Guann-Pyng (G.P.) Li (left), UCI professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and David Reinkensmeyer, UCI professor of anatomy and neurobiology and mechanical and aerospace engineering.
Guann-Pyng (G.P.) Li (left), UCI professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and David Reinkensmeyer, UCI professor of anatomy and neurobiology and mechanical and aerospace engineering, have been named 2023 fellows by the National Academy of Inventors for making significant contributions to science and society through their work. UCI

Irvine, Calif., Dec. 12, 2023 The National Academy of Inventors has named two University of California, Irvine researchers as fellows. Guann-Pyng (G.P.) Li, a pioneer in the development of microelectronics for advanced health and sustainable energy applications, and David Reinkensmeyer, who combines robotics and neuroscience to create devices to help people with movement rehabilitation after neurological injury, are among 162 academic inventors made fellows by the NAI this year.

“We are extremely proud of this recognition,” said Hal Stern, UCI provost and executive vice chancellor. “Professors Li and Reinkensmeyer have spent their careers at UC Irvine developing technological innovations that address critical societal needs in health, energy and the environment. Their work moving basic research into applications serves as excellent examples of the benefits of the modern research university.”

A professor of electrical engineering and computer science, Li directs the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology. Founded in 2000 with California state funding, CALIT2 is a multidisciplinary research institute harnessing the ubiquity and scale of the internet and wireless technologies to accelerate growth in industry and numerous scientific fields.

In addition, Li heads CALIT2’s TechPortal technology business incubator, which supports and nurtures young companies and UCI researchers who wish to commercialize their inventions.

The holder of 40 U.S. patents, with five patents pending, he has published more than 430 research papers involving microelectronic technologies; microwave circuit design; microelectromechanical systems for communication and biomedical instrumentation applications; and biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology, Internet of Things and data analytics for edge actionable intelligence in efficient energy utilization, smart manufacturing and e-health.

Li received an outstanding research contribution award from IBM in 1987, outstanding engineering professor awards from UCI in 1997 and 2001, the UCI Innovators Award in 2005, and the Outstanding Asian American and Pacific Islander Community Leaders and Role Models Award from the Asian Business Association of Orange County in 2009. He has been involved in several startup companies as a co-founder or technical advisory board member and is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Asia-Pacific Artificial Intelligence Association.

“I am honored to have been elected as a fellow to the National Academy of Inventors,” Li said. “To have been able to spend my time at UC Irvine applying technologies to solve real-world problems and helping others develop and commercialize their innovations has been highly rewarding.”

After coming to UCI in 1997, Reinkensmeyer established a research program to create robotic and sensor-based systems for movement training and assessment tailored to people who have experienced neurological injuries and disease. His research group relies on an understanding of neuromuscular plasticity mechanisms to develop rehabilitative technologies. This work, he said, helps people improve their movement recovery and enhances scientific knowledge about use-dependent brain plasticity.

Reinkensmeyer holds appointments in four UCI departments: mechanical and aerospace engineering, anatomy and neurobiology, biomedical engineering, and physical medicine and rehabilitation. He holds 12 patents and is a co-inventor of the T-WREX arm training exoskeleton, commercialized by Hocoma as ArmeoSpring and now in use in more than 1,500 rehabilitation facilities worldwide for people who have suffered a stroke, spinal cord damage, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and orthopedic injuries. Reinkensmeyer is also co-inventor of the MusicGlove, a finger dexterity training device for stroke patients now being commercialized by Flint Rehab, a company he helped start.

He is co-director of the Collaborative Machines Enhancing Therapies Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center, co-director of the National Institutes of Health K12 Engineering Career Development Center in Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation. Reinkensmeyer received the Innovator of the Year Award from The Henry Samueli School of Engineering in 2016 and UCI’s Distinguished Midcareer Faculty Research Award in 2016. He is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

“To be recognized as a fellow by the National Academy of Inventors is a highlight of my career,” Reinkensmeyer said. “The support I’ve received from UC Irvine during my quarter of a century at the institution and the creative energy and camaraderie I’ve experienced working with my many research group members and colleagues have helped make this honor possible.”

NAI President Paul Sanberg said: “This year’s class of NAI fellows showcases the caliber of researchers that are found within the innovation ecosystem. These individuals are making significant contributions to both science and society through their work. This new class, in conjunction with our existing fellows, is creating innovations that are driving crucial advancements across a variety of disciplines and are stimulating the global and national economy in immeasurable ways as they move these technologies from lab to marketplace. We are honored to welcome these highly regarded innovators to the academy and look forward to formally inducting them at our 2024 annual conference in the Research Triangle of North Carolina.”

UCI now has 18 National Academy of Inventors fellows and more than 680 active U.S. patents. NAI fellowship is the organization’s highest professional distinction awarded solely to academic inventors.

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