David Grainger Portrait
David Grainger

David W. Grainger, Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering and of Molecular Pharmaceutics and Ole and Marty Jensen Endowed Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, has been named Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

He joins Michael L. Good, M.D., CEO of University of Utah Health and Senior Vice President for Health Sciences in this year’s class of Fellows; their selection brings the number of NAI Fellows from the U to 22. Election as an Academy Fellow is the highest professional distinction awarded solely to inventors. The 2023 Class of Fellows is comprised of 162 distinguished academic inventors.

A recognized expert in biomaterials chemistry and medical device innovation, Grainger’s research has contributed to applications in diverse fields, including drug delivery, medical implants, diagnostic devices, and new cell therapies. His seven patents to date have been translated into multiple commercial products, from multiplexed medical diagnostic components to tendon repair implants to antimicrobial medical devices. Beyond health care applications, Grainger’s patented surface chemistries have also been used as protective coatings in inkjet printers.

University of Utah spin-off company, Elute, uses Grainger’s technology in its unique implantable devices to combat infections after joint replacement surgeries. Every surface of a prosthetic joint is susceptible to colonization by bacteria, leading to increased risk of implant-centered infection. Elute’s synthetic, bone-like degradable bone filler “granules” are engineered to encourage new bone in-growth and release antibiotics at controlled rates as they degrade, enhancing implant bone healing and reducing implant bacterial colonization. Elute’s first-in-human-approved antimicrobial combination device is now in Phase I pivotal clinical trials.

“Engineering’s intersection with medicine is an exciting place to work and teach, with many challenges seeking creative solutions,” Grainger says. “University of Utah fosters relationships, research, and collaborations at this intersection. I’m so pleased to pursue work that makes a real impact on people’s health and quality of life.”

In addition to the National Academy of Inventors, Grainger is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Society for Biomaterials, the International Union of the Societies of Biomaterials Science and Engineering, and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Since its inception in 2012, the NAI Fellows program has grown to include 1,898 exceptional researchers and innovators who hold more than 63,000 U.S. patents and 13,000 licensed technologies. NAI Fellows are known for the societal and economic impact of their inventions, contributing to major advancements in science and consumer technologies. Their innovations have generated more than $3 trillion in revenue and generated 1 million jobs.

The 2023 class of Fellows will be honored and presented with their medals at the NAI 13th Annual Meeting on June 18th, 2024, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The complete list of NAI Fellows is available here.