Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D., dean of the VCU School of Engineering, elected as National Academy of Inventors fellow

Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D.
Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D.
By Rebecca Jones
School of Engineering

Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D., dean of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Engineering, will be inducted as a 2016 National Academy of Inventors fellow.

The NAI’s selection committee elected Boyan to the rank of fellow because she has “demonstrated a highly prolific 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,” wrote NAI President Paul R. Sanberg, Ph.D., D.Sc., in a letter announcing Boyan's election to the rank of NAI fellow.

Boyan is inventor on 22 U.S. patents and multiple international patents. Her inventions focus on innovative ways to treat musculoskeletal defects by harnessing the body’s own regenerative potential. Notable examples include a micro-nanoscale surface technology for dental and spine implants, as well as a biodegradable implant for regenerating bone and cartilage.  

“This is an outstanding recognition of Dean Boyan’s commitment to entrepreneurship and her expertise in musculoskeletal tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and cell and tissue interactions with biomaterials,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “This fellowship reaffirms her stature as an excellent scientist, a successful entrepreneur and an outstanding inventor.”  

Boyan, who will become the first NAI fellow from VCU, is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. She is a past president of the Orthopedic Device Panel of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and author of more than 460 peer-reviewed papers, reviews and book chapters.

“It is exciting to see my work recognized by the NAI. Each of those patents represents collaborations with my academic colleagues, my students, and in many cases, with colleagues in industry,” Boyan said. “Even more rewarding than an issued patent is seeing the ideas they represent result in technologies that make people’s lives better. I have been fortunate to enjoy knowing that our work has been able to achieve this goal.”

In the 2016 round, NAI named 175 leaders of academic invention to NAI fellow status. Those elected to the rank of NAI fellow are named inventors on U.S. patents and were nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation. Self-nominations are not accepted.

Boyan will be inducted during the April 6 ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts.

About VCU College of Engineering

The VCU College of Engineering, an innovation front-runner in academics and research, brings real-world education to Central Virginia. Our collaborative and multidisciplinary partnerships prepare undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students for leadership. Part of a premier research university, the VCU College of Engineering enhances regional and global prosperity through cutting-edge developments in tissue engineering, drug delivery, bioinformatics, cybersecurity, mechanical systems and particle science. We make it real by turning great ideas into breakthrough technologies. Our facilities are hubs of discovery, powered by an expanding student body and faculty committed to excellence. We encourage partnering with industry and the community, bringing new collaborators into our projects. Our key research areas include: sustainability and energy engineering; micro and nano electronic systems; pharmaceutical engineering; mechanobiology and regenerative medicine; big data mining; and device design and development. Visit

About the National Academy of Inventors

The National Academy of Inventors is a 501(c)(3) non-profit member organization comprising U.S. and international universities, and governmental and non-profit research institutes, with over 3,000 individual inventor members and Fellows spanning more than 240 institutions, and growing rapidly. It was founded in 2010 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.