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Shaoyi Jiang elected to National Academy of Inventors

Shaoyi Jiang, Ph.D. ’93, the Robert Langer ’70 Family and Friends Professor in Cornell’s Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering, has been elected a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors for his pioneering work with zwitterionic materials.

Election to the National Academy of Inventors is the highest professional distinction awarded solely to inventors, according to a Dec. 12 announcement by the academy introducing its 2023 Class of Fellows.

Jiang’s research focuses on biomedical and engineering applications of zwitterionic materials, a unique class of biocompatible and environmentally benign substances that resist proteins and can mitigate the degradation of medical implants, nanomedicines and marine coatings, among other applications.

Jiang’s innovations include: a hydrogel that can help prevent the body from rejecting medical implants; a hydrogel that can expand and preserve primitive human blood-producing stem cells; a coating that can protect blood-contacting devices, a nanoparticle that maintains long blood circulation with low immunogenicity, a “nanoscavenger” that provides long-term prophylactic protection against nerve agents; a material that interferes with bacteria’s ability to form biofilms; and a material that can be used to prevent barnacles from attaching to ships.

He holds 59 patents and founded or co-founded four startups based on zwitterionic technologies he invented, including ZWI Therapeutics, Covert Therapeutics, Taproot Medical, and Imperion Coatings.

“I am deeply honored to be named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. This recognition is a reflection of long-term efforts by our students and collaborators in the design and development of zwitterionic materials,” said Jiang, “Inventions bridge the gap between concepts in the lab to products in the marketplace, and this tangible impact on people’s lives is part of what fuels my passion for research.”

Jiang is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He is the recipient of the 2017 Braskem Award for Excellence in Materials Engineering and Science from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

“This year’s class of NAI Fellows showcases the caliber of researchers that are found within the innovation ecosystem. Each of these individuals are making significant contributions to both science and society through their work,” said Paul R. Sanberg, president of the National Academy of Inventors. “This new class, in conjunction with our existing fellows, are creating innovations that are driving crucial advancements across a variety of disciplines and are stimulating the global and national economy in immeasurable ways as they move these technologies from lab to marketplace.”

Jiang is the only Cornell faculty member elected to the 2023 class, and is the fifth faculty member from the Meinig School to become a fellow, joining James Antaki, Yadong Wang, David Putnam and David Fischell ’75, M.S. ’78, Ph.D. ’80.

Jiang will be formally inducted during a ceremony at the National Academy of Inventors’ Annual Meeting on June 18 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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