Inventor of the Year

​​​​​Congratulations to the 2018 Inventors of the Year​

​​This year's event will be held on October 16​, 2018​ at UW Medicine's South Lake Union Campus from 5:00-7:30 pm.

Thomas S. Lendvay, MD, Attending Pediatric Urologist at Seattle Children's Hospital and Professor in the Department of Urology at the University of Washington. He is also the Program Director for the Pediatric Urology Fellowship at Seattle Children's. He has spearheaded the robotics program at Seattle Children's, where he is Co-Director of the Robotics program and collaborates with the University of Washington Biorobotics Engineering Department on clinical applications of new telerobotic technologies. He serves as Adjunct Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering. In addition, he is a contributing member of the WWAMI Institute of Simulation in Healthcare (WISH), which helps advance surgical education for medical students and residents through simulation curriculum.​​

His clinical and research focus is on minimally invasive surgery using laparoscopy and telerobotic surgical technologies. He is the Principal Investigator for extramurally funded Deparment of Defense grants testing the role that surgical warm-up using virtual reality simulators has on the technical performance of surgeons. Through his pioneering research in methods to objectively assess the technical skills of surgeons, Dr. Lendvay co-invented Crowd-Sourced Assessment of Technical Skills (CSATS), which leverages anonymous distributed crowds of non-medically trained people to assess the technique of surgeons just as expert surgeons would. This technology led to a University of Washington spin-out company - CSATS, Inc. - that provides this service to hospitals interested in quality improvement feedback for their providers. Dr. Lendvay served as the Chief Medical Officer from 2014-2018, until it was acquired by Johnson & Johnson.

All of these initiatives have been directed towards the goal of reducing surgical errors and raising the level of surgeon skill towards excellence for optimal patient care.

The School of Medicine invites colleagues and friends to join us in honoring the outstanding scientist and celebrate the spirit of innovation at UW Medicine!

Criteria & Selection Process

Each year the Inventor of the Year Selection Committee solicits nominations from Department Chairs and Administrators. Nominations are then reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • Number of lives saved or improved.
  • Biomedical impact of the invention.
  • ​Contribution to the bioscience sector.
  • Contributions to the UW CoMotion mission to extend the impact of University of Washington research through the creation of partnerships that encourage investment in innovation.
  • Contributions to UW School of Medicine faculty community.

Previous Award Winners

The Inventor of the Year Awards honor outstanding UW research scientists whose innovations have had a major, positive effect on both healthcare and our local economy. The 2017 Inventor of the Year Awards honored Christy McKinney, Ph.D., MPH and Michael Cunningham, M.D., Ph.D. for their collaborative work inventing the NIFTY Cup. The NIFTY cup has the potential to help 15 million infants who are born with breastfeeding difficulties each year worldwide.

They join many other exemplary research scientists also honored with an Inventor of the Year Award. See the complete list of Inventor of the Year Award recipients since 2004: Inventor of the Year 2017-2004 (PDF)​​ See a complete list of Lifetime Innovators whose legacy impacts future generations of research: Lifetime Innovators thru 2015 (PDF)


If you have any questions about the Inventor of the Year Awards please contact Mary Downes at or 206.221.5807.​​