“Building upon the strong TcSUH platform in fundamental analytical and experimental research, Dr. Jacobson focused efforts to expand the applied program during his tenure,” says Amr Elnashai, vice president and vice chancellor of research and technology. “Zhifeng Ren is one of the nation’s leading scientists, working in both fundamental and translational research. With the university’s priorities focused on energy and health, I anticipate that the center will see tremendous gains in both basic scientific discoveries and commercialization efforts under Dr. Ren’s guidance, especially in the areas of our institutional priorities.”
TcSUH was founded in 1987 as a multidisciplinary university-based research center and now has more than 200 affiliated faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students working on materials and applications in the field of superconductivity, energy and health, including nanoscale materials and applications.
Ren is a fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. UH recruited him in 2013 as both its MD Anderson Chair professor of physics and a principal investigator at TcSUH. At the time, his reputation for cutting-edge research in a variety of fields was already well established, including work in high-temperature superconductivity, carbon nanotubes and high performance thermoelectric materials. He will continue to lead his research group, in addition to his new administrative role.
Ren has also been involved with creating startup companies in both Boston and Houston, and indicates the academic center will continue to push forward in both transformative fundamental science and commercialization of superconducting and other materials. His goal is to commercialize UH technology for the American market. “That’s a natural process,” says Ren. “If you don’t eventually move new discoveries to practical applications, how can you expect the public to continue funding your research?”