Two Texas A&M University Researchers Named as 2023 Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors
By Crystal Carter, Texas A&M Innovation, January 16, 2024
Two inventors from Texas A&M University were recently elected to the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) 2023 Class of Fellows. Recognition as a NAI Fellow is the highest professional distinction awarded solely to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact to society.
The honorees are Mark Benden, PhD, CPE, professor and department chair for the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Texas A&M School of Public Health, where he also serves as director of the Ergonomics Center, and Balakrishna Haridas, PhD, professor for the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Texas A&M College of Engineering.
Benden’s more than 30-year career in occupational safety and ergonomics has produced multiple processes, tools and devices to decrease injury and illness risk. Most notable is his work in combating childhood and workplace obesity and research in developing interventions for sedentary behaviors and the remote workforce. He is the founder of three faculty-led startups and has licensed seven different products to four different companies since joining the A&M faculty. As referenced in his Texas A&M Health expert profile, “Dr. Benden holds 22 United States patents with several more pending. The expected lifetime economic impact of his designs exceeds $2 billion.”
Haridas and his lab, Pediatric Devices Lab, lead projects in minimally invasive fetal, neonatal and pediatric surgery to reduce risks for mothers and babies in early-stage surgeries. In a December 2023 article with Texas A&M University Engineering, Haridas states: “I have had the opportunity to work on and solve some of the most challenging problems in implantable medical devices and minimally invasive surgery, translate research into FDA-cleared products and bring this translational research experience into academia. Cumulatively, this work has enabled devices and interventional treatments for large numbers of adult and pediatric patients across clinical specialties, such as gastrointestinal diseases, advanced wound care, soft tissue repair and cardiovascular or neurovascular diseases.”
Drs. Benden’s and Haridas’ work exemplifies excellence in translating research into commercial technologies that benefit society. According to the National Academy of Inventors, the 2023 Fellow class hails from 118 research universities, governmental and non-profit research institutions worldwide. Collectively, the 2023 Fellows hold over 4,600 issued U.S. patents.
Texas A&M Innovation promotes an innovative and entrepreneurial culture among A&M’s research community and uses a rigorous process to guide projects from new innovations through market commercialization. We encourage industry partnerships, support startups and entrepreneurial commercialization, make connections to mentors, funding, and other critical resources to accelerate commercialization of System IP. Through our work we strive to promote regional economic development, and ultimately impact the lives of people locally, nationally and globally.