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Four UH Researchers Named To National Academy of Inventors

Four University of Houston researchers have been named to the National Academy of Inventors. Together they hold 134 issued and pending U.S. patents, as well as many international patents.


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The UH researchers are among 143 people elected as NAI Fellows, representing 94 universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutes. Nine are Nobel Laureates.

Rathindra Bose discovered a new class of anti-cancer agents.

“So we have been designing compounds that would really shut out the cancer growth — set up a process we call ‘programmed cell death.’ And what we want it to do is to kill the cancer cells.”

Dmitri Litvinov developed ways to store more data — technology now commonly used in computer hard drives.

“Society has the need to store more and more data for all kind of purposes — some for archival purposes, some because of this big data allows for some very interesting research, and so forth.”

Zhifeng Ren found ways to grow aligned carbon nanotube arrays in a large scale.

“We had invented a way to make, align the nanocarbon tubes on any surface for flat-panel displays. And then back in 2003, I picked up another research field which is thermoelectrics — converting heat into electricity, or vice versa, if you add power to the thermoelectric devices, you can do cooling.”

Venkat Selvamanickam found a way to convert brittle ceramic superconductors into a flexible wire with 300 times the current-carrying capacity of copper wire.

“So that has a lot of implications such as power transmission cables, wind convectors and so on. So what I did was taking this ceramic material which can break easily if you drop it, and then made into a flexible wire, this wire now can be used to transmit electricity 300 times more current-carrying capacity than a copper wire.”

All four of these UH researchers are — first and foremost — teachers.

Zhifeng Ren: “Absolutely. Educational process is very important to pass on the knowledge, pass on the experience. So education is a very important part of our research here.”

The researchers will be inducted March 7 during the annual conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the headquarters of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.