High honor for CBE’s Mallapragada; inducted as National Academy of Inventors Fellow

Surya Mallapragada is shown with Paul Sanberg (right), President of the National Academy of Inventors; and Drew Hirshfeld, Commissioner for Patents, U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, at the NAI ceremonies.

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering’s (CBE) Dr. Surya Mallapragada has joined an elite group of research and academic officials following her official induction as a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). The honor was bestowed at the Sixth Annual NAI Conference in Boston. Dr. Pat Halbur, DVM, executive director of the ISU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, was also inducted.

Election to NAI Fellow status is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society. Nominees must be a named inventor on patent(s) issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and must be affiliated with a university, non-profit research institute or other academic entity. Fellows have been nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation.

Mallapragada, Anson Marston Distinguished Professor and Carol Vohs Johnson Chair in CBE, has worked for about two decades to invent bio-materials and bio-inspired materials with the goal of improving human health. Her research group has been responsible for six patents, with more in the works. In addition to bio- and bio-inspired materials, others involve biodegradable polymer substrates to help nerves bridge gaps and regenerate. Her group also works in developing materials for nanovaccines as part of ISU’s Nanovaccine Initiative.

“This is really a huge honor,” she said, when her induction was announced in December of 2016. “The credit goes to all of my students – all of our research enterprise is fueled by them. This is a testament to their efforts, and not just my own.”

Mallapragada also holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and is a scientist with the Ames Laboratory.