On Thursday, October 26, Northeastern University hosted the Northeastern National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Fall 2023 Chapter Meeting in Boston. In keeping with the university’s longstanding commitment to experiential education and translational research, the event highlighted the strides made by the Northeastern’s chapter of the NAI in empowering a diverse ecosystem of inventors and entrepreneurs from both the academic and industrial spheres.
The NAI is a distinguished organization with a mission to recognize and support inventors and entrepreneurs. Its chapter at Northeastern University takes this mission a step further by instigating inspiration, education, recognition, and fostering connections among its community of innovators. This particular meeting drew a sizable audience, eager to hear from two key speakers: Luis Brito of Beam Therapeutics and Deirdre Sanders of Hamilton Brook Smith Reynolds.
Luis Brito, a proud Northeastern alumnus, currently holds the position of Vice President of the Delivery Platform at Beam Therapeutics. With a profound commitment to transformative science, Beam’s ethos resonates with providing enduring solutions for patients with severe diseases. During his enlightening address, Brito revisited his PhD journey at Northeastern, under the guidance of Northeastern Professor Mansoor Amiji. He combined his 5 years of industrial research experience with his academic pursuits, which notably included a project on pDNA delivery to arterial walls through gene-coated stents. A poignant moment came when a question from the audience delved into the challenges, he faced at Moderna in March 2020, amidst the burgeoning pandemic. Brito responded, “It was a very critical time for the world and for the company. Seeking government investment for larger operations and research was a bold move, especially when the outcomes were shrouded in uncertainty.
The second speaker, Deirdre Sanders, brought to the table her extensive 28 years of experience in biotechnology and life sciences patent prosecution counseling. A Partner at Hamilton Brook Smith & Reynolds, a comprehensive intellectual property law firm, Sanders provided a masterclass on intellectual property. Her structured talk elucidated crucial subjects such as the types of IP protections available for innovations and the intrinsic value of patents. Drawing from her vast reservoir of knowledge, Sanders elaborated on the multifaceted nature of IP assets, ranging from patents and trademarks to trade secrets and copyrights. The essence of her discourse also included the crucial question: “Should you patent?” Her criterion for this was clear-cut, addressing the patent eligibility, novelty, non-obvious nature, clarity in ownership and rights, and the worthiness of investment in the invention.
The Northeastern NAI Chapter Meeting was more than just a convention. It was a celebration of the relentless spirit of invention, marked by insights from industry stalwarts. The attendees left not just with a broader understanding of the innovative ecosystem, but also with a renewed zeal to pioneer, protect, and propel their inventive ideas into the world.
Written by Yash Wadhwa