Genome Center Faculty Named National Academy of Inventors Fellow

Justin Siegel in lab

Genome Center Faculty Named National Academy of Inventors Fellow

Associate Professor Justin Siegel recognized for engineering enzymes to improve health

Late last year, Justin Siegel, an associate professor at the UC Davis Genome Center, was named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), the highest professional distinction awarded to academic inventors. The NAI announced the 2022 class of fellows on Dec. 8. 

Recipients are selected based on their “demonstrated spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society,” according to the academy. 

“This year's class of NAI Fellows represents a truly outstanding caliber of innovators. Each of these individuals has made significant impact through their work and are highly regarded in their respective fields,” said NAI President Paul R. Sanberg. 

Engineering enzymes to improve health

Siegel headshot
Justin Siegel

Justin Siegel is an associate professor in the departments of ChemistryBiochemistry and Molecular Medicine, and the Genome Center. He is the director of the UC Davis Innovation Institute for Food and Health. He is also the Arthur and Carlyse Ciocca Visiting Professor in Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Graduate School of Management. 

Siegel is a leader in computational enzyme engineering and discovery, focusing on discovering catalysts that improve health and environmental outcomes. 

Siegel holds more than 100 global patents and co-founded eight startups in the last ten years. These include PvP Biologics, which developed an enzyme to digest gluten, Peak B, a startup developing naturally-derived blue food coloring (blue is the rarest food color in nature), Digestiva, a technology company allowing people to eat the foods they love and get the health benefits they desire, and VinZymes, a technology company helping the wine industry adapt to climate change. 

Siegel is a founding member of six international organizations, including FoodShot Global, an international consortium for awarding and highlighting impactful innovation to help transform the world’s food system. 

To date, NAI Fellows hold more than 58,000 issued U.S. patents, which have generated over 13,000 licensed technologies and companies, and created more than one million jobs. In addition, over $3 trillion in revenue has been generated based on NAI Fellow discoveries. 

The 2022 class of Fellows were inducted at the 12th Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Inventors on June 27, 2023, in Washington, D.C. The complete list of NAI Fellows is available here.

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