Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati, an Indian American vice chair of the department of ophthalmology and visual sciences, and professor of physiology at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, was recently elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.
The designation of NAI Fellows, announced Dec. 15, is awarded to those academic inventors who have demonstrated a proficient spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.
The 2015 NAI Fellows selection committee included 17 members, comprising NAI Fellows, recipients of U.S. National Medals, National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees, members of the National Academies and senior officials from the USPTO, Association of American Universities, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Association of University Technology Managers and National Inventors Hall of Fame.
The Indian American professor is the first from the UK to receive NAI Fellowship honors.
“I’m honored and humbled to have been elected to the NAI alongside so many other amazing innovators,” Ambati said in a statement. “This award is really a testament to the outstandingly creative and motivated young scientists that I am fortunate and proud to lead. I look forward to supporting the NAI’s efforts to promote the application of technology and innovation to improve quality of vision and health for people worldwide.” Ambati and his lab also recently received a $2.4 million grant to study the genetics of a new source of DNA discovered at the lab (I-W Nov. 2, 2015).
Among the 582 NAI Fellows named in 2015, more than 80 are presidents and senior leaders of research universities and nonprofit research institutes; another 310 are members of other national academies; 27 have been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame; 32 earned the United States National Medal of Technology and Innovation and the U.S. National Medal of Science; another 27 are Nobel laureates; and 17 have received the Lemelson-MIT prize, among other awards and distinctions.
Ambati, a 21-year veteran who is board certified by the American Board of Opthalmology, has been awarded several commendations for his work throughout the years. Some of his accolades include being the first ophthalmologist to be named the Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist; Burroughs Wellcome Fund clinical scientist award in translational research; the Ellison Medical Foundation senior scholar in aging award; and the Harrington Discovery Institute Scholar-innovator award.
Ambati is a graduate of the State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn College of Medicine. He then completed his Fellowship at Harvard Medical School and his residency at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y.
In addition to Ambati, several other Indian Americans and Indian origin innovators received the NAI Fellow honor. Among them were Mauli Agrawal of the University of Texas at San Antonio, Shekhar Bhansali of Florida International University, Sangeeta Bhatia of MIT, Yoginder P. Chugh of Southern Illinois University, Atam Dhawan and Somenath Mitra of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Sanjiv Sam Gambhir of Stanford University, Shubhra Gangopadhyay of the University of Missouri College of Engineering, Venu Govindaraju of the University of Buffalo, Mir Imran of the University of Pittsburgh, Chennupati Jagadish of the Australian National University, and Anil K. Jain and Ramani Narayan of Michigan State University.
Additionally, Usha N. Kasid of Georgetown University, Meyya Meyyappan of the NASA Ames Research Center, Umesh K. Mishra of U.C. Santa Barbara, Kaushik Rajashekara of the University of Texas at Dallas, Jahangir S. Rastegar of Stony Brook University, A. Hari Reddy of U.C. Davis, Ajeet Rohatgi of Georgia Institute of Technology, Pramod K. Srivastava of the University of Connecticut, Bala Subramaniam of the University of Kansas and Kalliat T. Valsaraj of Louisiana State University were honored. The Fellows will be inducted at NAI’s fifth annual conference in April in Washington, D.C.