The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) announced Tuesday its 2020 class of fellows, including four UCLA Samueli School of Engineering faculty members. There are now 18 UCLA Samueli-affiliated NAI fellows.
Election to the NAI fellowship is the highest professional distinction exclusive for inventors and innovators from academic institutions. This year, 175 fellows joined this prestigious cohort in recognition of their accomplishments in “creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.”
Fellow nominees must be a named inventor on patent(s) issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and affiliated with a university, non-profit research institute or other academic entity to qualify. Candidates are first nominated by their peers and reviewed by the NAI Fellows Selection Committee. The UCLA faculty members honored this year are:
Jason Cong, UCLA’s Volgenau Professor for Engineering Excellence and a distinguished professor of computer science at UCLA Samueli. A member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), Cong has made groundbreaking contributions to electronic-design automation, energy-efficient computing and highly scalable algorithms. He also holds a faculty appointment in electrical and computer engineering. Cong is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He is also a recipient of the University Research Award for excellence in semiconductor-design research from the Semiconductor Industry Association.
Louis Ignarro, a distinguished professor emeritus of medical and molecular pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine, with an appointment in chemical and biomolecular engineering at UCLA Samueli. Ignarro received the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his landmark discoveries of the roles that nitric oxide plays as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system. His research also led to the development and marketing of sildenafil or Viagra, Ignarro is a member of NAE, the NationalAcademy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts &Sciences. Ignarro is also an 11-time winner of the medical school’s Golden Apple Award, which is selected by UCLA medical students for excellence in teaching.
Bahram Jalali, UCLA’s Fang Lu Professor of Engineering, and a distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering at UCLA Samueli. Jalali has made a number of seminal contributions to silicon photonics, nonlinear dynamics, real-time instruments and algorithms. Among the many honors he has received are the R.W. Wood Prize from the Optical Society of America for the first silicon laser, the Aaron Kressel Award from IEEE, the Achievement Medal from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (U.K.) and the Pioneer in Technology Award from the Society for Brain Mapping & Therapeutics. Jalali is a fellow of IEEE, SPIE (formerly the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers), the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He also holds a faculty appointment in bioengineering and is a member of the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI).
George Varghese, a chancellor’s professor of computer science at UCLA Samueli. His research interests include network verification and network algorithmics, which help make the internet faster, more reliable and secure. Several algorithms he developed are now widely used in products offered by Microsoft, Cisco and Juniper. A member of NAE and a fellow of ACM, Varghese is also a recipient of the IEEE Kobayashi Award for Computers and Communications, and the Lifetime Award from the ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication.
NAI is a nonprofit member organization with more than 4,000 individual members worldwide. With the election of the 2020 class, the NAI Fellow program now has 1,403 fellows across the globe, representing more than 250 leading universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutes. According to the academy, the fellows hold more than 42,700 issued U.S. patents, which have generated 13,000 licensed technologies, 2,300 companies, $2.2 trillion in revenue and more than 36 million jobs.
The 2020 fellows will be inducted June 8, 2021, as part of the 10th NAI conference in Tampa, Florida.