NAI Fellows


The NAI Fellows Program was established to highlight 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. Election to NAI Fellow status is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors.

The program has 1,060 Fellows worldwide representing more than 250 prestigious universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes. Collectively, the Fellows hold more than 38,000 issued U.S. patents, which have generated over 11,000 licensed technologies and companies, and created more than 36 million jobs. In addition, over $1.6 trillion in revenue has been generated based on NAI Fellow discoveries.

With the induction of the 2018 class, there are now more than 125 presidents and senior leaders of research universities and non-profit research institutes, 502 members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; 40 inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, 57 recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation and U.S. National Medal of Science, 34 Nobel Laureates, 3 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering recipients, 304 AAAS Fellows, 200 IEEE Fellows, and 164 Fellows of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, among other awards and distinctions.

Call for Nominations

Nomination Requirements:

  • Nominee’s full CV
  • A citation of impact from the Nominator containing evidence of the nominee’s outstanding contributions/achievements in innovation, describing the nominee’s work and the impact that their work, inventions, companies and/or products have had on society. No more than two (2) pages.
  • Full List of U.S. patents
  • Full List of any Startup companies or other companies that the nominee has worked with.
  • Full List of any products that have resulted from the nominee’s work.
Submit nominations (in full) to Wade Fulghum, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Office of Research Commercialization at by June 10th, 2019.

Current NAI Fellows

Sylvia M Blankenship, Ph.D.

Emerita Professor and Senior Associate Dean – NC State

2018 NAI Fellow

Koji Sode, Ph.D.

Professor of Biomedical Engineering
and William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor – UNC

2018 NAI Fellow

Donald Bitzer, Ph.D.

Distinguished University Research Professor – NC State

2017 NAI Fellow

William Ditto, Ph.D.

Professor – NC State

2017 NAI Fellow

Alexander V. Kabanov, Ph.D., Dr.Sci.

Director, Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery and Mescal S. Ferguson Distinguished Professor – UNC

2017 NAI Fellow

Jayant Baliga, Ph.D.

Distinguished University Professor – NC State

2016 NAI Fellow

Ruben Carbonell, Ph.D.

Frank Hawkins Kenan Distinguished Professor – NC State

2016 NAI Fellow

Harold Kohn, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus – UNC

2016 NAI Fellow

Frances Ligler, Ph.D.

Lampe Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering – NC State

2016 NAI Fellow

Nancy Allbritton, Ph.D.

Kenan Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Chemistry and Chair, Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering – UNC

2014 NAI Fellow

Jay Narayan, Ph.D.

John C. Fan Distinguished Chair Professor – NC State

2014 NAI Fellow

David Aspnes, Ph.D.

Distinguished University Professor and Director of Graduate Programs – NC State

2013 NAI Fellow

Jerry Cuomo, Ph.D.

Distinguished Research Professor – NC State

2013 NAI Fellow

Joseph DeSimone, Ph.D.

Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry – UNC

2013 NAI Fellow

Oliver Smithies, Ph.D.

Nobel laureate and Weatherspoon Eminent Distinguished Professor – UNC

2012 NAI Fellow

Franky So, Ph.D.

Walter and Ida Freeman Distinguished Professor – NC State

2012 NAI Fellow