News Release 

Four University of Houston faculty members elected to National Academy of Inventors

Research ranges from better batteries to better ways of diagnosing Alzheimer's disease

University of Houston

The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) has named 32 academic inventors to the February 2020 class of NAI Senior Members. Among these are four UH faculty members: Yuhua Chen, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, Jason Eriksen, associate professor of pharmacology, Hung "Harry" Le, instructional assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Yan Yao, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.

"We are proud to have four of our inventors elected as senior members of the National Academy of Inventors," said Amr Elnashai, vice president for research and technology transfer. "The large number of NAI members from UH is an indication of the breadth of our patentable technologies. The increasing number of senior fellows is a testament to the depth and persistence of our discovery ecosystem."

This latest class of NAI Senior Members represents 16 research universities and government and non-profit research institutes. They are named inventors on 368 issued U.S. patents.

"NAI member institutions support some of the most elite inventors on the horizon. With the NAI Senior Member award, we are recognizing innovators who are rising stars in their fields," said Paul R. Sanberg, NAI president. "This new class is joining a prolific group of academic visionaries already defining tomorrow."

Among the contributions of the new UH members:

  • Chen develops tools for improving online security and for building a faster, more robust and reliable internet that could allow for the spread of telemedicine and telesurgery. She has eight issued patents.

  • Eriksen is known for his work on Alzheimer's Disease and has six issued patents in Alzheimer's disease diagnostics and related areas.

  • Le is recognized for his work in computer design, embedded systems, ASIC, FPGA and has 21 issued patents.
  • Yao is leading the charge to improve the performance and safety of aqueous and solid-state batteries. He has 10 issued patents in the field of materials for energy conversion and storage.


To become an NAI Senior Member, nominees undergo a rigorous selection process by the NAI Advisory Committee, which is composed of elected NAI members and other professionals considered pioneers in their respective fields.

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

About the National Academy of Inventors

The National Academy of Inventors is a member organization comprising U.S. and international universities, and governmental and non-profit research institutes, with over 4,000 individual inventor members and Fellows spanning more than 250 institutions worldwide. It was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society. The NAI publishes the multidisciplinary journal, Technology and Innovation.

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