UO biologist Shawn Lockery elected to inventors academy

UO biologist Shawn Lockery has a long and distinguished academic career researching the neuronal basis of behavior, but he’s also made outstanding achievements as an entrepreneur whose interdisciplinary collaborations have produced groundbreaking innovations.

Lockery’s achievements inside and outside the lab have made a real impact on the welfare of society and landed him in the latest class of senior members in the National Academy of Inventors. He is among 38 inventors at 24 research universities, government agencies and nonprofit research institutes named by the academy.

“I am thrilled to be included as a senior member of this organization, which uniquely recognizes the impact of those whose proclivities fall in the gap between academic and industrial research,” Lockery said.

Jim Deane, associate director of UO’s Innovation Partnership Services, pointed to Lockery’s ability to achieve success in many different arenas.

“Shawn is one of UO’s finest examples of a researcher focused on fundamental science who can pivot and achieve success in applied research, commercialization and product development,” Deane said.

Lockery, who served as co-director and director of UO’s Institute of Neuroscience from 2010 to 2013, has a long track record of research successes that includes receiving more than $19 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. His research utilizing the tiny roundworm C. elegans as a model organism led to the startup company Nemametrix Inc., which he cofounded with UO biologist Janis Weeks in 2010.

Lockery’s research led to innovations in the storage, isolation, electrical stimulation and physiological measurement of C. elegans worms. The founding of NemaMetrix, now known as InVivo Biosystems, enabled Lockery to further develop his new microfluidic devices for the handling and testing of roundworms as tools in research and drug discovery.

NemaMetrix has offered licensed products for sale to universities, medical facilities and for-profit companies since 2015. In 2017, the company acquired Knudra Inc., a company specializing in creating new genetic lines of roundworms. NemaMetrix has continued to collaborate with UO researchers and recently branched out into working with zebrafish and collaborating with investigators through UO’s Aquatic Animal Care Services.

Additionally, Lockery has published more than 75 refereed papers in scientific journals, made numerous contributions and presentations at conferences and continues to lead his research laboratory while working at NemaMetrix. He advises two postdoctoral scholars and two graduate students and has mentored 18 doctoral and master’s students who have gone on to work in academia and industry.

Lockery was nominated for membership in the National Academy of Inventors by the UO’s Innovation Partnership Services office, which works with UO innovators, the public and industry to accelerate the adoption of innovations derived from UO research and education.

According to the academy, senior members have demonstrated remarkable innovation producing technologies that have brought, or aspire to bring, real impact on the welfare of society. They also have growing success in patents, licensing and commercialization.

Past senior members from the UO include chemistry professors Darren Johnson and Michael Haley and emeritus chemistry professor Jim Remington. Becoming a senior member is a stepping stone to becoming a fellow in the academy.

Don Tucker, a UO psychology professor, and Robert Guldberg, Robert and Deona DeArmond Executive Director of the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, have both been named as fellows.