Hal Alper Named Emerging Inventor of the Year

Alper, Hal 2016, chemical and petroleum engineering, in his lab.Hal Alper, associate professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, has been awarded the prestigious title of Emerging Inventor of the Year by The University of Texas at Austin’s Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC).

A relatively new award category, this is the second-ever Emerging Inventor of the Year award announced by OTC at their annual Inventor of the Year Award Ceremony & Reception program, Nov. 9. The program also named Dr. Jonathan Sessler as the 2016 Inventor of the Year and recognized UT Austin inventors who were issued patents during the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

Alper is a leader in the fields of metabolic engineering and synthetic biology. His research has led him to develop a series of transcriptional control elements that provide newfound control of gene expression in cells and he has also helped to establish an approach termed “promoter engineering”. His many accomplishments in his fields have resulted in a series of young investigator awards from the Office of Naval Research, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology. His numerous awards also include the UT System’s Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award, the Texas Exes Teaching Award, Biotechnology and Bioengineering Daniel I.C. Wang Award, and many others.

Alper received his B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park and his Ph.D. in chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He then continued his postdoctoral studies as Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Engineering in 2006 and at Shire Human Genetic Therapies in 2007 before joining the Texas ChE family in 2008. He is currently the department’s graduate student advisor, a Fellow of the Paul D. & Betty Robertson Meek Centennial Professorship, a William H. Tonn Fellow and Fellow of the Frank A. Liddell, Jr. Fellowship in Chemical Engineering.

Alper’s win now adds him to the list of chemical engineering OTC Inventor of the Year Program award recipients, including Inventor of the Year Award winners Drs. Adam Heller (2011), Grant Willson (2012) and George Georgiou (2014), and Emerging Inventor of the Year winner Dr. Jennifer Maynard (2015).


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