BUFFALO, N.Y. -- MIT's Technology Review magazine today named
Sarbajit Banerjee, UB assistant professor of chemistry, as one of
the world's top innovators under the age of 35.
Banerjee joins 34 other innovators around the world as members
of this year's TR35, Technology Review's annual listing of 35 young
people who are employing technology to tackle pressing
Previous honorees have included iMac designer Jonathan Ive,
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Nobel Laureate Konstantin
Novoselov, as well as many less widely known trailblazers.
Innovators represent fields spanning biotechnology, computers,
electronics, energy, the Web, nanotechnology and other emerging
Banerjee was selected for his pioneering work in developing
vanadium-oxide nanomaterials, which could one day be used in
coatings for smart windows that save energy by reflecting the sun's
heat on hot summer days.
A major home building products manufacturer is helping to test
the materials' performance, and UB's Office of Science, Technology
Transfer and Economic Outreach is preparing to submit a U.S.
non-provisional patent application for the technology next
The TR35 is available online at
http://www.technologyreview.com/tr35. The list will also appear in
print in the September edition of Technology Review, which is
published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
"This is a tremendous honor for Dr. Banerjee and important
recognition of his impressive research portfolio," said Charles F.
Zukoski, UB provost and executive vice president for academic
affairs. "Dr. Banerjee was recruited to UB as part of the UB 2020
long-range plan and exemplifies the promise and impact to which we
"I'm very heavily invested in Western New York and seeing the
economy grow," said Banerjee, PhD, who will present on the research
at Technology Review's EmTech MIT 2012 conference in Cambridge,
Mass., in October. "Materials are the driving force for a lot of
advanced manufacturing, and if we want to be a player in that
sector, we have to do the kind of translational research that
transforms laboratory discoveries into usable technologies."
Banerjee is the second member of the UB community whose work has
been recognized this month by a national magazine. On Aug. 1,
Forbes featured 2011 UB graduate Ansar Khan in its 2012 list of
"All-Star Student Entrepreneurs," recognizing Khan for co-founding
a high-tech company with his UB classmate James O'Leary.
Banerjee joined UB in 2007 after completing postdoctoral
research at Columbia University. Since then, he has received
several important research prizes, including the National Science
Foundation's CAREER award, the foundation's most prestigious award
for junior investigators.
Banerjee's partners on his vanadium oxide research include his
first PhD student, Luisa Whittaker, who won the Materials Research
Society's Graduate Student Gold Award for the work. It's the
highest honor a student can receive in recognition of materials
research, Banerjee said.
Vanadium oxides are synthetic compounds with a very special
property: They are transparent to infrared light at lower
temperatures, but begin reflecting infrared when they heat up.
By building and testing new compounds, Banerjee's team managed
to lower the temperature at which vanadium-oxide nanomaterials
begin repelling heat -- a key improvement for making the materials
useful in windows.
Banerjee, who has a passion for applied science, has been
actively involved in developing UB's newly designated New York
State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics.
The center, designated earlier this year, will focus on the
discovery and commercialization of innovative new materials.
Banerjee's work on vanadium oxide is one example of the kind of
research the center would accelerate. The research was
interdisciplinary, involving contributions from former UB chemistry
PhD students Christopher Patridge and Jesus Velazquez; UB chemistry
graduate student Peter Marley; and the research groups of Assistant
Professor Sambandamurthy Ganapathy and Associate Professor Peihong
Zhang in UB's physics department.
"New York State's investment in the Center of Excellence in
Materials Informatics underscores the importance of the work that
Dr. Banerjee and his colleagues are doing," said Alexander N.
Cartwright, UB vice president for research and economic
"Being named to the TR35 is a prestigious recognition,"
Cartwright said. "This award recognizes Dr. Banerjee's tremendous
research program, and demonstrates how the development of new
materials can make a difference in the lives of people