Three University of Wisconsin–Madison professors — Susan Hagness, Jo Handelsman and Justin Williams — have been named fellows of the National Academy of Inventors.

The NAI Fellows Program “highlights academic inventors who have demonstrated a spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society,” according to the academy.

Susan Hagness, the Philip Dunham Reed Professor and chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, studies the interaction of electromagnetic radiation — microwaves — and human tissue, developing ways to better diagnose and treat diseases like cancer. She led studies establishing the differences between healthy and unhealthy breast tissue using microwave diagnostics, using ultra-wideband microwaves to detect tumors and deploying the scattering of electromagnetic radiation to determine tissue density (a factor in breast cancer risk). Hagness holds 13 U.S. patents related to her research and one Canadian patent.

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