new ionic co-crystal of lithium, LISPRO. LISPRO has been shown to exhibit improved pharmacokinetics compared to current FDA-approved lithium drugs as well as bioactive in many in vitro models of Alzheimer’s disease. LISPRO stands to be a major improvement over current lithium based treatments and may also represent a means of treating Alzheimer’s disease.

LISPRO (Photo: USF Health)

Low-cost chromatic devices
Patent #: 9,684,218
Inventors: Manoj Kumar Ram, Elias K. Stefanakos and D. Yogi Goswami
Department: Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering

USF researchers have developed a low cost novel smart material that changes color rapidly without any external energy stimulus. It can be used for many applications from building windows to various displays. No external energy is needed to affect color change. In one application, the material is opaque under normal conditions. When contacted with a certain metal, it becomes transparent in seconds. The use of various materials and chemical concentrations are employed to obtain a variety of intensities and rates of color change. Windows are responsible for 30 percent of the heating and cooling loads in buildings. Thin film coatings on glass with color change capabilities could reduce energy consumption by reflecting unwanted radiation and transmitting needed radiation during daylight hours. This technology may be utilized for commercial, residential, and transportation window applications. In addition, this technology is applicable in optical filters, marine, aircraft windows, toys, display products, and electronic devices.

System and methods for authentication using multiple devices
Patent #: 9,659,160; 9,380,058
Inventors: Jared Adam Ligatti, Dmitry Goldgof, Cagri Cetin and Jean-Baptiste Subils
Department: Computer Science and Engineering

USF researchers have developed systems and methods for co-authentication using multiple devices associated with an individual user. Authentication is a crucial element in a secure system and can be handled using one or more different authentication methods. These authentication categories require a combination of knowledge (things only the user knows), possession (things only the user has) or inherence (things only the user is) factors. USF inventors have developed a co-authentication system and method that comprises an authenticator device and at least two user devices, where the verifier and the user devices can communicate with each other. A first device requests access to a resource, after which the authenticator device can send a challenge to at least one other device associated with the user. The device that receives the challenge sends the challenge to the second device associated with the user. The second device sends a response to the authenticator device. The authenticator device compares the challenge sent and the response received to determine whether or not to authenticate the first device.


Magnetic coprocessor and method of use
US Patent #: 9,720,599
Inventors: Sanjukta Banja, Sudeep Sarkar, Ravi Panchumarthy and Dinuka K. Karunaratne Department: Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering

USF researchers harnessed the innate physical properties of nano-magnets to directly solve complex optimization problems with a system of interacting nano-magnets. These optimization problems, called quadratic optimization problems, are computationally expensive for traditional processors and include: object detection, machine learning, systems design, financial analysis, protein folding, and many more. Currently, scientists are looking to quantum computing technology to solve these problems, which requires super-cooling and presents many challenges. This is an alternative that does not require super-cooling. As proof-of concept, USF researchers focused on solving perceptual grouping problems that arise in computer vision, a problem that lies at the core of object recognition problems. USF inventors have developed a physics-inspired computation that maps quadratic energy minimization problem spaces into a set of interacting magnets, so that the energy between the problem variables is proportional to that of the energies between the corresponding magnets. Optimization is accomplished by the relaxation physics of the magnets themselves, and solutions can be read-out in parallel.

Photo: USPTO

Systems and methods for converting carbon dioxide into chemical feedstock
Patent #: 8,999,283; 9,815,702
Inventors: John Kuhn, Venkat R. Bhethanabotla, Yolanda Andreina Daza and Debosruti Dutta
Department: Chemical Engineering

USF researchers have developed a new method for the management of carbon dioxide. This method may be implemented to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and turn carbon dioxide into useful feedstock. This invention utilizes a catalyst, made from a novel material combination, and solar energy to convert carbon dioxide into a useful chemical feedstock in an energy efficient manner. This novel chemical route for the transformation of carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide and oxygen may be incorporated into various industrial processes. The application of this technology would be with carbon capture systems, energy production, and any industrial system that releases carbon dioxide.

Photo: USPTO