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Biomedical Engineering Professor Named UT Austin's Inventor of the Year

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The University of Texas at Austin named Cockrell School of Engineering professor Thomas Milner Inventor of the Year, recognizing his work in optical-based therapeutics and diagnostics, which has improved the lives of thousands of people suffering from illnesses such as glaucoma and heart disease. Milner, a faculty member in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, received the award at a ceremony held on Nov. 19.

“There is a satisfaction from seeing the ideas and fruits of my work applied to real life problems that are affecting people’s lives,” Milner said.

Milner invented a light-based diagnostics technology that helps physicians view the thickness and topography of arterial plaques and determine their risk of rupture. His technology, called optical coherence tomography (OCT), served as the basis for CardioSpectra Inc., a San Antonio-based company. CardioSpectra, which received seed funding from Texas’ Emerging Technology Fund (ETF), was sold to the Volcano Corp. in a multi-million dollar transaction in 2007. The transaction has been named one of ETF’s greatest return-on-investments.

Milner joined the faculty of UT Austin in 1998. Throughout his career, he has been named as a co-inventor on more than 35 issued U.S. patents, and he has co-authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications.


Thomas Milner holds the Marion E. Forsman Centennial Professorship in Engineering.