University of Texas at Austin: Texas Engineers and Scientists Honored Among Top Inventors

Five engineers and scientists from The University of Texas at Austin have been selected as fellows of the National Academy of Inventors, a prestigious distinction awarded to a select group of 164 academic innovators around the world for 2021.

The new UT Austin fellows include four from the Cockrell School of Engineering and one from the College of Natural Sciences. They join 16 previous inductees from UT Austin.

These innovators have made important discoveries in a variety of areas. They’ve contributed to major leaps in semiconductors and processors, helping usher in today’s unprecedented technological boom. They’ve developed environmentally friendly solvents and processes for major industrial uses. And they’ve created materials and catalysts to improve medical imaging, gene editing, drug delivery, environmental monitoring and more.

Sanjay Banerjee is a professor in the Cockrell School’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and director of the Microelectronics Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin. His research focuses on the intersection of electrical engineering, solid-state devices and nanomaterials, with an emphasis on designing and fabricating novel electronic and spintronic devices with applications in logic, memory, photovoltaics and on-chip electronics. He has published more than 1,000 papers, received 35 U.S. patents and supervised more than 80 Ph.D. and 70 M.S. students.

Joan Brennecke is a professor in the Cockrell School’s McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering. Brennecke’s research focuses on the development of environmentally friendly solvents and processes, specifically the use of ionic liquids and carbon dioxide for extractions, separations and reactions. She was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2012, is a former editor of the Journal of Chemical & Engineering Data and serves as deputy director of the National Science Foundation-funded Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources, which aims to develop new technologies to convert natural gas into transportation fuels.

Ananth Dodabalapur is an ECE professor whose interests are in the areas of electronic circuits, solar energy conversion devices, organic and thin-film semiconductors, and charge transport in organic semiconductors. He has published over 350 articles in his career and has more than 27 U.S. patents issued.

Yi Lu is a professor in the College of Natural Sciences’ Department of Chemistry. His research interests lie at the interface between chemistry and biology, engineering and designing environmentally benign catalysts for renewable energy generation and pharmaceuticals; DNAzymes and their applications in environmental monitoring, medical diagnostics, gene editing and targeted drug delivery; and assembling nanomaterials for use in imaging and medicine. He has received many awards, including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professors Award, the Royal Society of Chemistry Applied Inorganic Chemistry Award, and the Joseph Chatt Award.

Earl Swartzlander is an ECE professor who previously worked for TRW Space and Defense. While at TRW, he developed the first semi-custom integrated circuit with more than 100,000 transistors and led the development of a very high-speed floating point FFT processor. He has published more than 275 papers, and his research interests at UT Austin include the technology, architecture and development of special purpose processors.

Founded in 2010, the National Academy of Inventors aims to recognize inventors with patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, with an overall emphasis on innovation that clearly benefits society. The induction ceremony for this year’s honorees will take place June 13-15, 2022, in Phoenix.

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