Penn State faculty elected senior members of the National Academy of Inventors

February 11, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) has named 66 academic inventors to the inaugural class of NAI senior members. Among these are six Penn State researchers:  

Rongming Chu, associate professor of electrical engineering, College of Engineering

Chu’s research is seeking to pave the way for gallium nitride transistor technology that can be used for the generation of radar, wireless communication systems and power electronics.

Swaroop Ghosh, Monkowski Career Development Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, College of Engineering

Ghosh's research explores next generation technologies to cut down power consumption of processors by orders of magnitude while solving pressing security needs, such as protection against theft of hardware intellectual property, counterfeiting and side-channel attacks. The innovation in his research is to convert unwanted properties like variability, natural randomness and chaos into security-specific applications, such as a random number generator to generate strong cryptographic keys and physically unclonable functions to authenticate the hardware.    

William E. Higgins, distinguished professor of electrical engineering, College of Engineering

Higgins’ pioneering work has played a central role in the development of a multimodal image-guided intervention system for bronchoscopy that is leading to better treatment options for patients.

Chris Giebink, associate professor of electrical engineering, College of Engineering

Giebink’s work spans/interconnects many areas — from photovoltaics for next generation solar cells to photodevices. His group focuses on fundamental physical questions underlying the behavior of charge carriers, excited states and light-matter interaction in disordered and nanostructured semiconductors. 

Kenji Uchino, professor of electrical engineering, College of Engineering

Uchino, a pioneer in piezoelectric actuators, is director of the International Center for Actuators and Transducers. Some of his recent work focuses on using piezoelectric devices for energy-harvesting applications.

Douglas WernerJohn L. and Genevieve H. McCain Chair Professor of Electrical Engineering, College of Engineering

Werner is an innovator in the use of new materials to extend the capabilities of antennas. These advances contribute to the improved coverage and availability of global communication systems. 

NAI senior members are active faculty, scientists and administrators from NAI member institutions with success in patents, licensing and commercialization. They have produced technologies that have brought, or aspire to bring, real impact on the welfare of society. 

Senior members also foster a spirit of innovation within their communities through enhancing an inventive atmosphere at their institutions, while educating and mentoring the next generation of inventors. 

“We congratulate all these researchers who work daily to make an impact on not just their Penn State community, but our shared global community,” said Penn State Vice President for Research Neil Sharkey. “We appreciate NAI for recognizing their extraordinary contributions.”

This inaugural class of NAI Senior Members represents 37 research universities and government and non-profit research institutes. They are named inventors on over 1,100 issued U.S. patents. 

"The election of the inaugural class of NAI senior members is a significant designation for a group of prolific inventors from NAI member institutions who are collectively a driving force in American innovation," said Paul R. Sanberg, NAI president. "This is truly an accomplishment worth celebrating."

Senior members undergo a two-step selection process, including internal NAI review and consideration by the Advisory Committee. The committee is comprised of elected NAI members and other professionals considered pioneers in their respective field. 

Senior members are elected quarterly, and nominations are accepted on a rolling basis. Nominations are currently being accepted for the spring 2019 class on the NAI website

A full list of NAI senior members is available on the NAI website. 

The National Academy of Inventors is a member organization comprising U.S. and international universities, and governmental and nonprofit research institutes, with more than 4,000 individual inventor members and Fellows spanning more than 250 institutions worldwide. It was founded in 2010 at the University of South Florida to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society.

Last Updated February 11, 2019