University of Georgia Provost S. Jack Hu and Professor Holly Sellers have been elected Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), joining 14 other UGA faculty members who have received the honor since the academy began electing fellows in 2012.
This marks the fifth consecutive year that UGA has had faculty elected as NAI Fellows, described as investigators who “show a spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society,” according to NAI’s website.
“I’m thrilled to welcome two more UGA colleagues to the National Academy of Inventors,” said Vice President for Research Karen Burg, a 2014 NAI Fellow herself and member of the academy’s board of directors. “Inventive scholars such as our NAI Fellows are integral to UGA’s #1 reputation in moving products to market. Provost Hu’s innovations in mechanical and industrial engineering have generated significant value in manufacturing, and Dr. Sellers’ work in poultry vaccines has had a tremendous impact on an industry that is vital both to Georgia’s economy and the national food supply. I am excited to congratulate both of them on their elections as NAI Fellows.”
Hu is senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, as well as a UGA Foundation Distinguished Professor of Engineering in the College of Engineering. The deans of UGA’s 18 colleges and schools report to him, and he oversees instruction, research, public service, and outreach, and information technology for the university.
Hu’s research in advanced manufacturing has generated patented technologies that enhance quality and productivity in the automotive industry. He is the inventor or co-inventor of record for 10 U.S. patents and two foreign patents. Hu is recognized as a global expert in joining and forming materials. Through his inventions, major automotive manufacturers like General Motors have reduced costs and improved their manufacturing and assembly processes for lithium-Ion batteries and vehicles.
Hu has authored nearly 200 peer-reviewed journal articles and several book chapters, as well as government and industrial reports. He has also served as advisor for more than 65 doctoral and master’s students, many of whom now hold leadership positions in industry and academia.
In 2021, Hu was named one of the 20 most influential academics in smart manufacturing by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers; his research program generated more than $46 million in external funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, Department of Commerce, the National Science Foundation and multiple industry partners. Hu is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
In his academic leadership capacity, Hu has championed creating innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems for faculty and students.
“I am truly honored to be elected a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Credits go to my former students, collaborators, and sponsors,” said Hu. “I want to thank General Motors for the long-last collaborations when I was on the faculty at the University of Michigan, which provided many opportunities for testing and validating the inventions.”
Sellers is a professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine and researcher at the Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center (PDRC). In 2019, she was named UGA’s Inventor of the Year. Her research in clinical and molecular virology has led to the development of diagnostics and vaccines for combating diseases in poultry. Sellers’ vaccine technologies are used domestically and worldwide to support and secure the multibillion-dollar poultry industry. Her vaccines for the bronchitis virus and reovirus have been licensed to several industry partners to combat a disease that causes substantial economic loss.
Sellers is the inventor of record for seven U.S. patents, with multiple other pending and issued foreign patents. Her technologies have been licensed to major animal health companies and poultry producers through 42 license agreements, leading to five commercial poultry vaccines and numerous custom vaccines. Royalties from her inventions have brought over $1.6 million to UGA.
Outside research, Sellers has been a role model for female students and faculty members, serving on the board of directors for the American Association of Avian Pathologists Women’s Network Steering Committee. She leads a growing network of female innovators and entrepreneurs and is helping plan the launch of an NAI Chapter at UGA.
“I’m extremely honored to be selected as an NAI fellow and humbled to be recognized as a fellow alongside so many extraordinary inventors and innovators,” said Sellers. “I have had tremendous support from colleagues, the College of Veterinary Medicine and Innovation Gateway. It’s very rewarding for me and my team to see how our clinical service and research efforts provide opportunities to develop products that can help provide real world solutions.”
Hu and Sellers will be invited to the induction ceremony for new Fellows at the 13th NAI Annual Conference on June 16, 2024, at the Research Triangle Park in Raleigh, N.C.
By Brandon Ward