Robert Savinell elected Fellow for 2023 class of National Academy of Inventors

Electrochemistry innovator and pioneering physician join 20 others from CWRU who have been appointed during past decade

Robert Savinell and Jonathan Stamler will join a prestigious group of researchers and innovators from Case Western Reserve University as the newest elected Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). The honor highlights the overall careers and impacts individual inventors have had in society and their respective fields.

Savinell, a Distinguished University Professor and the George S. Dively Professor of Engineering, is an internationally recognized scholar in the field of electrochemistry and a foundational leader for CWRU’s electrochemical community. His 40-year career includes groundbreaking work in energy conversion and storage.

Stamler, the Robert S. and Sylvia K. Reitman Family Foundation Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Innovation, is a professor of medicine and biochemistry. He is also the founding director of the medical school’s Institute for Transformative Molecular Medicine and co-founder and president of the Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals Health System.

Stamler also is an internationally acclaimed physician scientist for the discovery of protein S-nitrosylation, microscopic markers on proteins that play a role in the body’s normal function.

“This year’s class of NAI Fellows showcases the caliber of researchers that are found within the innovation ecosystem,” said NAI President Paul R. Sanberg. “(These) individuals are making significant contributions to both science and society through their work. This new class, in conjunction with our existing Fellows, are 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.”

Leader in electrochemistry field

In a sense, Savinell’s career has been guided by a poster he spotted on a colleague’s office door after joining Case Western Reserve in 1986.

“The sign had to do with understanding fundamentals and then doing something new with them,” Savinell said. “It’s about creativity and ultimately action. I always took that challenge to heart.”

A former director of the Ernest B. Yeager Center for Electrochemical Sciences and dean of engineering at CWRU, Savinell is renowned for his contributions to fundamental electrochemical engineering and science.

His recent achievements include leading efforts to establish the university’s Breakthrough Center for Electrolyte Energy Storage, which since 2018 has secured nearly $23 million in support from the U.S. Department of Energy. Last year Savinell also received the prestigious Vittorio De Nora Award from the Electrochemical Society.

Savinell is proud of his inventions—like a high-temperature proton-conducting polymer for fuel cells and technologically advanced low-cost batteries primarily using water, salt, and iron. Even more meaningful are their current real-world applications.

“As engineers we understand technical problems, so we try to come up with solutions,” he said, noting his gratitude to his colleagues for the nomination. “It is especially exciting to me that the NAI honor recognizes invention and innovation in the academic community, and I feel fortunate here at CWRU because our university values it as well.”