Celebrating the newest National Academy of Inventors fellows

McKelvey Engineering's Cox, School of Medicine's Ladenson to be inducted at annual meeting in April

Cox was instrumental building a department that has an international reputation for biomedical computing applications and computer networking as the first chair of the Department of Computer Science. (Photo: Washington University Archives)

Washington University in St. Louis this year celebrates two new fellows of the National Academy of Inventors, the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors. The distinction recognizes their prolific and innovative work and their contributions, which have had tangible, positive impacts on society.

The two new honorees are Jerome R. Cox Jr., senior professor emeritus in computer science and engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering, and Jack H. Ladenson, the Oree M. Carroll and Lillian B. Ladenson Professor of Clinical Chemistry in Pathology and Immunology and professor of clinical chemistry in medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Cox has been at Washington University since 1955, starting as an assistant professor after having earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In April 1964, he founded the Biomedical Computing Laboratory, whose goal was the introduction of small computers to biomedical research.

But Cox may be best known for bringing to Washington University from MIT the Laboratory INstrument Computer, or LINC, and the team that designed it.

The LINC pioneered personal computing in biomedical research at the School of Medicine and in biomedical laboratories throughout the nation. In 1975, Cox became the founding chairman of the Department of Computer Science, where, for 15 years, he guided its development and growth.

With two colleagues, Cox founded Growth Networks, which produced an advanced networking chip set and was eventually acquired by Cisco. He launched Blendics Inc., which makes computer-aided design software to assist in the development of asynchronous computing systems. He also founded Q-Net Security, a cybersecurity company that works at the physical level, using a hardware barrier to thwart cyberattacks.

Cox is a member of the National Academy of Science’s National Academy of Medicine and a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the American College of Medical Informatics.

The Harold B. and Adelaide G. Welge Professor of Computer Science at Washington University from 1989-98, Cox was awarded an honorary doctor of science in 2001. His honors also include the 2011 Chancellor’s Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which he received along with Jonathan Turner. That same year, Cox was recognized with the then-School of Engineering & Applied Science’s Dean’s Award.