Florida Inventors Hall of Fame

An Update from UF Vice President for Research David Norton on May 22, 2015

Florida Inventors Hall of Fame

Congratulations to University of Florida faculty members Nan-Yao Su and Janet Yamamoto for their selection to the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame.

Dr. Su is an entomologist and the inventor of the Sentricon termite colony elimination system. Dr. Yamamoto is an immunologist who discovered the feline immunodeficiency virus and a vaccine to prevent it.

Su is the world authority on the behavioral ecology and control of subterranean termites. Subterranean termites cost U.S. consumers more than $1.5 billion annually to control, and are a primary concern for homeowners in Florida.

Su developed a monitoring/baiting procedure that enabled him to eliminate an entire colony of several million termites using less than 1 gram of insecticide. The procedure is now commercially available to the public under the tradename Sentricon and it has drastically reduced insecticide use in termite control.

This non-invasive baiting procedure is also ideal for environmentally sensitive historic sites such as the Statue of Liberty, the White House and the Alamo.

For his contribution to the development of this new technology, Su received the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture’s Honor Award for Individual Achievement in Research in 1996.

Dr. Yamamoto is a co-discoverer of the deadly feline immunodeficiency virus, or FIV, and inventor of the first FIV vaccine. Now she’s applying what she’s learned in cats to develop a vaccine for the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, that causes AIDS.

Yamamoto and a colleague discovered FIV in 1986, then she spent years pursuing an effective vaccine to prevent the disease. UF holds joint patents on the vaccine, which is sold as Fel-O-Vax FIV®.

Yamamoto’s research into FIV eventually led to an understanding that the virus had many similarities to HIV, and her research over the last dozen years has focused on developing an effective HIV vaccine. Her vaccine work has been funded with more than $3.4 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health since 1989.

Licensing revenues from Dr. Yamamoto’s discoveries exceed $14 million and it is a testament to her dedication that she has donated most of her personal royalty income back into her research program.

Founded in 2013, the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame recognizes and commends Florida inventors whose achievements have advanced the quality of life for Floridians, the state and the nation. More information is available at www.FloridaInvents.org

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