Fall overhead of campus
Honors and Awards

Engineering Faculty Members Sundar Krishnamurty and Ashish Kulkarni Named NAI Senior Members

UMass engineering faculty members Sundar Krishnamurty and Ashish Kulkarni have been named to the National Academy of Inventors’ (NAI) 2024 Class of Senior Members. This honor is awarded to researchers who have developed innovative technologies with a meaningful impact on the welfare of society. Those recognized have also demonstrated success with patents, licensing, and commercialization while also educating and mentoring future innovators.

NEWS Sundar Krishnamurty
Sundar Krishnamurty

The 2024 class is comprised of 124 academic inventors from 60 NAI member institutions across the nation. Collectively, they have been awarded 1,000 U.S. patents, with 344 of those being licensed technologies and commercialized products.

“Professor Sundar Krishnamurty and Professor Ashish Kulkarni are national leaders in innovation, as well as enthusiastic advocates and mentors for faculty and students on the UMass Amherst campus,” says Sanjay Raman, Dean of the College of Engineering and professor of electrical and computer engineering. “I am delighted that now, as NAI Senior Members, they will have this elevated platform to further build on their already outstanding records of achievement.”

Krishnamurty is Ronnie & Eugene M. Isenberg Endowed Distinguished Professor in Engineering and mechanical and industrial engineering department head. His interdisciplinary work focuses on technology that can be translated to industry, such as his development of pressure vests for children with autism and seatbelts for motor coaches.

As principal investigator for the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps Program @ UMass, Krishnamurty has been contributing to the campus’s innovation and entrepreneurship culture, particularly among scientists and engineers, by stimulating awareness to broaden and magnify the impact of research and scholarly activity. To date, 72 teams of 204 individuals have completed their workshops focusing on customer discovery and lean startup concepts.

Ashish Kulkarni
Ashish Kulkarni

Some of his other notable roles include site director for the NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center-funded Center for e-Design; principal faculty for the pan-campus Innovation & Entrepreneurship Certificate program; member of the Chancellor’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship working group; and associate director for the Center for Personalized Health Monitoring (CPHM) in the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS).

Kulkarni is associate professor of chemical engineering and adjunct professor of biomedical engineering and chemistry. He is also a faculty member for the Center for Bioactive Delivery, IALS and the molecular and cellular biology graduate program. His research focuses on developing platform technologies for immunotherapy applications, namely nanoparticle-based systems that can improve cancer immunotherapy responses. With an emphasis on aggressive cancers that don’t respond to traditional treatment, such as bladder cancer, Kulkarni hopes to see his work ultimately translate into clinical practice and address an unmet need for effective, targeted therapies with fewer harmful side effects.

For his innovative contributions to cancer immunotherapy research, he has received several prestigious awards including a “Young Innovator” in Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering by the Biomedical Engineering Society, a “NextGen Star in Cancer Research” by American Association for Cancer Research and an “Emerging Investigator” by Biomaterials Science.

His research group is also designing imaging systems that will allow for real-time monitoring of cancer immunotherapy responses. This will enable doctors to determine if a tumor is responding to a drug—or not—early on. 

Both faculty members will be recognized as senior members at the NAI 13th Annual Meeting, June 16-18, in Raleigh, North Carolina.