by Jane Stoyle Welch
Published January 8, 2021
Chemical engineering professor Thomas Thundat has been elected Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for his contributions to multi-modal microelectromechanical systems for chemical and biological sensors.
Thundat, a SUNY Empire Innovation Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and the RENEW Institute, is one of three professors in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to be named a Fellow this year. The others are Amit Goyal, Director of UB's RENEW Institute and a SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering; and Junsong Yuan, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.
IEEE Fellow is the highest grade of membership and Fellows are conferred annually by the IEEE Board of Directors based on their outstanding accomplishment in an IEEE field of interest. The total number of Fellows selected in any one year cannot exceed one-tenth of one- percent of the total voting membership.
“Thomas is known world-wide for his pioneering research in micromechanical chemical and bio-sensors, detecting everything from TNT to proteins,” said Goyal and Mark Swihart, UB Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and a SUNY Empire Innovation Professor in the RENEW Institute, in a joint statement. “This recognition from IEEE reflects the high profile and interdisciplinary nature of Thomas’ contributions to research in the field of sensors.”
Thundat’s research is currently focused on developing new concepts in nanomechanical sensing, energy conversion, electrical energy transmission using single wire, and novel concepts for charge separation and storage.
“I’m excited about recent research collaborations between Thomas’ group and mine to develop low cost hydrogen sensors, which are essential for future use of hydrogen as a carbon-free energy carrier,” added Swihart.
Thundat is the author of over 450 publications in refereed journals, 45 book chapters, and holds 43 patents. He is an elected Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), the Electrochemical Society (ECS), the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Society for Optical and Photonics Engineers (SPIE), the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).
Among his many honors and awards, several recognize his achievements in research and development, including three R&D 100 awards, and two Oak Ridge National Laboratory Inventor of the Year awards. He is also a Battelle Distinguished Inventor.
Thundat was also honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2013 from his alma mater, University of Albany, State University of New York, where he earned his PhD in physics in 1987, as well as a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2004 from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, where he earned his master’s degree in physics.
Thundat joined the University at Buffalo in 2017. Prior to this, he was a Canada Excellence Research Chair professor in Oil Sands Molecular Engineering at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, and served as a Fellow of the National Research Council of Canada’s National Institute of Nanotechnology. Before that, he held several research and faculty positions at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the University of Tennessee (UT), Knoxville, including as UT/UT-Battelle Corporate Fellow. In addition to his UB appointment, he is an honorary Distinguished Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and Centenary Professor at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
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Dedicated to the advancement of technology, the IEEE publishes 30 percent of the world’s literature in the electrical and electronics engineering and computer science fields, and has developed more than 1300 active industry standards. The association also sponsors or co-sponsors nearly 1700 international technical conferences each year.
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