UMSL scientist named NAI Fellow for blood glucose measuring device

Zhi Xu, associate professor of chemistry at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, had a big year in 2014, and the National Academy of Inventors took notice. He is one of 170 distinguished innovators to be named an NAI Fellow.


(Photo by August Jennewein)

This prestigious distinction comes after Xu’s portable, inexpensive, noninvasive blood glucose monitor for people with diabetes earned him “Inventor of the Year” from The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis.

According to the 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report, 29.1 million Americans (9.3 percent of the population) had diabetes in 2012, making Xu’s device one that could be in high demand. His technology overcomes the obstacles others have faced trying to measure blood glucose optically through skin by using near-infrared light shown through the finger. It is currently undergoing international testing.

NAI Fellows are elected by their peers for their highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.

“This is absolutely a great honor for me,” Xu says. “More importantly, it is a true reflection of the people who work with me as a team – their high professional standard, dedication to improving people’s lives and the economy, and their desire for making tomorrow a better place.”

The 2014 fellows will be inducted on March 20 as part of the 4th Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif.

They were also recognized with a full-page announcement in the Jan. 16 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education and in upcoming issues of Inventors Digest and Technology and Innovation.

Xu received a bachelor’s in chemistry and an master’s in electrical engineering from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. He completed his PhD in chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania and held a postdoctoral position at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign prior to joining the UMSL faculty in 1994.


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