The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation announced the 2019 cohort of Moore Inventor Fellows. Launched in 2016 to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Moore’s Law, the revolutionary prediction that anticipated the exponential growth of computing power, the program embraces the spirit of Gordon Moore’s passion for science and penchant for inventing.

“The Moore Inventor Fellowship recognizes the quality of the individual, as well as the quality of the idea,” said Harvey V. Fineberg, M.D., Ph.D., president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. “The ultimate goal is to convert the ideas into inventions that can change the world.”

While their interests are varied, the fellows all share a common curiosity about our world and a passion for transformative ideas. This year’s fellows focus on areas from 3D printing to underwater autonomous vehicles, plant immunity, improved on-chip photodetectors and an immune system in a test tube. It may sound like science fiction, but it’s real science.

“These young women and men are at early stages of their careers, when they most need funding for their ideas, but when it is most difficult to obtain,” explained Robert Kirshner, Ph.D., the foundation’s chief program officer for Science. “We want to capture opportunities that would otherwise be missed. We expect Moore Inventor Fellowships will give creative people the time and resources to develop their ideas and help open the path for invention inside academic institutions.”

The Moore Inventor Fellowship supports scientist-inventors who create new tools and technologies with a high potential to accelerate progress in the foundation’s areas of interest: scientific discovery, environmental conservation and patient care.

This year, the foundation received more than 200 nominations, from which five fellows were selected. Each fellow receives a total of $825,000 over three years to drive their invention forward, including $50,000 per year from their home institution as a commitment to these outstanding individuals.

With the creation of the Moore Inventor Fellows, the foundation hopes to enable breakthroughs that accelerate progress over the next fifty years. The foundation will allocate a total of nearly $34 million through 2026 to support fifty Moore Inventor Fellows – five fellows per year for ten years, beginning in 2016. The year 2019 marks the fourth cohort of fellows and the first completed cohort, the class of 2016.

Nominations for 2020 Moore Inventor Fellows are being solicited from eligible institutions until December 13, 2019.

2019 Moore Inventor Fellows

Daniel Congreve, Ph.D., Rowland Fellow, Rowland Institute at Harvard University (@dncongreve)

Dan Congreve proposes to use upconversion to build a new approach to 3D printing. This process, which converts lower-energy light to higher-energy light, allows the printing of entire 3D volumes at once, allowing for rapid printing of microscale structures and enabling innovation across a number of challenging problems.

Erin Fischell, Ph.D., Assistant Scientist, Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (@ErinFischell)

Erin Fischell’s research on ocean robotics and acoustics has led her to invent a low-cost sensing system for formation and management of swarms of autonomous underwater vehicles, which will lead to improved oceanographic data collection.

Ksenia Krasileva, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley (@kseniakrasileva)

Ksenia Krasileva’s invention boosts plant immunity by disabling pathogens, promising to improve genetic disease resistance in crops.

Chang Liu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Irvine (@chang_c_liu)

Chang Liu aims to transform antibody generation techniques with his invention of engineered yeast cells that act like an immune system for the rapid, scalable and affordable evolution of custom antibodies for drug discovery and biomedical research.

Maiken Mikkelsen, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Physics, Duke University (@DukeEngineering)

Maiken Mikkelsen’s invention is an on-chip photodetector using metasurfaces for high-speed hyperspectral imaging. Applications for this invention range from computer vision to agricultural monitoring of crops.


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