University at Buffalo researcher Paras Prasad, an internationally recognized expert in optics and photonics, has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).
NAI Fellow is the highest professional distinction accorded by the organization to academic researchers 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 the welfare of society.
Among other individuals, the list of NAI Fellowsincludes presidents and senior leaders of research universities and nonprofit research institutes, Nobel Laureates, and recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation and U.S. National Medal of Science.
New fellows will be inducted at a ceremony on April 6 at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts.
Prasad, PhD, serves as the executive director of UB’s Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics (ILPB). He is a SUNY Distinguished Professor in the departments of Chemistry, Physics, Medicine and Electrical Engineering.
Prasad was an early pioneer in nanomedicine, which uses super-small particles, materials and devices to treat and diagnose disease.
He specializes in the use of optics, photonics and nanotechnology in this field, and has worked with colleagues to study and develop a wide range of new materials that could ultimately improve lives around the world.
These novel materials include miniature luminescent crystals that could be used in image-guided surgery; light-activated nanoparticles that could enable the development of new bioimaging technologies for disease detection; new nanoneurotechnologies for monitoring and enhancing brain functions; and magnetic and laser-activated nanoparticles that could be used for cancer diagnosis and treatment. This latter technology was licensed to UB spinoff Nanobiotix, a publicly traded company and leader in nanomedicine that has maintained close contact with Prasad while working to develop these and other new nanomedicine products.
Prasad has published more than 750 scientific papers, eight edited books and four monographs, and has been named the inventor or co-inventor on numerous patents. In keeping with his emphasis on the translational impact of his research, Prasad has been extremely active in launching startup companies and partnering with industry for co-development of technologies to create new companies. His efforts have led to 9 different companies worldwide.
He has received numerous regional, national and international recognitions for his lifetime achievements, including the Morley Medal; Jacob F. Schoellkopf Medal; Guggenheim Fellowship; Sloan Fellowship; Western New York Health Care Industries Technology/Discovery Award; and Excellence in Pursuit of Knowledge Award of the Research Foundation for SUNY. He was named a fellow of the American Physical Society, OSA (the Optical Society) and SPIE (the international society for optics and photonics).
This year, SPIE awarded him the society’s highest honor: the Gold Medal. The University at Buffalo awarded him the high honor of the UB President’s Medal in 2016 in recognition of extraordinary service to the university, and he also received UB’s inaugural Innovation Impact Award in 2015 for his contributions to the invention of the technologies licensed to Nanobiotix.
In 2005, he was named one of the “Scientific American 50,” the magazine’s list of “visionaries from the worlds of research, industry and politics whose recent accomplishments point toward a brighter technological future for everyone.” He was on the Thomson Reuters “Highly Cited Researchers” list for 2014 and 2016.
Prasad has received honorary doctorates from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden; the Aix-Marseille University in France; and the National Research Nuclear University (MEPhI) in Russia.
The National Academy of Inventors is a nonprofit member organization comprising U.S. and international universities, and governmental and nonprofit research institutes, with over 3,000 individual inventor members and fellows spanning more than 200 institutions. The academy 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.