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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Faculty & Staff

UH faculty named fellows of National Academy of Inventors


Zhifeng Ren, M.D. Anderson chair professor of physics and principal investigator at the Texas Center for Superconductivity, was recruited to UH from Boston College in 2012 and is being honored with the 2014 Edith and Peter O'Donell Award in Science.

Zhifeng Ren, M.D. Anderson chair professor of physics and principal investigator at the Texas Center for Superconductivity, was recruited to UH from Boston College in 2012 and is being honored with the 2014 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Science.

A professor is in the midst of making a name for both himself and the UH Department of Physics with his work with his team of researchers in five scientific fields.

Zhifeng Ren, principal investigator at the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH, was recently awarded the Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Science from the Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science in Texas and was named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

“Ren’s innovative research serves as an admirable example of what we are striving to do here at the University of Houston,” said President Renu Khator in a statement. “This groundbreaking work can be used to improve lives in Texas and around the world. His recognition by the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas is both gratifying and well-deserved.”

Ren was awarded for his continuing work in carbon nanotubes, thermoelectrics, hierarchical zinc oxide nano-wires, high temperature superconductivity and molecule delivery and sensing.

“You don’t want to be a 100-meter dash person,” he said. “You have to be persistent.”

The O’Donnell Awards recognize researchers who incorporate the uses of science and technology into society, meeting the highest standards of professional performance and resourcefulness.

As of Nov. 21, Ren has contributed to 300 publications in referred journals. Ren’s latest publication, “Recent progress of half-Heusler for moderate temperature thermoelectric applications” in October 2013, which was published in collaboration with assistant professor of physics Shuo Chen, introduces a method of waste heat recovery that promises to enhance energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and promote sustainable development. The report highlights using thermoelectric devices that convert heat directly to electricity as an option for waste heat harvesting.

Three other UH faculty members were also named fellows of the NAI with Ren: Rathindra Bose, the vice president of Research and Technology Transfer at UH and vice chancellor for Research and Technology Transfer for the UH System; Dmitri Litvinov, a John and Rebecca Moores Professor in the Cullen College of Engineering; and Venkat Selvamanickam, the M.D. Anderson chair professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Texas Center for Superconductivity’s Applied Research Hub.

The NAI classifies fellow status as a high professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible effect on the welfare of society.”

Ren said the award served as an incentive for his future work.

“It’s very important to me,” he said. “Every time you get something, it puts more pressure on you. I feel I have to work harder now.”

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