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Serb is Inventor of the Year in Illinois!

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UIC OTM Announces 2010 Inventor of the Year


The University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Technology Management (OTM) is pleased to announce the 2010 UIC Inventor of the Year, Dr. David Carley and Dr. Miodrag Radulovacki.

As co-inventors, Dr. Carley and Dr. Radulovacki have proven to be outstanding UIC inventors whose effort and commitment to innovation is represented in their discoveries that demonstrate the potential to significantly contribute to society.

Dr. Carley and Dr. Radulovacki have made contributions broadly aimed to elucidate the causes and consequences of sleep disorders by developing numerous therapies to treat sleep-disorder breathing, the most well-known illness being sleep apnea syndrome. They have actively disclosed their technologies to the OTM, most of which pertain to the neurobiology of sleep and related disorders. Their ground-breaking results have culminated in an IllinoisVentures-supported startup company, Pier Pharmaceuticals, that focuses on the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.

In the honor of the recipients of the UIC Inventor of the Year Award, a ceremony in conjunction with the Office of Vice Chancellor of Research (OVCR) 2010 Researcher of the Year Award will be held on February 16th, 2011 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm in the Chicago Room of the UIC Student Center West at 828 South Wolcott Avenue. Both offices are thrilled of this partnership that will enhance and progressively build towards excellence in innovation at UIC.

Meet the winners of the UIC 2010 Inventor of the Year Award


Dr. David Carley, Ph.D. (left)  is the Director, Center for Narcolepsy, Sleep and Health Research; Research Director, Sleep Science Center; and Professor of Biobehavioral Health Science, Medicine, Bioengineering and Pharmacology.

Dr. Miodrag “Misha” Radulovacki, Ph.D. (right) is Professor of Pharmacology and Medicine.

When it came to studying sleep-related breathing disorders, Dr. David Carley and Dr. Miodrag “Misha” Radulovacki had a very natural partnership.  Dr. Carley’s professional background was in respiratory disorders and Dr. Radulovacki’s passion was in sleep research, and their fields of expertise brought them to UIC.  As Dr. Carley became more interested in breathing patterns during sleep, he was introduced to Dr. Radulovacki, and consequently, their combined knowledge led to investigating adult sleep disorders, the most well-known being sleep apnea syndrome.  Together, Dr. Carley and Dr. Radulovacki studied and monitored interruptions in sleep-related breathing by experimenting on mice, and this led to several research publications.  The results from these sleep disorder investigations inspired the partners to develop therapeutics for sleep apnea.  Eventually, the inventors developed a specialization in identifying existing compounds that can be used to treat sleep disorder.

In 1998, Dr. Carley and Dr. Radulovacki teamed with the UIC Office of Technology Management (OTM), and early in their discovery stage both had little experience with patenting new inventions.  As Dr. Carley points out, “Academics don’t know how to start out as inventors…..Our first impulse is to educate and communicate about new discoveries.”  But as they continued to grow as inventors they have played a critical role in the patenting process and have made significant contributions to the OTM by disclosing more than 130 new technologies relating to sleep therapies.  Their efforts have also led to commercial success, as six discoveries have been licensed.  The OTM has also worked with Dr. Carley and Dr. Radulovacki to partner with Illinois Ventures to form a start-up company, Pier Pharmaceuticals, to help launch their new therapies.  Through Pier Pharmaceuticals, these inventors have continued to develop sleep therapies and eventually led to them being licensed and clinically trialed.

While Dr. Carley and Dr. Radulovacki have benefitted from commercial success from their inventions, make no mistake, they are academic scientists first and foremost.  Dr. Raulovacki states, “It’s impossible to be an inventor and an entrepreneur.  They’re both full-time jobs.”  Both realize they could focus primarily on the business side of their sleep disorder therapies; however, their passion and motivation lies with discovery.  So what are the emotions during the process of discovering new therapies and eventually licensing them?  “Every step along the way feels good, you have to be in it for the process”, states Dr. Carley, “It’s exciting seeing it come to fruition.”  Dr. Radulovacki, his partner of over 15 years at UIC, naturally agrees:  “It’s great satisfaction.”


Source: University of Illinois.



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