The National Academy of Inventors has recognized two UF professors for their work in creating and patenting innovations.

Roy Curtiss III, a professor in the department of infectious diseases and pathology, and Ann Progulske-Fox, a professor in the College of Dentistry, will join the list of UF faculty who have been inducted into the NAI, bringing the total to 11.

Progulske-Fox said she received the news the night before her birthday.

She was nominated, but she said she didn’t think she would get it. She found out Dec. 9 she was one of 168 recognized in 2015 by the organization. 

She and Curtiss will be inducted April 15 at the NAI conference in Washington, D.C.

“It was a very nice early birthday present,” Progulske-Fox said.

She said the group effort among her and two other UF alumni faculty led them to create a method that finds genes in bacteria and allows researchers to see how those genes react in the human body.

As a result, they’ve been able to create a kit for dentists to use on patients, she said. It identifies periodontal disease, a type of gum disease that can lead to heart problems.

The method has led to countless other researchers discovering important genes in bacteria and how those genes cause problems in the human body, Progulske-Fox said.

John Byatt, the associate director at UF’s Office of Licensing Technology, said Progulske-Fox’s and Curtiss’ works have been successful.

“It helps us show that not only are we getting research dollars, but those research dollars are resulting in innovations which are significant to society,” Byatt said.

Curtiss was recognized for his 40 years’ worth of patents.

Curtiss said he has patents pending, but has more than 100 being used worldwide in places such as Europe, Japan and South Africa. His first patent was filed in February 1976.

Last year, he filed five U.S. patents. He said he’s lost track of his total number. 

He’s currently working on developing technology for vaccines to control salmonella.

Contact Melissa Gomez at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @melissagomez004