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University of Tennessee vice chancellor named National Academy of Inventors Fellow

In 2001, Taylor Eighmy was issued a patent for an invention that keeps heavy metal from contaminated marine sediments from seeping further into the water.

Now, the vice chancellor for research and engagement at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is being honored for his contributions in innovation and technology development with the election to the 2013 class of National Academy of Inventors Fellows.

The election is a professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a highly prolific 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. Nominees should have outstanding contributions in patents and licensing and generally in discovery, innovation and technology development. Fellows elected to the academy also must have a patent.

The NAI Fellows will be inducted during the third annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors on March 7, 2014, in Alexandria, Va., at the headquarters of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

"Taylor's research has been critical to ensuring we live in a safe and healthy environment," said UT Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. "This honor recognizes how our faculty's ideas translate into real-world solutions."

Eighmy invented a reactive barrier used to prevent heavy metals in contaminated marine sediments from diffusing into the water column. The reactive barrier, designed for underwater landfills, can chemically bind with the heavy metal. The technology has been evaluated under a long-running technology evaluation project conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C., and is being considered for licensing and commercialization.

He joined UT in the fall of 2012 from Texas Tech University where he served as senior vice president for research. He had been a faculty member and research administrator there since 2009. Prior to joining Texas Tech, Eighmy held a variety of faculty and administrative positions at the University of New Hampshire. He began his career at New Hampshire in 1986 as a research assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering.

"It is a n honor and a privilege to be recognized this way," Eighmy said. "The academy has many talented inventors and innovators committed to translating discovery into societal benefit. We are seeing this culture flourish here at the University of Tennessee."

Eighmy serves on the Fully Chartered Committee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board, the Board of Oak Ridge Associated Universities, and the Board of the UT Research Foundation. While at Texas Tech, he served on the Board of the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance. He also serves on the editorial board of Technology and InnovationThe Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors.

The 143 innovators elected to NAI Fellow status represent 94 universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes. Together, they hold more than 5,600 U.S. patents. To learn more about the NAI, visit


Contact: Whitney Heins
University of Tennessee at Knoxville

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