Neurologist Michael Rogawski named fellow of the National Academy of Inventors


Michael Rogawski, a professor in the School of Medicine and a UC Davis Health physician, has been elected a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). NAI fellow status is the highest professional distinction given to academic inventors. Rogawski’s inventions are in drug discovery and development.

Michael Rogawski was elected a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors
Michael Rogawski was elected a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

According to NIA, fellowship is bestowed upon those who “have demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.” Rogawski and the other new fellows will be honored at the Academy’s Fellows Induction Ceremony on June 7-9, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.

“I am grateful to many UC Davis colleagues with whom I have been fortunate to collaborate on discoveries that have led to this honor,” Rogawski said. “I also recognize the Innovation & Technology Commercialization group of UC Davis InnovationAccess, and particularly Senior Licensing Officer Rajagopal Gururajan, who has played an essential role in all of the university patenting and licensing activity related to our inventions.”

Who is Michael Rogawski?

Rogawski is a professor of neurology and pharmacology. He leads a research laboratory and teaches in the UC Davis School of Medicine in Sacramento. Until 2012, he was chair of the Department of Neurology. Before his appointment at UC Davis, Rogawski was a senior investigator and the chief of the Epilepsy Research Section at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Rogawski holds an M.D. and a Ph.D. in pharmacology from Yale University. He served as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and completed residency training in neurology at Johns Hopkins. He is a highly regarded neuropharmacology researcher and expert on treatments for epilepsy and other neuropsychiatric conditions. Throughout his career, he has received many awards. These include the NIH Director’s Award, the American Society for Pharmacology and Therapeutics’ Epilepsy Research Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Pharmacology of Antiepileptic Drugs, the American Epilepsy Society’s Service Award, and the American Academy of Neurology 2015 Neuroendocrine Research Award.

Rogawski is an elected fellow of the American Neurological Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as a full member in Sigma Xi, the scientific research honor society.

Rogawski’s innovations in drug development

A prolific inventor, Rogawski holds seven U.S. patents and additional pending patent applications. Most of these patented inventions are related to new treatment approaches for seizures and epilepsy. Rogawski’s work in neurotherapeutics laid the groundwork for the development of epilepsy drugs, including perampanel (Fycompa®). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved perampanel in October 2012. It is now used throughout the world to treat various forms of epilepsy.

Rogawski is the inventor, with UC Davis Project Scientist Dorota Zolkowska, of brexanolone (Zulresso™), the first FDA-approved drug used in the treatment of postpartum depression. Prior to the introduction of Zulresso, there was no specific treatment for the condition. Zulresso, licensed by the University of California to Sage Therapeutics, became commercially available in the U.S. in June 2019 and is being used at more than 40 clinical sites, including UC Davis Medical Center.

“We are proud of Dr. Rogawski and his impactful work. His election as a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors is a well-deserved and distinguished honor that recognizes his exceptional research and groundbreaking innovations in medicine,” said Allison Brashear, dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine.

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