Three Duke Researchers Named To National Academy Of Inventors

Two Engineers and Nobel Laureate Recognized for Innovation

The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) has elected three faculty members from Duke University to its 2016 class of Fellows.

Two of the new Fellows come from the Pratt School of Engineering: David Smith, the James B. Duke Professor and chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of the Center for Metamaterials and Integrated Plasmonics, and Jennifer L. West, the Fitzpatrick Family University Professor of Engineering and associate dean for Ph.D. Education. They are joined by Paul Modrich, the James B. Duke professor in the Department of Biochemistry in the Duke Medical School, and 2015 Nobel laureate in chemistry.

Founded in 2010, the inventors academy recognizes academic inventors for their prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society. With today’s announcement, the Pratt School of Engineering faculty now includes four members of the academy -- professors Robert Calderbank and Ashutosh Chilkoti were both elected in 2014 -- while Duke as a whole boasts seven, including Modrich.

“There has never been doubt that our professors are amongst the finest scholars and thinkers in the world,” said Ravi Bellamkonda, the Vinik Dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke. 

Earlier this year, West was elected to the National Academy of Engineering

With the election of the 2016 class, there are now 757 NAI Fellows, representing 229 research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes. The 2016 Fellows are named inventors on 5,437 issued U.S. patents, bringing the collective patents held by all NAI Fellows to more than 26,000.

The 2016 Fellows will be inducted on April 6, 2017, as part of the Sixth Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum in Boston, MA. U.S. Commissioner for Patents, Andrew H. Hirshfeld will provide the keynote address for the induction ceremony. In honor of their outstanding accomplishments, Fellows will be presented with a special trophy, medal and rosette pin.