A University of Houston physics professor has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) in recognition of his work in nanotechnology.
Seamus Curran, professor of physics in the UH College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and the other 167 incoming fellows will be officially inducted April 10, 2020, during the annual meeting of the National Academy of Inventors in Phoenix.
He holds 19 issued and pending U.S. patents and 40 international patents. He will become the 15th faculty member from UH to be named a NAI fellow.
In announcing Curran’s election, the academy said he had been chosen for “a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development and welfare of society.”
Curran serves as CEO of Integricote, a company he founded to market a water- and stain-repellant coating he developed. The company, which is based at the UH Technology Bridge, offers products that penetrate the surface and form a protective barrier to seal and stain wood, masonry and concrete. It has been used in a number of places across the Houston metropolitan area.
“Dr. Curran exemplifies the faculty inventor, taking an impressive new technology from the lab to the marketplace,” said Amr Elnashai, vice president for research and technology transfer at UH. “His continuing work across a variety of fields in nanotechnology, from new materials to nanophotonics, is a terrific illustration of the ways in which academia can help to solve society’s problems.”
The 2019 class of fellows represent 136 research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes worldwide and are named inventors on more than 3,500 issued U.S. patents. Among the 2019 fellows are six recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology & Innovation or U.S. National Medal of Science and four Nobel Laureates.
To date, NAI fellows have generated more than 11,000 licensed technologies and companies. More than $1.6 trillion in revenue has been generated based on discoveries by NAI fellows.
Curran’s plunge into entrepreneurship was launched when his fledgling company – then known as C-Voltaics – won $57,500 in startup funding at two competitions in 2013. He said his research is driven by the search for ways in which nanotechnology can address problems in both society at large and in more specialized fields.
“I got into this thinking I could solve a problem,” he said. “Nanotechnology is no longer something that just happens in a lab. It is allowing us to produce real materials which address needs in fields from healthcare to electronics and home improvement.”
Curran has recently worked with an international team of researchers to develop a material capable of protecting electronic devices against high-intensity bursts of light, recognized as a material of choice for next-generation optoelectronic and photonic devices.