Published: March 25, 2024 By

Jerome Fox
Associate Professor Jerome Fox

Jerome Fox, an associate professor of chemical and biological engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, has been named a senior member of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). NAI senior membership recognizes faculty, scientists and administrators for their contributions to innovation, including patents, licensing, commercialization and technologies aimed at benefiting society.

“It is a wonderful honor,” said Fox, who has one issued patent and two patents pending. “Translating our academic work into technology that has the potential to change lives—namely, to yield new medicines for patients who need them—has been a team effort. I am thankful to the wonderful group of scientists and engineers who have worked, and who are still working, to make this happen.”

At CU Boulder, Fox’s research group is engineering microbes to facilitate the discovery of biologically active compounds, paving the way to develop novel drugs and therapeutic agents to address unmet medical needs. The group is also developing innovative methods for measuring and manipulating cell signaling using light, which could lead to new therapies for complex diseases. Their broad interests also include the development of sustainable and efficient methods to produce oleochemicals to help meet the rising demands for renewable fuels.

Fox’s research group has uncovered novel inhibitors of protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B)—an elusive target for treating diabetes, obesity and cancer—and provided a new framework for using synthetic biology to address challenging drug targets.

In 2021, Fox commercialized his work by founding Think Bioscience, which licensed his intellectual property from CU Boulder to develop new medicines. The company, which has raised more than $25 million, is developing drugs to treat Rett Syndrome, a neurological disorder that affects one in 10,000 women; researchers there are also developing a cancer medicine for patients who do not respond to traditional immuno-oncology therapies.  

NAI senior membership also recognizes faculty mentorship of young inventors. Fox received the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Faculty Award from his department twice, and in 2023, he was honored with the Dean’s Performance Award for Teaching, an annual recognition given to one faculty member in the college.