GAINESVILLE, Fla.— The National Academy of Inventors named as a Fellow this month Lonnie O. Ingram, a distinguished professor in the University of Florida’s microbiology and cell science department.
Academic inventors and innovators elected to the rank of NAI Fellow were nominated by their peers and it is considered a high professional distinction. NAI members chose Ingram because he has “demonstrated a 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.”
“It’s an unexpected honor and I’m happy to be included among this group,” Ingram said Thursday.
Included in the 2013 class are 26 presidents and senior leadership of research universities and nonprofit research institutes, 69 members of the National Academies, five inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation, two recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Science and nine Nobel Laureates, among other awards and distinctions.
Ingram, a member of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, currently serves as the director of the Florida Center for Renewable Chemicals and Fuels at UF, which is building the Stan Mayfield Biorefinery Pilot Plant in Perry, Fla. He is best known for engineering bacteria that convert sugars from inedible plant fiber and wood into fuel ethanol, and compounds used to make biodegradable plastics. The ethanol technology has been used in small fuel plants in Louisiana, Thailand, Japan and Florida. Microorganisms for bioplastics are being used for large scale commercial production in Louisiana and Spain.
Ingram joined the faculty in UF’s microbiology and cell science department in 1972, and has since received more than $50 million in contracts and grants, published more than 230 refereed papers, holds 24 U.S. and foreign patents, and served as an adviser to President George W. Bush and Florida governors Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist.
“Dr. Ingram’s work is leading the way in changing how the U.S. develops energy and this honor reflects his decades of diligence to help make this a better world,” said Jack Payne, UF/IFAS senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “UF is working to attract more scientists of Ingram’s caliber.”
The 143 innovators elected to NAI Fellow status this month represent 94 universities, government and nonprofit research institutes. They hold more than 5,600 U.S. patents.
The NAI is sponsored by the University of Central Florida, the University of South Florida, Florida High-Tech Corridor, The Lemelson Foundation, Smith & Hopen law firm, and Oak Ridge Associated Universities.