ISU chemistry professor named Iowa Inventor of the Year

AMES, Iowa -- The Iowa Intellectual Property Law Association has named Iowa State University chemistry professor Edward Yeung the 2004 Inventor of the Year. The award was presented Oct. 22 in Des Moines.

Yeung is Distinguished Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences and director of the Chemical and Biological Sciences Program at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory.

Yeung holds 21 patents for technologies. He was named Iowa Inventor of the Year for his development of a DNA sequencer that combines laser microfluorescence with capillary electrophoresis, two analytical chemistry methods for determining the minute components of a substance. The sequencer can detect, monitor and quantify materials 24 times faster than earlier DNA sequencers. The system is a combination of several technologies for which Yeung holds patents.

The DNA sequencer technology, which was pivotal in the completion of the Human Genome Project, has been licensed exclusively to Applied Biosystems, Foster City, Calif., the major company in the DNA sequencing market.

"Yeung's program of discovery recognizes that chemical analysis does not stop at just providing measurements, but must be directly involved in the development of science as a whole. His innovations create opportunities for researchers from several biological disciplines to design novel experiments that open doors to new discoveries," said Kenneth Kirkland, director of the ISU Research Foundation.

Yeung has been on the Iowa State chemistry faculty for more than 30 years. He earned his doctoral degree in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.

He has received numerous awards for outstanding achievements in analytical chemistry, including the American Chemical Society's Awards in Analytical Chemistry (1994) and Chromatography (2002). In 2002, he received the International Prize of the Belgian Society of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Most recently, the Pittsburgh Conference named Yeung the first recipient of the Ralph N. Adams Award in Bioanalytical Chemistry. Yeung is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Yeung has received four R&D 100 Awards for his inventions. The awards have been called the "Oscars of applied science" by the Chicago Tribune. They are presented by R&D Magazine to the year's top 100 products of technological significance. Yeung won R&D Awards in 1989, 1991, 1997 and 2001.

In 2002, ISU animal scientist Max Rothschild was named Iowa Inventor of the Year. Horticulture professor Nick Christians received the honor in 1998.