SMU, UTA Profs Named National Academy of Inventors Fellows

Election as a National Academy of Inventors fellow is the highest professional honor given to academic inventors.


Two North Texas university professors have been named as fellows of the National Academy of Inventors, the highest professional honor given to academic inventors.


Bruce Gnade of Southern Methodist University. [Photo courtesy of SMU]

Bruce Gnade, executive director of the Hart Center for Engineering Leadership and clinical professor within Southern Methodist University’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering, and Dereje Agonafer, Jenkins Garrett professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington received the honors.

The professors were included in a group of 155 fellows nationwide named Tuesday by the academy. 

Election as NAI Fellow is given to academic inventors who have shown a spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and welfare of society. 

NAI fellows are named as inventors on U.S. patents, and are nominated by their peers based on their contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation.


SMU’s Gnade holds 77 U.S. patents and 55 foreign patents, and is the author or co-author of more than 195 refereed journal articles. Currently, his research focuses on flexible electronics with applications ranging from radiation sensors to microelectronic arrays for cellular recording, according to SMU.

Prior to joining SMU, Gnade held leadership positions at Texas Instruments and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, where he served as a program manager overseeing influential technology research projects for the Department of Defense. He is currently serving on the Board of Directors of Oak Ridge Associated Universities. 

His academic career includes faculty appointments at the University of Maryland, the University of North Texas, and the University of Texas at Dallas. 

Gnade is a member of the Materials Research Society and the Society for Information Display, a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and a fellow of the American Physical Society.

Dereje Agonafer of the University of Texas at Arlington. [Photo Courtesy of UTA]

UTA’s Agonafer is Site Director of the NSF Industry–University Cooperative Research Center in Energy Efficient Systems, which was just awarded Phase II extending it to 2022 and is Director of the Electronics, MEMS and Nanoelectronics Systems Packaging Center. He has published more than 200 papers and has 15 issued patents. Since joining UTA in 1999, he has successfully advised 190 graduate students including 18 Ph.Ds.

He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advance of Science, and is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Agonafer has received numerous awards, including the 2008 Thermi Award for being a “significant contributor to the field of semiconductor thermal management,” the 2009 InterPACK Excellence Award for leadership in electronic packaging, the 2014 Therm Achievement Award, for significant contributions to thermal and thermomechanical management of electronics and the 2014 National Society for Black Engineers Golden Torch Legacy Award— the organization’s highest honor. In 1997 University of Colorado School of Engineering Distinguished Engineering Alumni Awardee (DEAA) in the category of Research and Invention. 

Agonafer has received several million dollars of grants since he joined UTA and has also received more than $2 million worth of servers from Yahoo and Cisco to build his data center lab.


NAI now has 912 fellows representing more than 250 research universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutes. UTA leads the state of Texas in the number of NAI fellows with 13.

The 2017 fellows are named as inventors on roughly 6,000 issued U.S. patents, which brings the collective number of patents held by all NAI fellows to more than 32,000.

The 2017 fellows will be inducted April 5, 2018 as part of the Seventh Annual NAI Conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the Mayflower Hotel, in Washington, D.C.

You can find a full list of NAI fellows here

Get on the list.

Sign up to keep your eye on what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day. 
And, you’ll be the first to get the digital edition of our new Dallas Innovates magazine: 
The annual edition publishes in January

One quick signup, and you’re done.   
View previous emails.


R E A D   N E X T

  • Lee Bratcher Texas Blockchain

    The inaugural October 8th Texas Blockchain Summit could be a watershed event for making Texas "the jurisdiction of choice" for Bitcoin and other digital currencies. Lee Bratcher, president of the Texas Blockchain Council, will host a wide array of speakers including Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis.

  • BUiLT, nonprofit, Texas, North Texas, Dallas, Dallas-Fort Worth, DFW, Black talent, Black tech talent, Texas talent, North Texas talent, Dallas talent, Dallas-Fort Worth talent, DFW talent, talent attraction, Texas tech talent, North Texas tech talent, Dallas tech talent, Dallas-Fort Worth tech talent, DFW tech talent, Texas business, North Texas business, Dallas business, Dallas-Fort Worth business, DFW business, Texas nonprofit, North Texas nonprofit, Dallas nonprofit, Dallas-Fort Worth nonprofit, DFW nonprofit, symposium, symposia, non-profit, nonprofit, nonprofits, non-profits, cybersecurity, cyber security, north-texas, expo, vice president, Texas symposium, North Texas symposium, Dallas symposium, Dallas-Fort Worth symposium, DFW symposium,

    Nonprofit BUiLT is hosting the event to highlight the success and possibilities of Black tech talent in the region. “There is no talent pipeline problem,” says Peter Beasley, co-founder of the Blacks United in Leading Technology International. “Black tech talent is widely available, especially in North Texas.”

  • With Dallas ranked as one of the top cities in America for tech pros, UT Dallas and Fullstack have launched four skills training bootcamps focused on coding, cybersecurity, data analytics, and DevOps. The online bootcamps begin in November with tuition at $11,995 each.

  • The NTXIA is a founding member of the new National Smart Coalitions Partnership, now one of the largest smart cities networks in the country. The organization unites more than 100 governments across seven regional smart cities consortiums. The goal? To accelerate sustainability and resilience in communities.

  • SMU is investing $11.5 million into a powerful new supercomputing research system featuring an NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD. Connected with the NVIDIA Quantum InfiniBand networking platform in SMU's data center, it will produce a theoretical 100 petaflops of computing power—enabling the university's network to perform "a blistering 100 quadrillion operations per second." The new capability will supercharge SMU's AI and supercomputing exploration, boosting North Texas' growth as a technology hub.