Research & Development Council Honors  New Jersey Inventors at 44th Annual Edison Patent Awards

Chatham, NJ

November 21, 2023

For more information, contact Kim Case at 908.875.7167(c), or

62 Individuals Representing 13 New Jersey Organizations Celebrated During

November 15th Awards Ceremony


Chatham, N.J. – In celebration of New Jersey’s long history of innovation, the Research & Development Council of New Jersey (R&D Council) held its 44th annual Edison Patent Award Ceremony and Reception last week at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, N.J.  At the event, centered around the theme “Innovation Lives Here,” the R&D Council celebrated 14 patents developed by a team of 62 inventors and recognized three outstanding individual award winners.

The R&D Council honored retired Bell Laboratories inventor and communications trailblazer Victor Lawrence, Ph.D. with its highest honor: the Science and Technology Medal; Robert C. Garrett, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health received the Chairman’s Award; New Jersey Senator Andrew Zwicker, Ph.D. of Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) was honored with the Educator of the Year Award.

2023 Edison Patent Award winners are BASF, Bristol Myers Squibb, Consolidated Energy Design, Mentor Worldwide, LLC, a Johnson & Johnson Company, Merck Research Laboratories, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Nokia Bell Labs, Princeton University, Rowan University, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, SATO, Siemens Technology, and Stevens Institute of Technology. The recognized patents range from a pharmaceutical drug to address cardiovascular disease to a secure data sharing and processing method that enhances cybersecurity. 

Winners were selected by a team of R&D Council researchers who evaluated patents for the significance of the problem, utility/socio-economic value, novelty, and commercial impact. All winning patents must have at least part of the technical/scientific work completed in New Jersey. A complete list of winners, patent names, and numbers can be found below. 

“The Edison Patent Awards honors the brilliant minds and visionary companies propelling New Jersey to the forefront of global innovation,” stated Colleen Ruegger, RPh, Ph.D., Chair of the R&D Council Board of Directors and Executive Director, Technical Research & Development at Novartis. “Within the Garden State, Thomas Edison’s profound legacy continues to thrive, embodied by the 65 remarkable honorees who remind us that Innovation Lives Here in New Jersey.” 

Victor Lawrence, Ph.D. received the Science & Technology Medal for his prolific and notable contributions to the global telecommunications industry. Dr.Lawrence’s lifetime of technical innovation and achievements have enabled the rapid development of faster data communications technologies for a wide range of applications and the development of the communications industry at large. His work has greatly enhanced the competitiveness of the U.S. and the lives of billions worldwide by connecting them to the Internet. The Science & Technology Medal is awarded annually by the R&D Council to New Jersey innovators who have achieved outstanding and unparalleled advancements in the fields of science and technology and have demonstrated extraordinary performance in bringing innovation from the laboratory to the marketplace. 

Hackensack Meridian Health Chief Executive Officer Robert C. Garrett was honored with the Chairman’s Award at the Edison Patent Awards, for his efforts to impact health care outcomes and medical innovation in New Jersey. Mr. Garrett was recognized for his role in advancing medical education, behavioral health, cancer care, and innovation and research. The Chairman’s Award honors New Jerseyans for their outstanding effort and leadership in uniting industry, academia, and the state in pursuit of a research-based economy in New Jersey. 

The Educator of the Year Award was awarded to New Jersey Senator Andrew Zwicker, Ph.D., head of Communications and Public Outreach at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. Both as a physicist and a legislator, Senator Zwicker has made education a centerpiece of his career. He has launched numerous education-related programming at PPPL including internship and apprenticeship programs to support current and future scientists and, in the New Jersey Legislature, has sponsored numerous bills to support New Jersey students and improve the state’s education system. The Educator of the Year Award recognizes a leader in New Jersey for their achievements in the advancement of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education in New Jersey.

During the ceremony a special tribute film premiered in each patent and individual award winner’s honor. Tribute films can be found here.  Event photos can be viewed on the Council’s website at   



As the Research & Development Council of New Jersey, we collaborate among industry, academia, and government to grow and strengthen STEM in education, innovation, and the economy. The R&D Council is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose membership includes representatives from academia, government, and industry, including several Fortune 500 companies. More information can be found at the R&D Council’s website: 


Growing STEM. Advancing Innovation. Impacting the World. 


2023 Edison Patent Award Winners

BASF Corporation and its inventors Artem Vityuk, Linda Hratko, Al Maglio, and former employee Keenan Deutsch were recognized with a patent award in the Environmental category for “Adsorbent and Methods of Making and Using Adsorbents” (U.S. 10,953,383). The patented innovative approach aims to remove impurities from industrial processing streams, utilizing a safer and more environmentally friendly adsorbent composition. Many adsorbents are composed of lead, which presents environmental challenges. The new adsorbent is lead-free and utilizes a novel bismuth technology to remove impurities like arsine and phosphine from various hydrocarbons. The discovery is expected to replace hundreds of tons of lead-based adsorbents each year. 

Bristol Myers Squibb and its inventors Michael Schmidt, Martin Eastgate, Bin Zheng, Ivar McDonald, former employees Richard Olson and William Ewing along with Scripps Research inventors Phil Baran, and former Scripps Research inventors Kyle Knouse and Justine deGruyter were recognized with a patent award in the Biotechnology category for “Phosphorous (V)-Based Reagents, Processes for the Preparation Thereof, and Their Use in Making Stereodefined Organophosphorous (V) Compounds” (U.S. 11,613,554).  This patent describes the creation of a set of tools that expedite the study of biomolecules, specifically compounds with phosphorous-containing linkages, for example DNA or RNA molecules.  These tools are much easier to prepare and use compared to current methods and can also be readily modified to access a much greater variety of molecules.  This will allow researchers to more rapidly explore potential therapies in these areas. 

Consolidated Energy Design and its President, CEO and inventor, Rey Montalvo, were recognized with a patent award in the Energy category for “Method and System for Automatically Adapting End User Power Usage” (U.S. 9,002,761 B2); AKA FADRS® Net Zero Energy Cost and Net Zero Energy Smart Grid Technology. This work aims to achieve Net Zero Energy buildings by two (2) methods; (1) that focuses on cost effectiveness by achieving Net Zero Energy COST and (2) that focuses on achieving Net Zero Energy Consumption and Demand while still achieving a net positive cash flow. Both methods aim to achieve their goals at a lower installed cost than any system of their kind in the Americas thus greatly improving scalability. This is made possible by both methods utilizing FADRS® FULLY AUTOMATED Disruptive technology to achieve 40% – 50% energy savings with controls only in Phase I.

Mentor Worldwide LLC, Director of R&D, Krasimira Hristov and Principal Engineer, Michael Hoffman, as well as former employees Luis Alberto Davila and Anita Falcon, were recognized with a patent award in the Medical Device category for the ARTOURA® “Directional Tissue Expander” (U.S. 9,463,087). Their work has significantly increased surgeons’ abilities to enhance predictability and consistency in tissue expansion for patients undergoing breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. What makes this solution unique is its ability to control the direction of tissue expansion. The innovative features help the tissue expander maintain a desirable shape so that when expanded, the device takes on a pre-defined custom contour that closely matches that of a secondarily placed permanent breast implant. The result is a more predictable and optimal outcome for the patient.

Merck and Co., Inc and its inventors Harold Wood, Thomas Tucker, Abbas Walji, Hubert Josien, Angela Kerekes, Ling Tong, Anikumar  Nair , Fa-Xiang Ding, Elisabetta Bianchi, Danila Branca, Chengwei Wu, Yusheng Xiong, Sookhee Ha, Jian Liu, and Babu Boga were recognized with a patent award in the Pharmaceutical category for “Preparation of cyclic peptides as PCSK9 antagonist compounds” (U.S. 11,427,616 B2). This patent describes their work in developing MK-0616, a novel investigational macrocyclic peptide, for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases and conditions related to proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) activity. In addition to disclosing the structure of MK-0616, the patent also describes structure activity relationships around the novel macrocyclic scaffold.

NJIT and its inventors Tara Alvarez, Mitchell Scheiman, Chang Yaramothu, John Vito d’Antonio-Bertagnolli, and Robert Gioia, were recognized with a patent award in the Medical Device category for “Method, system, and apparatus for treatment of binocular dysfunctions” (U.S. 10,335,342). Their work leverages virtual reality to use eye movements to improve vergence oculomotor function. The broader impact of this work is to remediate visual symptoms for patients with binocular vision dysfunctions for personalized point-of-care medicine while improving patient compliance because the therapeutic intervention is embedded within a fun interactive video game.

Nokia and its inventor Harish Viswanathan were recognized with a patent award in the Telecommunications category for “Method and Apparatus for Allocating Resources of a Frequency Band in a Wireless System Supporting at Least Two Radio Access Technologies’ (U.S. 9,100,978 B2). The invention enables efficient coexistence of two different wireless technologies in the same frequency band. Specifically, the invention applies to enabling Internet of Things (IoT) devices using a narrow band technology such as NB-IoT (narrowband – Internet of things mobile technology standardized by 3GPP standards body) to be connected to the cellular base stations in the same frequency carrier as the mobile broadband technology while maintaining high performance.

Princeton University, its inventors Professor Jeffrey Schwartz and his former graduate students Ellen Gawalt Ph.D. and Michael Avaltroni, Ph.D., were recognized with a patent award in the Biomaterials category for “Devices with Multiple Surface Functionality” (U.S. 8,993,1170).  Their invention discloses organophosphonate monolayers that are nanometer-thin on, yet strongly-bonded to, surfaces of metals of use in orthopedic devices. These monolayers are easy to synthesize and to deposit on the native oxide surfaces of the metallic device. They are distinguished by their strong, covalent bonding to the device especially under physiological conditions.  They are readily activated by attachment of particular organic species to impart desirable properties to the device, such as enhanced cell attachment and spreading.  

Rowan University and its inventor Yusuf Mehta, were recognized with a patent award in the Sustainability category for “Asphalt Concrete Having a High Yield Recycled Content and Method of Making Same” (U.S. 10,053,821).  Their work aims to develop a method of determining this degree of blending which involves conducting a series of laboratory tests to accurately determine how much of the binder in the RAP blends with the fresh asphalt binder. Using this method, the designer can add the appropriate amount of fresh binder to ensure the high-quality performance of the pavement and optimize the use of RAP.

A team from Rutgers-Camden, led by Henry Rutgers Chair and Associate Professor of Chemistry Catherine Grgicak, PhD and Professor of Computer Science Desmond Lun, PhD and featuring NEC Professor of Software Science and Engineering at MIT Muriel Medard, MS, ScD, and Rutgers Camden PhD recipient Harish Swaminathan, received the Forensic Science award for Systems and Methods for Determining an Unknown Characteristic of a Samplepatent (U.S. 10,504,614). Their technology, called NOCit, more accurately and fully identifies the number of contributors (NoC) in a DNA mixture than any existing method.

Accurately assessing the NoC in DNA samples is vital in forensic analysis. In a test conducted in 2020, NOCIt correctly identified the number of contributors in more than 90% of 815 DNA mixtures experimental samples and corrected 28% of the incorrect estimations made by the best pre-existing method. Through Rutgers Office for Research, NOCIt has been licensed to SoftGenetics, LLC, a U.S.-based company with over 20 years of experience developing and supporting DNA analysis software, to commercialize the innovative technology.

Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences Distinguished Professor Jim Simon, PhD, and Extension Specialist Andy Wyenandt, PhD, received the Agriculture award for “Downy Mildew Resistant/Tolerant Sweet Basil Varieties” patent (U.S. 10,159,212). Simon and Wyenandt used innovative and traditional plant breeding technologies to identify particular genes in basil that they later used to breed disease- and climate-resistant varieties. Certain varieties, including Rutgers Devotion DMR (downy mildew resistant), Rutgers Obsession DMR, and Rutgers Passion DMR, were each bred to withstand the deadly pathogen BDM (basil downy mildew). Their work is highlighted in the science-in-action film Fields of Devotion, which focuses on the process of identifying the genes for disease resistance in commercial basil and the impact Simon and Wyenandt’s research has had on the New Jersey basil farming industry. The film is now streaming on Kanopy, which is free for higher education institutions staff, faculty, and students, or anyone with a public library card.

SATO and its inventor Daigo Ishiyama, as well as its former employees Gregory Gatarz and James McHale, were recognised with a patent award in the category Public Health for “Collection Systems for Use in Offset Pit Latrine” (U.S. 2015/0026877). The invention from SATO, part of LIXIL, eliminates the necessity of the large-scale installation of a concrete collection box, which can gather unsanitary debris. This helps create a fresher, cleaner toilet experience for consumers, while reducing the spread of preventable diseases in SATO’s core markets in Africa and Asia.

Siemens Technology and its inventor Tao Cui along with Guenter Struck from Siemens Digital Industries, were recognized with a patent award in the Industrial Process category for “Machine Diagnosis Using Mobile Devices and Cloud Computers” (U.S. 2020356898A1). This invention discloses a disruptive technology for the critical diagnostic and conditional monitoring sector of industry systems:  By harnessing machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) as the core algorithm, cloud computing as the backbone for big data and AI training, and smart phones as ubiquitous connected inferencing and sensing edge nodes, this patented technology brings about a revolutionary transformation in traditional condition monitoring practices. Through a smartphone app, it empowers every operator on the shop floor to become a machine diagnostic expert. Real-time data (acoustic, vibration, magnetic) is collected by the existing sensors on the smartphone and processed by a pretrained AI model customized for the specific machine, enabling instant diagnosis of the machine’s various health conditions.

Stevens Institute of Technology and its inventors Yuping Huang and Lac Thi Thanh Nguyen, were recognized with a patent award in the category Information Technology for “Systems and Methods for Quantum Secured, Private-Preserving Computing” (U.S. 11711209, EP4170963, JP2022552410, CN114641964, KR20220082030A, CA3157965A1). Their work aims at addressing the increasing cybersecurity threats facing industry, government, and individuals. Unlike any software-based solution, the invention provides unconditional security derived directly from the fundamental laws of quantum physics. Also, in contrast to quantum key distribution which only protects encryption, it secures identity authentication, data mining, and digital assets, while providing zero-knowledge proof. This will safeguard the internet for everyone, now and far into the future.