Two Iowa State University faculty will be inducted into the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) tomorrow as part of the Sixth Annual Conference at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum in Boston, Massachusetts.
In December, Pat Halbur, professor and chair of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine, and Surya Mallapragada, Anson Marston Distinguished Professor and the Carol Vohs Johnson Chair in Chemical and Biological Engineering, were named fellows of the NAI, a nonprofit organization that recognizes inventors with U.S. patents.
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 welfare of society.
Halbur and Mallapragada were two of only 175 leaders across the nation selected for the current class.
Pat Halbur, who was recently named the interim dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine effective July 1, has contributed to advances in biopharmaceuticals and animal health. He has 14 patents, including one related to a vaccine on the market to control porcine circovirus on pig farms. Halbur is also the executive director of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL), which is the only core lab for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network in the Midwest. Critical to the early detection and effective response of diseases, the VDL directly impacts the state's $32 billion animal agriculture industry.
Surya Mallapragada, who has appointments with materials science and engineering and the Ames Laboratory, has worked for nearly two decades to invent bio-materials and bio-inspired materials with the goal of improving human health.
Mallapragada's research group has six patents, with more in the pipeline. In addition to patents for the development of biodegradable polymer substrates that help nerves to bridge gaps and regenerate, the group is currently developing materials for nanovaccines as part of Iowa State's Nanovaccine Initiative.
Halbur and Mallapragada join previous Iowa State selections Jonathan Wickert (2014), senior vice president and provost, and Iver Anderson (2015), an adjunct professor of materials science and engineering who works at the Ames Laboratory, in the National Academy of Inventors.