Becker & Gersbach Elected to National Academy of Inventors

Three Duke Engineers Elected to National Academy of Inventors

DECEMBER 12, 2022 | MICHAELA KANE

With the elections of Grill, Gersbach and Becker, Duke Engineering is home to 13 NAI Fellows

Warren Grill, Charles Gersbach, Matthew Becker

Warren Grill, Charles Gersbach, Matthew Becker

The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) announced today that three faculty from Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering were elected to its 2022 class of Fellows: Matthew Becker, the Hugo L. Blomquist Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science; Charles Gersbach, the John W. Strohbehn Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering; and Warren Grill, the Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering.

Founded in 2010, the NAI recognizes academic inventors for their prolific 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. Today’s announcement brings the number of NAI Fellows in the Pratt School of Engineering to 13. Professor Tony Jun Huang was elected in 2020; Kathryn Nightingale and Blake Wilson were elected in 2019; Nimmi Ramanujam, Joseph Izatt and Tuan Vo-Dinh were elected in 2017; David Smith and Jennifer West were elected in 2016; and Robert Calderbank and Ashutosh Chilkoti were elected in 2014.

Becker is an expert in organic polymer chemistry whose multidisciplinary research team works at the interface of chemistry, materials and medicine to develop bioactive polymers to improve human health. A professor with joint primary appointments in the Departments of Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science with collaborators in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Orthopaedic Surgery, he both conducts basic science research and develops functional biomaterials for translation into clinical applications.

One of his many projects includes a biocompatible implantable polymer surgical patch that releases a controlled dose of non-opioid painkillers directly to the site of a surgical wound and then dissolves slowly. The goal is to provide localized pain control in the days immediately following surgery, such as for a hernia or cesarean birth, effective enough to eliminate the need for opioid pain relievers and their associated systemic side effects or risk of addiction. Becker also