Top honors for women leading Adelphi, SBU innovation

Batteries included: Esther Sans Takeuchi, a Stony Brook University distinguished professor and Brookhaven National Laboratory chief scientist, is up for a prestigious European Inventor Award.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

Two of the top women inside the Long Island innovation economy have earned prestigious national and international honors.

Adelphi University President Christine Riordan, the first woman to fill the office and already regarded as a diversity pioneer, has been ranked among the “Top 25 Women in Higher Education” by Diverse Issues in Higher Education, a fairly self-explanatory (and highly influential) online news and resource hub.

And Esther Sans Takeuchi, a distinguished professor of three disciplines – chemistry, materials science and chemical engineering – in two Stony Brook University colleges, has been named a finalist for the European Inventor Award.

The European Patent Office named 15 inventor award finalists in all, including Sans Takeuchi – a finalist in the Non-EPO Countries category – who is also chief scientist of Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Energy & Photon Sciences Directorate.

Sans Takeuchi, SBU’s William and Jane Knapp Endowed Chair in Energy and the Environment, has dedicated her career to electrochemistry and battery technology. She is best known as the inventor of a compact lithium/silver vanadium oxide battery that enabled the widespread introduction of modern implantable cardiac defibrillators, beginning in the 1980s.

Her creation extended the operational life of implantable heart devices by some 500 percent, greatly reducing the number of surgeries required to maintain them.

Since then, Sans Takeuchi – whose personal collection exceeds 150 U.S. patents – has helped develop numerous improvements of the Li/SVO system, including miniaturizing the batteries and adapting them for use in ICDs, pacemakers, heart monitors and other high-tech implants.

European Patent Office President Benoit Battistelli praised Sans Takeuchi’s battery work for benefitting millions of patients – and said her advances rank her among history’s top American innovators.

“Sans Takeuchi’s innovative work on energy storage and power sources is enabling life-saving technologies that benefit millions of heart-failure patients,” Battistelli said in his announcement of the 2018 European Inventor Award finalists. “Her developments in the field of battery technology have also made her one of the most prolific U.S. women inventors.”

Christine Riordan: Adelphi’s diversity champion.

With her Diverse Issues recognition, meanwhile, Adelphi’s Riordan builds on her already substantial international cred as an expert in leadership development, team building and inclusion.

The president of the Garden City-based university was recognized for “her groundbreaking initiatives to personalize and transform the higher-education experience,” according to Diverse Issues.

Among Riordan’s top accomplishments since becoming Adelphi president in July 2015, according to the Top 25 review: the creation of the university’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the launch of its first-ever Diversity Certificate training program and a slate of expanded services through Adelphi’s Center for Career and Professional Development.

Riordan has also been at the helm for the opening of the 100,000-square foot Nexus Building – the Garden City campus’ new $76 million centerpiece – and for the registration of “the most diverse first-year classes in [Adelphi’s] history,” the university said in a statement, as well as a “significant increase” in faculty diversity.

Riordan, a former provost at the University of Kentucky and business dean at the University of Denver, has also “enhanced the concept of neurodiversity at Adelphi,” according to the university, including her work to help integrate the Bridges to Adelphi program for students on the autism spectrum.

Fuller accolades for Riordan and 24 other Top Women in Higher Education are available here. Sans Takeuchi will have to hold her breath until June 7, when the winners of the 2018 European Inventor Awards are scheduled to be announced at a ceremony in Paris.