Founder of UCF Nanoscience Center Inducted Into National Academy of Inventors

Founding Director and Professor of the UCF Nanoscience Technology Center, James J. Hickman, Ph.D., has been honored as an inductee of the National Academy of Inventors for his outstanding contributions in the fields of both biological and non-biological nanoscience.

UCF recruited Hickman in 2004 to establish the NanoScience Technology Center following recognition for his work in industry and then as an Endowed Chair in the Clemson University Department of Bioengineering. Since the conception of the center, Hickman has assumed the role of Professor of Nanoscience Technology, Chemistry, Biomolecular Sciences, Physics, and Electrical Engineering.

“The UCF scientific community has given me a chance to explore my personal research creativity and the opportunity to make friends with many impressive and honorable colleagues,” said Hickman.

Hickman has more than 154 publications to his name and developed 22 patents during his career as a scientist. His first approved patent, which was developed during his time as a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is something Hickman remembers fondly.

“My first patent holds a lot of nostalgic value and accomplishment,” said Hickman. “The patent was based on a Science paper I wrote describing functional molecules bound to microelectrodes to form a sensor. That ended up becoming a foundational paper in the nanoscience field. Since then, I’ve developed over 20 more patents and have another 20 pending.”

When he isn’t working as an adjunct professor at the University of Florida’s College of Pharmacy, you can find Hickman developing nanoscience-based technology for drug discovery and toxicological evaluation as the Chief Scientist at a UCF spin-off company, Hesperos Inc.

“I have several focuses in my research, but right now I am mostly looking at how to develop methods of drug discovery while reducing and eventually eliminating the use of animals in the process,” said Hickman.

The National Academy of Inventors inducts new members annually during their Summer conference in June. Hickman was chosen for his contributions as an innovating nano-scientist.

“Some people that I really admire and respect are being nominated right alongside me, so it is exciting to be recognized as a part of this group,” said Hickman. “Being a part of the UCF community in Orlando has inspired me in many ways.”

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