Polymer scientist honored as National Academy of Inventors Fellow


Polymer nanofibers create a “web” on Darrell Reneker’s hand.

The National Academy of Inventors named Darrell Reneker, distinguished professor of polymer science at The University of Akron, a fellow for 2013. With 24 United States patents to his name, Reneker is among the 143 inventors across the nation selected for this distinction this year.

Darrell Reneker, distinguished professor of polymer science at UA, examines a polymer nanofiber formed by electrospinning, which creates an electrified fluid jet that coils and eventually solidifies as a continuous thin fiber.

Reneker is recognized internationally as a leader in polymer nanofiber electrospinning. Today, this technique is widely used by scientists and engineers to create innovations ranging from bandages that release medication to improved filtration devices, biomedical implants and scaffolds for cell growth.

Academic inventors elected to Fellow status have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society. Founded in 2010, the NAI recognizes inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. NAI also enhances the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourages the disclosure of intellectual property, educates and mentors innovative students, and translates the inventions of its members to benefit society.

Reneker is the fifth UA innovator named an NAI fellow. Others include:  Stephen Cheng, Robert C. Musson and Trustees Professor and dean of the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering; the late Alan Gent, former UA dean of graduate studies and research and Harold A. Morton Professor of Polymer Physics and Polymer Engineering; Joseph Kennedy, distinguished professor of polymer science and chemistry who owns more than 105 patents; and George Newkome, UA vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School.

Reneker will be inducted at the Third Annual Conference of the NAI in Alexandria, Va., in March 2014. Also in March, Reneker will be honored at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society with a symposium on electrospinning and nanofibers. He is featured currently on Nanotechnology’s 25th anniversary highlights website.

Media contact: Denise Henry, 330-972-6477 or henryd@uakron.edu.