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Inventor Honored for Discoveries, Research

National Academy of Inventors Inducts UMass Lowell Professor

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UMass Lowell Prof. Rudolf Faust has been nationally recognized for his inventions and research.


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LOWELL, Mass. – A UMass Lowell chemistry professor who revolutionized the design of stents used to aid heart patients has been nationally recognized for his inventions.

Prof. Rudolf Faust, a pioneer in developing the chemical properties of plastics, was recently named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) in recognition of his exemplary contributions to research and innovation and his many inventions.

Faust is the developer of plastic used in coronary stents that help prevent the re-narrowing of arteries after surgery. The stent is considered one of the most successful medical devices in U.S. history.

He also invented a patented plastic coating used for pacemakers and defibrillators. Beyond the medical field, Faust created an environmentally friendly and cost-effective means of manufacturing ingredients used in engine lubricants and fuel additives.

In total, Faust holds 32 U.S. patents on his inventions, 17 of which have been licensed to companies granting them permission to incorporate his discoveries into the manufacture, use or sale of products. Patents are rights conferred by the government to give inventors exclusivity on making, using or selling their intellectual property.

“Prof. Faust has a long history of being a very productive innovator and serves as a good example for university researchers in being able to come up with groundbreaking solutions through simple, basic research,” said Rajnish Kaushik, interim director of UMass Lowell’s Office of Technology Commercialization. “His work has yielded many commercial products.”

The NAI is a nonprofit member organization founded in 2010 to enhance the visibility of American academics who are patent-holders and their technology and innovations, and to mentor and educate students. Faust was named to the select group in tribute to his demonstrated spirit of innovation in creating or advancing discoveries that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society. Fellows are nominated by their peers for the prestigious recognition, according to the NAI.

“I am honored to receive this fellowship and I’d like to acknowledge all who have supported my work, including funding agencies and companies, and have made this award possible,” said Faust, adding that the NAI honor is particularly meaningful because it recognizes inventions that have helped save lives.

Faust conducts research through UMass Lowell’s Nanomanufacturing Center of Excellence, which develops advanced manufacturing processes on the nanoscale. For example, one nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.

Since joining UMass Lowell’s faculty in 1988, he has mentored more than 20 doctoral candidates and more than 50 post-doctoral researchers, many of whom are now professors at institutions around the world. He is widely published in respected academic journals and one of his pivotal research papers, which appeared in the Journal of Polymer Science, was republished in the publication’s 50th anniversary issue as one of the most influential articles in the journal’s history.

Faust is a longtime member of the American Chemical Society, which honored him in 2010 for his pioneering research. He also serves on the editorial boards of academic publications including the Journal of Macromolecular Science and the Polymer Bulletin.

He will be inducted as an NAI fellow on April 15, 2016 as part of the organization’s fifth annual conference at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Va. Andrew Hirshfeld, U.S. commissioner for patents, will provide the keynote address during the ceremony, at which fellows will be presented with a trophy and medal in honor of their outstanding accomplishments. In addition, the 2015 fellows will be recognized by the NAI with full-page announcements in upcoming editions of The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inventors Digest and Technology and Innovation.

The 2015 NAI Fellows Selection Committee included 17 individuals who are NAI fellows, recipients of U.S. national medals, National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees and members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Joining them on the panel were senior officials from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Association of American Universities, American Association for the Advancement of Science and Association of University Technology Managers. Between them, the 2015 fellows hold more than 5,300 patents, bringing the total patents held by all NAI fellows to more than 20,000.

UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its 17,500 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers.