The Florida Inventors Hall of Fame announced Monday that UF professor emeritus William Hauswirth and UF engineering alumna Deepika Singh as two of 10 new members elected to its 2023 class of distinguished inventors.
According to a UF press release, “Hauswirth is being inducted for groundbreaking advancements in gene therapy, especially through pioneering the first gene therapy drug, Luxturna®, to treat both adults and children with inherited retinal disease, as well as his work restoring vision to the functionally blind.”
The FDA approved the gene therapy drug in 2017. The drug treats Leber congenital amaurosis type 2 (LCA 2) which is caused by a genetic defect. The treatment technique, devised by Hauswirth, uses a harmless virus that delivers a functional copy of the sight-saving gene to the retina.
“I was in the right place at the right time, with the right background, to develop successful gene therapies for different genetic forms of human blindness,” Hauswirth said in the press release.
Singh is the co-founder and CEO of Sinmat, a company that specializes in novel polishing processes for the semiconductor industry. Global companies use the process in manufacturing electric vehicles, smartwatches, smartphones, 5G communications infrastructure and advanced defense electronics.
“Early in my career, I worked on patents at a Fortune 500 company located in Gainesville where I learned to appreciate the important of focusing on ideas that could make a broader impact and also be commercialized,” said Singh in the press release.
Singh earned her Master’s in materials science and engineering from UF.
The Florida Inventors Hall of Fame will formally induct the 2023 class of distinguished inventors at its 10th Anniversary Induction Ceremony and Gala in October.