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NMSU inducts patent holders into new chapter of National Academy of Inventors

  • By Darrell Pehr
  • 575-646-3223
  • pehr@nmsu.edu
  • Oct 10, 2013
Group poses for photo.

New Mexico State University inducted 21 faculty and staff members Oct. 3 into a newly formed chapter of the National Academy of Inventors.

The inductees all hold one or more patents on their discoveries, ranging from a desalination technique that runs off solar power to an apparatus that allows a person to experience a zero- or reduced-gravity environment, similar to what one would experience on the Moon or Mars. The discoveries typically come after years of research and innovation.

"We're honoring some of the best and brightest scientists and engineers at New Mexico State University," said NMSU President Garrey Carruthers. "New Mexico State University is all about discovery. It's very important to have a number of patents and patent applications in process at all times. That's part of the way you measure a great science and engineering university. The more we do of this, the more prestigious this university will be academically, and the more money we will attract in terms of grants and contracts that will help us continue to do this important work to solve people's problems."

The patent holders were recognized at a reception and ceremony at the Stan Fulton Athletic Center sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Office of the Vice President for Economic Development.

NMSU Vice President for Research Vimal Chaitanya said NAI was founded in 2010 and NMSU was a founding member. He has attended two meetings of the organization and is pleased that the organization has been recognized by the U.S. Patent Office.

"We are proud to recognize, for the first time, those who have achieved at least one patent for their invention and to emphasize how important it is to the university," Chaitanya said. "We also wanted to take this opportunity to launch the NMSU chapter of NAI."

Nagamany Nirmalakhandan, professor of civil engineering, has received two patents, one for a project that achieves desalination through low grade waste heat sources or solar energy, and another he shares with Shuguang Deng, professor of chemical engineering, and Geoffrey Smith, professor of biology, that includes a method and apparatus for membrane-based, two-stage gas production from solid bio-materials. The team approach included the work of three Ph.D. and seven master's degree students.

On the desalination project, Nirmalkhandan noted that the work is essential in many places where people simply do not have access to good water, nor the resources to extract salt from ocean water.

Researchers C. Brad Shuster, associate professor of biology, and Jeffrey Arterburn, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, worked together on a patent for their invention of synthetic small molecule compounds with chemotherapeutic potential that inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells. They said the support from the university's Office of the Vice President for Research helped enable them to devote the time necessary to achieve their patent.

Others recognized at the ceremony included Jeffrey Beasley, Jaime Ramirez-Angulo, Deva K. Borah, Phillip De Leon, Sukumar Brahma, Vimal Chaitanya, Gregory Cooper, David Gorman, Ou Ma, Michael Simmons, Tracy Hooker, Joel Diemer, A.B. Donaldson, Wesley Eaton, Ryan Herbon, Glenn Kuehn, Ken Ruble, Carlos E. Ortega, Zohrab Samani and Mark R. DeYong.

"Eye on Research" is provided by New Mexico State University. This week's feature was written by Darrell J. Pehr of University Communications.