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SRI scientist elected into the US National Academy of Inventors

February 6, 2020

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Dr. Stuart Foster, a senior scientist in Physical Sciences at SRI, has been elected into the U.S. National Academy of Inventors.

The academy celebrates academic inventors who have shown “a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.” Foster was one of 168 inventors added in 2019 to the academy, which has 1,228 fellows around the world, including 34 Nobel Laureates, underscoring the calibre of the organization.

Foster was recognized for his pioneering work in microultrasound. He invented the first ultrasound tool that incorporated high-frequency transducers, which made tiny physiological details, such as the blood flow feeding a mouse tumour, visible. This made it possible for researchers to study disease models of cancer, heart disease and other conditions, especially to see how disease progressed over time, in a living model. In 1999, he spun off the technology to form the company VisualSonics, which was acquired in 2010 for $67.9 million by FujiFilm SonoSite Inc., which accelerated its clinical translation. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the technology clinically in 2016, which was followed by Health Canada approval in 2017.