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UC researchers named to prestigious National Academy of Inventors

Nine University of California inventors and innovators have been selected to become National Academy of Inventors (NAI) fellows, in recognition of their pioneering research with significant societal impacts.

The new UC fellows — faculty members who hail from the Berkeley, Davis, Los Angeles, Irvine, San Francisco and Santa Barbara campuses — have made distinguished contributions to areas ranging from cancer diagnostics and therapies to semiconductors and telecommunications.

They will be inducted on Thursday, April 5, 2018, as part of the seventh annual NAI conference at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Election into the NAI is one of the highest professional distinctions for inventors from universities, governmental and nonprofit research institutions, and their accomplishments in improving the quality of life, economic development and welfare of society through their inventions.

First nominated by their peers, potential fellows are then reviewed and selected by the distinguished NAI Fellows Selection Committee on the basis of their contributions to innovation, technology and discovery.

There are now more than 60 UC-affiliated NAI fellows, including the newest cohort:

  • Tsu-Jae King Liu, a distinguished professor in microelectronics at UC Berkeley and a pioneer in the field of semiconductor devices and technology.
  • Daniel A. Portnoy, the Edward Penhoet Distinguished Chair in Global Public Health and Infectious Diseases at UC Berkeley and a leading expert on food-borne pathogens. His research on microbial pathogenesis has led to cancer immunotherapies, vaccine discovery and vaccine development platforms.
  • Eli Yablonovitch, a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at UC Berkeley and the director of the National Science Foundation-funded Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science. Yablonovitch is a leader in the field of optoelectronics, the technology that makes high-speed internet communications possible.
  • Laura Marcu, a professor of biomedical engineering and neurological surgery at UC Davis. Through optical spectroscopy and imaging techniques for medical diagnostics, Marcu’s laboratory promotes better diagnosis, treatment and prevention of human diseases.
  • Henry Samueli, a UC Irvine distinguished adjunct professor of electrical engineering and computer science. Samueli is a named inventor in 75 U.S. patents for high-speed communications technology and has made pioneering advances in the development and commercialization of analog and mixed signal circuits for modern communication systems.
  • Subramanian S. Iyer, a Distinguished Chancellor’s Professor and the Charles P. Reames Chair in Engineering at UCLA. He leads the Center for Heterogeneous Integration and Performance and Scaling, which aims to lead paradigm shifts in the design and manufacture of integrated circuits and systems.
  • Alan N. Willson Jr., UCLA professor emeritus and the inaugural holder of UCLA’s Charles P. Reames Chair in Engineering. Willson has made pioneering contributions in the fields of digital signal processing and electronic circuits and systems.
  • Peter Walter, a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at UCSF. Over a research career spanning three decades, Walter has made seminal discoveries about cellular quality-control mechanisms and their impact on diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Daniel J. Blumenthal, a professor in UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Blumenthal’s lab at UC Santa Barbara develops new hardware and communications technologies to solve complex communications, transmission, switching and signal processing problems.

The UC system is an innovation powerhouse, not only in California but throughout the world. UC generates an average of five inventions per day and holds more patents than any other university in the country.

The nine new fellows will join a group of more than 900 total fellows of NAI, who include Nobel laureates; recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation and the National Medal of Science; presidents and senior leaders of research universities and nonprofit research institutes; members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and more.

NAI is a nonprofit member organization comprising U.S. and international universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutes, with over 4,000 individual inventor members and fellows spanning more than 250 institutions worldwide. The organization’s mission is to recognize and encourage inventors with patents, 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.