Dr. Gary Michelson

Dr. Gary K. Michelson with his adopted dog

Gary Karlin Michelson, M.D., is a distinguished Board Certified Orthopedic Spinal Surgeon and a Diplomate of that the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, who has devoted his life to helping others.

Dr. Michelson was born and raised in Philadelphia. He left home at 17 years of age and put himself through college and medical school. He attended Temple University and Hahnemann Medical College (now Drexel University). He did a fellowship in spinal surgery at St. Luke’s, in a joint program of Texas Medical Center in association with Baylor University.

Disappointed with the very low success rates and unreliability of the spinal surgical procedures at that time, he spent the next 20 years developing new implants, surgical procedures, and the instruments required to carry out those procedures. These technological breakthroughs have made spinal surgery far less invasive and far more effective. The Michelson procedures diminished the blood loss, pain, disability, and recovery time associated with the older procedures. These new procedures require minimal hospital time even to the point where many of them can be done on an outpatient basis. The likelihood of success for these newer procedures has been consistently very high, and the time for return to full activity has been substantially reduced. Throughout the world these new procedures have become the most dominant means of treating both the common spinal disorders as well as those which are the most debilitating. Millions of patients have already benefited from these inventions.

Dr. Michelson is the most prolific inventor in the history of medicine, and is the sole named inventor of more than 950 already issued patents throughout the world. He is one of a very few people ever inducted into both the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and the National Academy of Inventors.

Dr. Michelson founded, funded, continues to fund and direct three private foundations. The Michelson Medical Research Foundation was established by the doctor in 2005 by an initial gift of 100 million dollars. The foundation does not accept outside contributions but has received follow up contributions by the doctor. The foundation funds cutting edge medical research that would be considered too avant garde to be funded by NIH or likely to receive funding by other conventional sources.

The Found Animals Foundation, (FAF), also founded in 2005, is directly involved in saving and improving the lives of companion animals. Decreasing the number of animals coming into the municipal animal shelters to be destroyed by creating and funding both no and low cost spay & neuter facilities including mobile units to bring those services to where the need is the greatest.

The Doctor and F.A.F. were main drivers and supporters of the creation and qualification of the California Pet Lovers License Plate, the funds from which go to support no cost spay and neuter services.

F.A.F. provides microchips and registration for the life of the animal at no or extremely low cost so that lost pets can be returned to their owners rather than be destroyed. Foundation, grants and awards have been used to raise millions of dollars for use by the local shelters and rescues.

In another program the foundation goes into the municipal animal shelters and collects animals that would have been destroyed the following day and adopts them out from their own Adopt and Shops. Found Animals has grown into 60 full time employees and several hundred volunteers and has touched the lives of 1.5 million pets and counting.

Founded in 2010 Twenty Million Minds, (20MM), has been catalytic and financially supportive of creating the first 25 high quality, digital, fully downloadable, and interactive college level textbooks. These textbooks correspond to more than 50% of the courses required at the community college level or the first two years of a four year program. These high quality digital textbooks would represent a cost savings to students the value of which exceeds the actual cost of community college tuition.

20 MM is also involved in a program to make accessible to prisoners the remedial education required for them to be able to function outside of prison. A lack of education is one of the prime prognosticators for a high rate of recidivism. This basic level of education is essential to the successful reintegration of these people back into society.

In another 20MM program a practical intellectual property textbook and course appropriate for instruction at the college level have been created de novo.

The doctor has personally funded two major reforestation programs resulting in the planting of more than seven million trees on approximately 50 square miles.

In conjunction with many others and on behalf of independent inventors, Dr. Michelson worked to help shape and ultimately to have passed the America Invents Act of 2011. In recognition of his efforts Dr. Michelson was invited by President Obama to attend the signing of that historical legislation at the White House.

In 2014 Dr. Michelson and his wife Alya personally gifted 50 million dollars to the University of Southern California to fund the creation of a convergent bioscience center to produce real world medical breakthroughs in real time.

Dr. Michelson has been a longtime promoter and supporter of entrepreneurial competitions at various business schools throughout the country.

Dr. Gary Michelson is also the largest private underwriter of the Sabin Institute’s research program to develop immunizing vaccines against the various parasitic worms that afflict more than one billion of the world's most destitute people, mostly women and children, to devastating effect.

Awards & Honors

  • Member of the board of the Educational Foundation of the Intellectual Property Owners Association
  • May 4, 2011 Inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C.
  • One of the finalists in the National Inventor of the Year Awards (presented by the Intellectual Property Owners Association) in multiple years
  • Recipient of the 2006 Paralyzed Veterans of America Award for the Outstanding Medical Research in the field of spinal disorders
  • Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's Letter of Recognition (2003) for Dr. Michelson's philanthropic Contributions to the City of Los Angeles.

Articles & Speaking Engagements

  • Keynote Speaker for the California Regional Independent Inventors Conference in August, 2011
  • Keynote Speaker for the May, 2011 60th California State Science Fair competition in Los Angeles, California
  • An open letter to the United States Senate on Patent Reform was read into the Congressional Record on February 28, 2011 by the Honorable Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • 2010 Public Advocate as Independent Inventor for Patent Reform (see attached letter to the Honorable Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Ways and Means committee and the Senator's response).
  • 2010 Invited participant at the United States Patent and Trademark Office Forum on Quality Control in the U.S.P.T.O. patent examination process.
  • USPTAO-PPAC Forum (May 20, 2010) – Invited lecturer on patent reform
  • Invited guest speaker on patent reform at the United States Patent and Trademark Office Advisory Committee Meeting (P.P.A.C.) (2009)
    Publisher: Thieme 2005
  • 2005 Invited Keynote Speaker at the CLEO Workshop
  • Invited speaker to testify before Congress of the United States on regulatory oversight of the Food and Drug Administration chaired by the Honorable Joseph Barton (testimony published in the 1995 congressional record).
  • Wall Street Journal (July 24, 1995 – Subject of a front page story recognizing Dr. Michelson's creativity and inventorship.
  • American Scientist (July-August 1995) – Included in article recognizing Dr. Michelson's creativity and inventorship.


  • 2011 Invited by Barack Obama President of the United States to the White House Rose Garden Signing Ceremony for the America Invents Act.