A research professor emerita at Purdue University’s School of Chemical Engineering will receive the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Barack Obama. Nancy Ho will be honored at a White House ceremony early next year.
Ho is one of eight recipients of the award this year and just the third Purdue faculty member to receive it since its creation in 1980. She was nominated for the medal by Arvind Varma, the R. Games Slayter Distinguished Professor and Jay and Cynthia Ihlenfeld Head of the School of Chemical Engineering.
Ho is the founder and president of Green Tech America Inc., which she founded at the Purdue Research Park in 2006. The company was formed to produce and market recombinant yeast, which can be used to produce cellulosic ethanol from plant materials such as corn stalks, wheat straws, wood and grasses.
"This is a most fitting honor for Dr. Ho, who has had a long and distinguished career in areas vital for energy research and industry," Purdue President Mitch Daniels said. "She is an exceptional researcher who has made an enormous contribution to science and technology."
Ho earned a doctoral degree in molecular biology in 1968 and began working at Purdue in 1971. She was named an Energy Patriot in 2006 by then-Senator Richard Lugar and was invited to attend the State of the Union address in 2007 in honor of her work in cellulosic ethanol.