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Three USC researchers elected to National Academy of Inventors

The professors are recognized for their creation of outstanding inventions that have served society

National Academy of Inventors, Scott E. Fraser, P. Daniel Dapkus and Andreas Molisch
P. Daniel Dapkus, Scott Fraser and Andreas Molisch, from left, were elected to the National Academy of Inventors. (USC Photos)

A trio of USC researchers has been elected to the National Academy of Inventors, recognizing them as innovators whose work has had a significant positive impact on the world.

This year’s new fellows from USC are P. Daniel Dapkus, Scott Fraser and Andreas Molisch. They join 582 scientific luminaries that include 27 Nobel laureates, 27 inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame and 32 recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation and U.S. National Medal of Science.

“These three awardees exemplify the exceptional creativity, innovation and impact of USC’s faculty,” said Randolph Hall, USC vice president of research. “All of our NAI fellows are not just outstanding researchers, but also inventors who have created technologies that benefit society.”

USC President C. L. Max Nikias was inducted in 2012 as a charter member.

Dapkus, William M. Keck Distinguished Professor of Engineering, professor of electrical engineering at USC Viterbi’s Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering and physics and astronomy at USC Dornsife, is an expert on photonics, fiber optics and lasers. He runs the Photonics Center at USC, the focal point of the university’s research on using light signals to pioneer fields like communications and signal processing. Currently, he’s developing light-emitting diodes for efficient solid-state lighting, as well as materials that will allow for the integration of photonic components into electronic circuits.

Fraser, Provost Professor of Biological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering and the director of science initiatives with joint appointments at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, joined USC in 2012. A pioneer in advanced imaging technologies, he brings together researchers from across disciplines to create microscopes that allow scientists to study living systems as they change and develop.

“This lets us get a better idea of how regenerative medicine could be done better,” Fraser said when he first arrived at USC. “If we know the rules and the interactions that cells follow to pattern an embryonic heart valve, for example, we’re hoping we might be able to tap into some of those signals and interactions to help heart valves rebuild themselves.”

Molisch, professor of electrical engineering systems in the Ming Hsieh Department, earned most of his patents in the area of multi-antenna technology and ultra-wideband communications. While continuing to work on multi-antenna technology, Molisch has lately been focusing on wireless video distribution systems and Orbital Angular Momenta – twisting light and radio beams to send data.

Dapkus, Fraser and Molisch will be inducted into the NAI on April 15 as part of the academy’s fifth annual conference at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Va.

In announcing this year’s new fellows, the NAI described election as “a high professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.”

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