3 UC Berkeley faculty members to join National Academy of Inventors

The National Academy of Inventors, or NAI, announced Tuesday that three UC Berkeley faculty members have been recognized for excellence in creativity and innovation.

Jasper Rine, Chenming Hu and Paul Wright of UC Berkeley have been selected as members of the NAI. The membership is awarded to scientists who have created or aided in the creation of technology that has positively affected quality of life.

The three faculty members, who will be formally inducted in April, are all highly regarded in their respective fields. They represent the campus departments of molecular and cell biology, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering, respectively.

“These people have received many other awards for their scholarship and distinction, this is just another example,” said UC Berkeley spokesperson Robert Sanders.

With the addition of this year’s honorees, UC Berkeley now has 10 NAI fellows, and nine other scientists were elected from the UC system this year.

Hu is a professor in the graduate school of electrical engineering and computer science. His research has produced smaller and more reliable integrated circuits and has helped build a model for designing integrated circuits, which has been used worldwide since 1997.

Wright, the A. Martin Berlin Chair of Mechanical Engineering, directs the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute, which is the only campuswide institution taking a climate-based approach to energy research. He is currently working on a project to create large batteries, similar to those in a Tesla car, which he hopes to apply to a powerwall in a house. Wright aims to eventually create gird-sized batteries.

“I see this as a terrific acknowledgment for all the great work that my students and colleagues do,” Wright said.

Rine, president of the Genetics Society of America, is a geneticist whose research has helped create several startup biotech companies. He is also known for fostering a passion for science in high school students through his work with high school biology teachers and is renowned for his leadership in the Dog Genome Project.

The three have been notable mentors to their students, some of whom have gone on to found successful startups in their respective fields.

“(UC Berkeley students) are incredibly bright and creative,” Wright said. “My mentorship works with that, gives them plenty of breathing room to explore.”

Contact Pressly Pratt at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @prezzliray.