Laser Dermatology Pioneer Inducted into Inventors Hall of Fame

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Dr. Richard Rox Anderson, inventor of laser dermatology, is a 2020 inductee in the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF). A total of 22 innovation pioneers were announced as the 2020 class of Inductees on stage at CES on Jan. 7.

Dr. Richard Rox Anderson. Courtesy of National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Dr. Richard Rox Anderson. Courtesy of National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Anderson’s contributions include laser hair removal, photodynamic therapy, laser treatment of port-wine stains, and research in free electron laser treatment for the selective destruction of lipids for possible treatment of acne, cellulite, and atherosclerosis. Together with his colleague Dieter Manstein, Anderson developed fractional photothermolysis (FP), a procedure that rehabilitates hypertrophic scars using microscopic laser beams to initiate a natural wound healing response without additional scarring.

Anderson received his M.D. degree from the joint MIT-Harvard medical program, Health Sciences and Technology. He became a part of the Harvard faculty after completing the university’s dermatology residency and is now serving as a professor in dermatology at Harvard Medical School. Anderson is also the director of the Wellman Center for Photomedicine and an adjunct professor of Health Sciences and Technology at MIT.

Anderson has established charitable medical treatment facilities in several countries. “I’m a guy who likes to solve problems, and I care about other people, and sometimes that gets expressed by solving problems in a lab, inventing and making technology work for people,” said Anderson in an interview with the NIHF. “I think of myself as a problem solver.”

“Innovation is the foundation for everything we do at the National Inventors Hall of Fame,” NIHF CEO Michael Oister said. “Our class of 2020 — and their world-changing inventions as diverse as ibuprofen, optical fiber, the word processor, and the parachute — will be incorporated into our Innovation Ecosystem and our leading children’s STEM programs such as Camp Invention.”

The 2020 National Inventors Hall of Fame induction ceremony is sponsored by the USPTO, Qualcomm, AgroFresh, Corning, North Carolina State University, and Red Point Digital.

For full biographies of each Inductee, visit

Published: January 2020
photodynamic therapy
A medical technology that uses lasers or other light sources in combination with photosensitizing drugs to treat cancerous tumors.
fractional photothermolysis
A laser skin-resurfacing method that creates microscopic thermal wounds referred to as microscopic treatment zones (MTZs), which are surrounded by uninjured tissue. The MTZs are usually arranged in a grid pattern and are invisible to the naked eye. This patterned approach is less intense than the nonfractional methods in which all of the skin surface is treated. The MTZs create smaller injuries and shorter migratory pathways of wound-filling keratinocytes, resulting in faster skin repair.
BusinessNational Inventors Hall of FameR. Rox Andersondermatologyphotodynamic therapyfree electron laserfractional photothermolysispeopleLasersBiophotonicslight speedRapidScan

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