University of South Florida

USF Health Faculty Elected as Senior Members of the National Academy of Inventors

Left: Barry B. Bercu, Professor Emeritus, Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology, Morsani College of Medicine.
Right: Niketa A. Patel, Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Medicine, Morsani College of Medicine.

Two faculty from the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine are among five University of South Florida staff named to the 2020 class of National Academy of Inventors Senior Members.

NAI Senior Members are active faculty, scientists and administrators from NAI member institutions who have demonstrated remarkable innovation producing technologies that have brought, or aspire to bring, real impact on the welfare of society. They also have proven success in patents, licensing and commercialization.

The two USF Health Senior Members are:

Barry B. Bercu
Professor Emeritus Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology
Morsani College of Medicine

Dr. Barry Bercu is professor emeritus of pediatrics and affiliate professor of molecular pharmacology and physiology at the Morsani College of Medicine where he served as professor of pediatrics for 35 years. He also currently serves as a biomedical consultant for the U.S. Government, the State of Florida and numerous industry and healthcare organizations. During his tenure at USF, he was the driving force for the creation of the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation. Prior to joining USF, he was the founding director of the pediatric endocrine fellowship training program at the National Institutes of Health where he also served as head of the pediatric endocrine laboratory unit. He also held appointments at the Uniformed Services University and George Washington University. He served as a major and captain in the U.S. Air Force, and served on several medical advisory panels for the Food and Drug Administration and the NIH. He holds five U.S. patents.

Niketa A. Patel
Associate Professor Department of Molecular Medicine
Morsani College of Medicine

Dr. Patel serves as a research scientist at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital, where she is the director of the Molecular Analysis and Core Laboratory Facility. Prior to this, she was an assistant professor of Molecular Medicine in the Morsani College of Medicine. As the head of her research program, Dr. Patel focuses on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome and the impacts of metabolic cascades in neurodegenerative diseases. Over the course of her career, Dr. Patel has successfully carved a niche in integrating RNA biology with signaling in biologically relevant systems and understanding how it may be a cause or consequence of a disease.  She has contributed to the fundamental understanding of alternative splicing by identifying the critical role that hormones and nutrients play in the process. She was one of the first to demonstrate that alternative splicing is a crucial mechanism for protein diversity, which represents a paradigm shift in the field. Over the course of the last 13 years, she has had significant involvement in numerous committees both at USF and the VA. At USF, she is a member of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). She is a founding member of the self-governing Women in Science group and is a member of the executive committee for the NAI USF Chapter.  At the VA, she is a member of the IACUC, the Research and Development Committee, and the Research Building Activation Committee. She is a member of the VA Endocrine Merit Review Committee and the NIH Cellular Aspects of Diabetes and Obesity review panel, among others. She holds five U.S. patents.

Read more on the five USF faculty earning this distinction.

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