Walsh named Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

A researcher from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering at the University of Louisville has been named Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Kevin M. Walsh, Ph.D., director of the Micro/Nano Technology Center, was among 170 new Fellows named. He will be inducted by Deputy U.S. Commissioner for Patent Operations Andy Faile of the United States Patent and Trademark Office during the 4th Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors on March 20, 2015, at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Suzanne T. Ildstad, M.D., director of UofL’s Institute for Cellular Therapeutics, is also a newly named Fellow of the NAI.

“As a premier metropolitan research university, UofL strives to develop ideas into discoveries, then to translate these into forms that benefit all,” said UofL Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation William M. Pierce Jr., Ph.D. “Drs. Ildstad and Walsh are two of our many brilliant and dedicated scholars who do this every day. We are very proud of them and their achievements.”

Those named today bring the total number of NAI Fellows to 414, representing more than 150 prestigious research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutions.

Included among the NAI Fellows are 208 members of the other National Academies, 21 inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, 16 recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation, 10 recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Science, 21 Nobel Laureates, 11 Lemelson-MIT prize recipients, 107 American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows, and 62 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Fellows, among other awards and distinctions.

To qualify for election, NAI Fellows must be academic inventors named on U.S. patents and nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society and support and enhancement of innovation.

Walsh is a professor and holder of the Samuel T. Fife Endowed Chair in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. He also is founding director of the Micro/Nano Technology Center (MNTC), home of the nationally ranked, class 100, $10 million 10,000-square-foot cleanroom in which dust particles are totally eliminated so one can successfully design and prototype ultra-miniature devices and systems for a variety of  fields including  microelectronics, health care, consumer products and defense.

Walsh has 12 awarded patents and is co-founder of four technical start-up companies – Assenti, Intellirod Spine, UltraTrace Detection and Simon Sounds.  He has published over 150 technical papers in the areas of micro/nanotechnology and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and his research group has won over $35 million in external research funding from the National Science foundation, NASA, National Institutes of Health and others. He has twice been presented with the school’s top Research Award for the 3-year periods of 1998-2000 and 2007-2009.

Under his leadership, the MNTC has brought in over $55 million of research awards into UofL. In 2008, Walsh and his team started the "KY nanoNET Initiative" a statewide network funded by the National Science Foundation for the coordination of micro and nanotechnology efforts in the Commonwealth.

Walsh earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from UofL and a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering (microelectronics/MEMS) from the University of Cincinnati.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be one of the first researchers at the University of Louisville to be inducted into the National Academy of Inventors,” said Walsh. “It’s been very exciting these past 25 years building nationally competitive micro/nano capabilities at UofL and working with extremely talented faculty, engineers and students applying this futuristic technology to a  variety of challenging problems.