SEAS Professor Elected to National Academy of Inventors

Michael Keidar, the A. James Clark Professor of Engineering, is a leader in the fields of cold plasma, micropropulsion and nanotechnology.

January 2, 2021

Dr. Keidar

Michael Keidar, the A. James Clark Professor of Engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Inventors.

By Kristen Mitchell 

A George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science professor known for his innovative development of cold plasma technology and a leader in the fields of micropropulsion and nanotechnology was recently elected to the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Michael Keidar, the A. James Clark Professor of Engineering, joins the 175 academic innovators across the world as part of the 2020 class of NAI fellows. Dr. Keidar said he feels honored to be recognized and join “very accomplished visionary colleagues” in the NAI. 

“It's great to see recognition of work that was done in my Nanotechnology and Micropropulsion Laboratory over the years by numerous students and postdocs,” he said. “Our research in plasma-based micropropulsion for small satellites resulted in several space missions and flights and led to commercialization. Research on cold plasmas resulted in a highly selective plasma delivery system for cancer treatment. Earlier work on cold plasma for cancer therapy has been transferred to local biomedical company US Medical Innovations and the device is currently in clinical trials.”

The NAI fellows selection committee noted it chose Dr. Keidar because he has “demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.”

Earlier this year GW entered a $3.2 million corporate research agreement with US Patent Innovations LLC to support further development of adaptive cold plasma devices for cancer therapies and explore using these devices to combat the spread of COVID-19. This was a continuation of a 2017 $5.3 million corporate research sponsorship agreement grounded in Dr. Keidar’s cold plasma technology research.

In 2016, GW and Vector, a company that connects space startups and innovations with reliable and affordable space access, reached an agreement to license plasma thruster technology created in Dr. Keidar’s lab. The plasma thruster technology allows researchers to propel miniature satellites, only 10 centimeters long on each side, and control them while in space. The satellites are significantly less expensive than their larger counterparts and are made from common materials.

The 2020 NAI fellow class represents 115 research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes worldwide. They collectively hold over 4,700 issued U.S. patents. Their collective body of research covers a range of scientific disciplines including biomedical engineering, computer engineering, materials science and physics. With the election of the 2020 class, there are now 1,403 NAI fellows worldwide.

Dr. Keidar has served as president of Electric Rocket Propulsion Society since May.