Published: Dec. 7, 2021

The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) today announced that CU Boulder researchers Richard D. Noble and Theodore Randolph have been named 2021 Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors.

National Academy of Inventors Honorees from CU Boulder
  • Senior Member Mark Rentschler (Mechanical Engineering) in 2021
  • Senior Member Greg Rieker (Mechanical Engineering) in 2021
  • Senior Member Tin Tin Su (Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology) in 2021
  • Henry Kapteyn (Physics) in 2020
  • Distinguished Professor Margaret Murnane (Physics) in 2020
  • Terri Fiez (Electrical, Computer & Energy Engineering, Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation) in 2019
  • John “Jan” Hall (Physics) in 2018
  • Alan Weimer (Chemical and Biological Engineering) in 2018
  • Distinguished Professor Marvin Caruthers (Chemistry and Biochemistry) in 2017
  • Professor Larry Gold (Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology) in 2017
  • Distinguished Professor Christopher Bowman (Chemical and Biological Engineering) in 2016
  • Distinguished Professor Leslie Leinwand (Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology; Chief Scientific Officer, BioFrontiers Institute) in 2016
  • Distinguished Professor Kristi Anseth (Chemical and Biological Engineering) in 2015

The NAI Fellows Program highlights academic inventors who have demonstrated a spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society. Election to NAI Fellow is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors.

The collective body of research and entrepreneurship of the 2021 Fellow class covers a broad range of scientific disciplines involved with technology transfer of their inventions for the benefit of society. This year’s class also reflects NAI’s dedicated efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in its membership. The new 2021 Fellows will be inducted at the Fellows Induction Ceremony at the 11th Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Inventors this upcoming June in Phoenix, Arizona. The complete list of NAI Fellows is available here.

Research Professor Richard D. Noble

Richard D. Noble is a research professor in the Department of Chemistry at CU Boulder, a post in which he has served since 2017. Prior to that, he was a professor of chemical engineering at CU Boulder.

Noble is an inventor on nearly 90 U.S. patents. He has been recognized with dozens of awards, including being named CU Boulder Inventor of the Year in 2008 and winning the Institute of Chemical Engineers’ Innovator of the Year award in 2013.

Previously, he served as a chemical engineer for the National Bureau of Standards in Boulder, now known as the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). Before joining the National Bureau of Standards, he was assistant professor of chemical engineering at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, and a design engineer for the National Starch and Chemical Company.

Noble earned a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of California, Davis in 1976.

Professor Theodore Randolph

Theodore Randolph earned his B.S. degree in chemical engineering at CU Boulder in 1983 and a PhD in chemical engineering in 1987 from the University of California Berkeley.

After starting his career at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Yale University, Randolph returned to Boulder where he currently serves as the Kenneth and Genevieve Gillespie Professor in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. 

While at CU Boulder, he has produced a remarkable 25 of his 26 patents, started three CU spin-out companies, and founded and co-directed the University of Colorado Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology.

His third start-up company, VitriVax, Inc, is commercializing his most recent patented inventions, which are directed toward improving vaccines, which currently require storage and transportation under strictly controlled refrigerated temperatures. Together with Professors Al Weimer of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Bob Garcea of the BioFrontiers Institute, Randolph has invented new vaccine manufacturing techniques that allow vaccines to be stored and transported without refrigeration, and provide a controlled release effect that combines multiple doses in a single shot.

About CU Boulder and the NAI

Fellows Noble and Randolph are the latest inventors recognized by NAI, joining 10 CU Boulder inventors named Fellows and three recognized as Senior Members since 2015.

The NAI, an international organization of university, governmental and non-profit research institute members, includes more than 4,000 individual inventor members and fellows from more than 250 institutions around the world.

The organization’s mission is to recognize and encourage inventors with U.S. Patent and Trademark Office patents, 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.