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Five USF Faculty Elected Senior Members of the National Academy of Inventors

NAI Senior Members 2021

Faculty from the College of Engineering and Department of Chemistry are new honorees, including the late Professor Julianne Harmon.

TAMPA  - The National Academy of Inventors has named to its new class of Senior Members five USF faculty members who have devoted their careers to inventing high-tech tools for a myriad of applications and blazing a trail for the next generation of innovators.

Three faculty members from the College of Engineering and two from the Department of Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences make up the new slate of senior members. Among them is Dr. Julianne Harmon, a pioneering polymer chemist who passed away on Jan. 26 and is remembered not only for her cutting-edge inventions, but as a revered colleague and mentor to her students.

NAI Senior Members are active faculty, scientists and administrators from NAI member institutions who have demonstrated remarkable innovation producing technologies that have brought, or aspire to bring, real impact on the welfare of society. They also have proven success in patents, licensing and commercialization.

“Each of these five faculty members have left their mark on the future not only through creating new technology, but by guiding students and engaging them in their research and development programs,” said Dr. David Conrad, director of USF’s Technology Transfer Office. “USF is proud to highlight their accomplishments and on-going achievements through this recognition from the NAI.”

The five new USF NAI Senior Members are:

mildred acevado-duncan

Mildred Acevedo-Duncan, PhD

Dr. Acevedo-Duncan, a research professor in the Department of Chemistry, is internationally recognized for her pioneering advancements and contributions in the area of cancer research, particularly in the fight against breast, brain, prostate and colorectal cancer. Her research investigates signal transduction pathways involved in cell cycle control in high-grade gliomas, one of the most radioresistant forms of cancer for which there is no current successful therapy. In her research Dr. Acevedo-Duncan has tackled one of the most difficult challenges for cancer researchers, determining why certain cells become dysregulated—dividing and producing more cells than other cells that are the precursor to cancer. She was the first to demonstrate that ozone is a significant factor in causing the disruption of normal cell mitosis. She also was the first to identify two specific enzymes that played a role in glioblastomas, a discovery that significantly advanced personalized cancer treatment. She holds seven patents. 

sanjukta bhanja

Sanjukta Bhanja, PhD

Dr. Bhanja is a professor of Electrical Engineering and Associate Dean for Academics and Student Affairs in the College of Engineering. Dr. Bhanja has been a national leader in several significant engineering education and scholarship initiatives, including the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges Scholars program, the establishment of the Academy of Distinguished Engineering Educators (ADE2), and the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter). She also leads the Nano-Computing Research Group, where she works on the leading edge of nanotechnology research and works to create and refine emerging nano-devices. She holds five patents.

Julieanne Harmon

Julianne Harmon, PhD

Professor Harmon, led an extensive career spanning both industry and academia. Dr. Harmon joined USF in 1993 after beginning her career as a polymer research chemist at such companies as the Eastman Kodak Research Laboratories, where her inventions significantly advanced the capabilities for color printing. Dr. Harmon also made groundbreaking advancements in the area of polymer nanotubes, which are utilized in structural supports for buildings, spacecraft and military aircraft among many other uses. Dr. Harmon also pioneered radiation-resistant coatings that are important to future space navigation, and invented novel chemical compounds to improve the detection of improvised explosive devices. She held 10 patents.

Stephen Saddow

Stephen Saddow, PhD

For more than 25 years, Dr. Saddow has been a pioneer at the nexus of material science and biomedical engineering and is internationally recognized in the field of Silicon Carbide (SiC) Biomedical Technology. He is a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering as well as the Department of Medical Engineering, an interdisciplinary collaboration between USF’s College of Engineering and the Morsani College of Medicine. Dr. Saddow’s research focuses on developing semi-conductor materials for high-power device applications and biomedical applications. He currently leads a National Cancer Institute grant demonstrating that SiC can be used to treat deep-tissue cancer. He further discovered that porous SiC was an ideal scaffold for growing human bone cells, potentially advantageous for biomedical devices, and pioneered and developed implantable biosensors and other medical devices. He holds 13 patents.

Jing Wang

Jing Wang, PhD

Dr. Wang is a scholar and researcher in the field of electrical engineering, pioneering advances on the frontiers of functional materials, sensors and wireless technologies. He is the Agere Systems Endowed Chair in Electrical Engineering; and Professor and Co-Director of the Center for Wireless and Microwave Information Systems (WAMI Center) at the College of Engineering. He is also the founder of Wavestronix Inc., a startup company focused on translating his technologies. Dr. Wang was instrumental in advancing development of thin-film diamond on silicon acoustic resonator technology that can enable next-generation high-performance 5G wireless communications. A team led by Dr. Wang participated in the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program to develop technology that has the capacity to analyze the structural integrity of aging buildings and infrastructure with unusual shapes, such as bridges, to determine cracks and other potential weaknesses. He holds 11 U.S. patents, and several additional provisional patents.

Senior Members are elected biannually, and nominations are accepted on a rolling basis. Nominations are currently being accepted for the next Senior Member class.

"NAI Member Institutions support some of the most elite innovators on the horizon," said Paul R. Sanberg, NAI President. "With the NAI Senior Member award distinction, we recognize and honor these innovators who are rising stars in their fields."

A full list of NAI Senior Members is available on the NAI website.

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