SUNY Provost Alexander N. Cartwright Named As National Academy of Inventors Fellow

December 16, 2014

Dr. Cartwright’s Research and Innovation in Optical Sensors Earns International Distinction

Albany – The State University of New York today announced that SUNY Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright has been named as a National Academy of Inventors® (NAI) Fellow, a high professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have created or facilitated inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.

Dr. Cartwright is an internationally-recognized researcher and scholar in the area of optical sensors. In addition to serving as SUNY Provost, he is continuing his faculty appointment at the University at Buffalo, where discoveries leading to this honor were made. Dr. Cartwright’s invention of a one-step, low-cost holographic technology for fabricating a rainbow-colored polymer was one of five inventions worldwide named to the Society of Manufacturing Engineer's 2013 list of Innovations that Could Change the Way You Manufacture. This discovery has wide-ranging potential from biomedical imaging to climate monitoring. Dr. Cartwright holds a number of patents and his innovations have been licensed by multiple startup companies.

Stony Brook University’s Iwao Ojima was also named as a 2014 NAI Fellow. He and Dr. Cartwright join previous SUNY recipients Dr. Benjamin Chu, Dr. Benjamin S. Hsiao, and Dr. Esther Sans Takeuchi, all from Stony Brook University.

“Groundbreaking, impactful research conducted by our faculty and students across New York State is an incredible source of pride for SUNY as we aim to drive knowledge and innovation in a global economy,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Congratulations to Dr. Cartwright and Dr. Ojima on this distinct honor from the NAI. This honorable recognition is a testament not only to their outstanding work but to the innovation ecosystems that SUNY campuses foster in every region.”

"This is a prestigious honor, and a very richly deserved one," said University at Buffalo President Satish K. Tripathi. "Alex Cartwright’s work has significantly advanced current understanding of key principles and process in the field of nanostructured optoelectronic materials and devices, and he has had tremendous impact in translating these discoveries from 'bench to bedside.' I know I speak for Alex’s friends and colleagues across the University at Buffalo in saying how delighted we are to see his pioneering contributions recognized with this great honor."

“From providing state-of-the-art resources, equipment, and facilities to encouraging collaboration among students and faculty, the University at Buffalo and the entire State University of New York do a remarkable job creating campus environments where innovation and research can really thrive,” said Dr. Cartwright. “My research and ongoing work mentoring students at UB add a critically important dimension to my role as System Provost. It is a great honor to be named among the 2014 NAI Fellows alongside some of the most innovative academic inventors in the world, including my SUNY colleagues.”

“Professor Ojima has had a highly distinguished career as an educator, researcher, and inventor at Stony Brook,” said Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, president of Stony Brook University. "His work in medicinal chemistry and chemical biology has led to important discoveries, contributing to the betterment of society. I am so pleased to see his many accomplishments recognized by this distinguished academy."

NAI Fellows are named inventors on U.S. patents and were nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation.

Dr. Cartwright began his academic career at the University at Buffalo in 1995, receiving the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award in his first years as a professor and earning many other national recognitions in the years since. Dr. Cartwright has produced more than 150 peer reviewed journal publications and conference proceedings. He has received considerable funding from numerous organizations including the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Department of Defense, and the Office of Naval Research, and various industrial sponsors. A Fellow of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering, Dr. Cartwright is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE); a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), Eta Kappa Nu, and the Materials Research Society (MRS). Dr. Cartwright holds a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Iowa.

The 2014 class brings the total number of NAI Fellows to 414 individuals who represent more than 150 prestigious research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutions, including 61 presidents and senior leadership of research universities and non-profit research institutes, 208 members of the other National Academies (NAS, NAE, IOM), 21 inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, 16 recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation, 10 recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Science, 21 Nobel Laureates, 11 Lemelson-MIT prize recipients, 112 AAAS Fellows, and 62 IEEE Fellows, among other awards and distinctions. 

The NAI Fellows will be inducted on March 20, 2015, as part of the 4th Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Deputy Commissioner for Patent Operations Andrew Faile will be providing the keynote address for the induction ceremony. Fellows will be presented with a special trophy, newly designed medal, and rosette pin in honor of their outstanding accomplishments.

About The National Academy of Inventors®
The National Academy of Inventors® is a 501(c)(3) non-profit member organization comprised of U.S. and international universities, and governmental and non-profit research institutions, with over 3,000 individual inventor members and Fellows spanning more than 200 institutions, and growing rapidly. It was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society. The NAI edits the multidisciplinary journal, Technology and Innovation, published by Cognizant Communication Corporation (NY).


About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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