Jeffrey L. Duerk, dean of the Case School of Engineering, was officially inducted as a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) on April 6.
He joined the 175-member class of 2016 fellows at the organization’s induction ceremony and banquet at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum in Boston during NAI’s annual conference.
NAI fellows are nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in such areas as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society and support and enhancement of innovation.
Previously elected NAI fellows from Case Western Reserve include Trevor Jones, a lifelong engineering pioneer and dedicated supporter of the university, who was inducted in 2014, and Distinguished University Professor Hunter Peckham, the Donnell Institute Professor of biomedical engineering and orthopedics and founder of the Cleveland Functional Electrical Stimulation Center, inducted in 2013. Robert Miller, former professor of neurosciences and vice president for research at the university, was also inducted in 2013.
“To be recognized in the same category as Hunter and Trevor is certainly an honor. I look up to them inspirationally as role models,” said Duerk, considered an international leader in biomedical imaging research and innovation—especially Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
“Being here at Case Western Reserve from the ‘90s and being able to help expand the MRI research program from initially providing only diagnostic images to now using MRI in image-guided procedures and therapies has been especially gratifying,” he said. “The team here at the university was essential to the development of interventional MRI.”
Duerk also identified the late Paul Lauterbur, an alum who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2003, as an inspiration, “and through our scientific genealogy has great ties to the MRI program here on campus today,” he said. “Paul capitalized on the rigor to, as we say in our tagline, ‘think beyond the possible.’”
Dean of the engineering school since 2012 and a Case School of Engineering alumnus, Duerk has been a member of the university faculty since 1988. He has published more than 185 peer-reviewed papers, obtained more than 30 patents (with more than 20 licensed to industry) and secured numerous grants sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and industry. He is also founding director of the Case Center of Imaging Research and founding leader of the Cancer Imaging program in the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.
In addition, Duerk has advocated for and supported international collaboration in biomedical engineering or imaging research, education and exchange opportunities. For example, he has played a key role in developing several relationships and student-academic programs with institutions in Germany, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, China, Brazil, Romania, South Korea and elsewhere.