LAURELS: Engineering Professor Gates Elected to Inventors Academy



  • Bruce Gates, College of Engineering
  • Stephen Kowalczykowski, College of Biological Sciences
  • Anh-Vu Pham, College of Engineering
  • Cody Hawkins, Intercollegiate Athletics

Bruce Gates environmental
Distinguished Professor Bruce Gates: new fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

The Department of Chemical Engineering’s Bruce Gates, world-renowned for his work with catalysts, has been elected a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, or NAI. He’s a member of the class of 2021, announced in December.

Gates, a distinguished professor, is the first member of his department to be earn the honor. The NAI accords fellow status to academics whose outstanding inventions have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and societal welfare.

His other honors include election to the National Academy of Engineering in 2017. In his five-decade career, Gates has incorporated sophisticated catalyst synthesis methods and catalyst characterization and testing techniques to help improve X-ray absorption spectroscopy and complementary methods to better understand the atomic-scale structures of catalytic materials and how they control catalyst performance.

He is a pioneer in the area of structurally well-defined catalysts, which are increasingly finding technological application. His work on fossil fuel conversion led to the identification of the “bottleneck” sulfur-containing compounds in petroleum that are hardest to remove in processes to manufacture clean-burning (low-sulfur) fuels. The discovery helped greatly improve air quality worldwide by limiting the emissions of sulfur oxides from fuel combustion, leading to the near elimination of the term “acid rain” from our vocabularies.

“I especially appreciate how the NAI recognizes advances in fundamental understanding that have opened the way—often years later—to new technology,” Gates said. “The NAI encourages us engineering faculty to work with our research students to develop their basic skills and independence while casting an eye on technology and trying to do something significant in the long run for the good of people and our environment.”

— Noah Pflueger-Peters, content specialist, College of Engineering

Stephen Kowalczykowski and Anh-Vu Pham headshots
Stephen Kowalczykowski, left, and Anh-Vu Pham

New fellows of the Biophysical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE:

  • Stephen Kowalczykowski, distinguished professor, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, College of Biological Sciences — New fellow of the Biophysical Society, which accords such status upon members who have demonstrated sustained excellence in science and contributed to the expansion of the field of biophysics. Kowalczykowski earned the honor for seminal biophysical and biochemical studies, including advancing “visual biochemistry,” that have contributed to our understanding of the complex protein-DNA interactions involved in DNA recombination and DNA replication.
  • Anh-Vu Pham, professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering — Elevated to IEEE fellow in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to organic packaging technologies for electronics. Here, electronic packaging does not refer to the boxes manufacturers use to ship consumer products, but to the physical structures on devices that encase electronic circuits. Using organic carbon-containing materials as opposed to ceramics to package electronic circuits can allow for cheaper, lighter and smaller devices. Read more about Pham in this article on the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering’s website.

Cody Hawkins headshot
Cody Hawkins

Cody Hawkins is among 35 coaches selected by the American Football Coaches Association to attend its annual leadership institute for coaches under the age of 35. Hawkins just completed his fifth season with Aggies and second as the offensive coordinator.

He was among more than 200 applicants for the 35 Under 35 Coaches Leadership Institute for 2022. The one-day program ethics, influential responsibilities, career progression and family balance.

Read more in this story on the Aggie Athletics website.

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Dateline Staff: Dave Jones, editor, 530-752-6556,; Cody Kitaura, News and Media Relations specialist, 530-752-1932,

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