UNM Rainforest Innovations

Dr. Sang M. Han, Regents’ Professor and Chair in the Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering (CBE) has been named a 2023 Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). The NAI announced that it has chosen a cohort of 162 academic inventors from around the world for election as 2023 NAI Fellows.

Election to NAI Fellow status is a high professional distinction accorded 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 the welfare of society.

With the election of the 2023 class, there are now 1,898 NAI Fellows. The 2023 class represents more than 118 research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes. The 2023 Fellows are named inventors on nearly 4,600 issued U.S. patents, bringing the collective patents held by all NAI Fellows to more than 63,000 issued U.S. patents, which have generated over 13,000 licensed technologies and companies and created over 1 million jobs and over $3 trillion in revenue from NAI Fellow inventions.

The UNM Rainforest Innovations Board of Directors nominated Dr. Han for the national honor. The Board Chair, Sandra Begay stated:

“In 2018, we first recognized Dr. Han as a Rainforest Innovation Fellow based on his research endeavors and achievements in developing unique technologies that combine elements of chemical and electrical engineering. The UNMRI Board of Directors believed that Dr. Han’s accomplishments made him an outstanding candidate for the National Academy of Inventors, and so we nominated him. We are absolutely delighted he was chosen as part of 2023 class.”

Dr. Han has over 25 years of experience in developing unique technologies. His inventions are focused on improving semiconducting materials for photovoltaic systems such as solar cells and panels and creating coatings to keep our bodies and buildings cool without electricity. Other inventions are centered on designing nanofluidic systems in tiny devices, often referred to as lab-on-a-chip structures, that separate and analyze proteins and DNA for diagnosing disease. Still other innovations aim to harvest energy from urban environments to provide continuous power to our mobile devices.

Dr. Han received his B.S. in chemical engineering, with honors, from the University of California at Berkeley and his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara. After postdoctoral work with Dr. Roya Maboudian at UC Berkeley and with Dr. Neil Benjamin at the Lam Research Corporation, Dr. Han joined UNM’s Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering (CBE) (formerly the Department of Chemical & Nuclear Engineering) in 2000 as an assistant professor. In 2015, he received the honorary title of Regents Professor for his research and teaching excellence.

The 2023 Fellows will be inducted on June 18, 2024 in Raleigh, North Carolina, as part of the NAI’s 13th Annual Conference.

See also the NAI press release and list of 2023 Fellows at: https://academyofinventors.org/nai-announces-2023-class-of-fellows/

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