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Influential Innovators

NMSU researchers receive patents, hope to inspire

While they teach and conduct research in different departments at NMSU, three professors shared the goal to create new inventions within their respective fields of research. That goal has resulted in three new patented inventions. 

In April 2023, women inventors were celebrated during World Intellectual Property Day, which carried the theme “Women and IP: Accelerating innovation and creativity.” Arrowhead Center at NMSU’s Office of Intellectual Property and Innovation Commercialization supports the theme every year by providing resources and connections to women inventors around the world. 

The Office of Intellectual Property and Innovation Commercialization protects, manages and executes the mission to commercialize the creative products of NMSU, regionally and globally. 

“Working with NMSU research teams and external collaborators is engaging and rewarding,” says Patricia Knighten, director of innovation commercialization at Arrowhead Center. “I am continually impressed and awed at the creativity here.” 

Paola Bandini, civil engineering professor; Jennifer Randall ’92 ’97 ’05, entomology, plant pathology and weed sciences professor and director of the Molecular Biology and Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Graduate Program; and Roopa Vishwanathan, computer science assistant professor, each collaborated with students and colleagues in the invention process and received guidance from Arrowhead Center in the patent application process.

innovators_pullquote.jpg“Patricia Knighten was instrumental in organizing meetings with us as inventors and the funding partners,” Randall says. “The patent process would have been much longer and tedious without the support of Arrowhead.”

Bandini, who specializes in geotechnical engineering, biogeotechnology, foundation engineering and sustainable construction, joined NMSU’s Department of Civil Engineering in 2002. She credits her inspiration towards invention to her father. 

“I definitely learned it from my dad,” she says. “My dad had an entrepreneurship mindset and the ability to build and create things. I very much enjoyed working on projects with him in my childhood and youth years.”

While Bandini was encouraged at a young age, Vishwanathan hopes these achievements spark interest with the next generation.  

“It has inspired my students and colleagues to submit their own work,” says Vishwanathan, who joined NMSU’s Computer Science Department in 2017. “This is definitely something I plan to talk about to the Computer Science Department’s Young Women in Computing group. I hope this will help inspire further good quality research in NMSU and help us become an R1 university.”

Specializing in cryptography and security research, Vishwanathan and her team invented a system called Scalable Auditability of Monitoring Process Using Public Ledgers. 

“The goal of creating SAMPL was to help audit surveillance options, such that the integrity of the operation is not compromised, and users can verify that the surveillance was conducted through legal means,” Vishwanathan says.

With the goal to create a new sustainable and cost-effective deep foundation system, Bandini and her team had to transfer their strategies from the biological domain to the engineering domain. 

“Our new system is called Bioinspired Radially Expansive Pile,” Bandini says. “It is a new deep foundation system that can carry and support greater loads from structures like buildings, bridges and transmission towers. 

“I hope my experience developing and patenting technology from my research will show the path and rewards of invention to female students, and other women engineers and scientists so they can also pursue patents or whatever their dreams may be,” Bandini says.  

Randall, who joined the NMSU Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Weed Science faculty in 2005, focuses on plant genetics, development, diseases and host interactions. Randall and her team began working on their invention of agricultural contamination detection in 2016. 

While there were some challenges, Randall thinks the experimentation and research of the creative process delivers encouragement to students. 

“I had the privilege of collaborating with colleagues at NMSU, throughout the United States and the world,” Randall says. “I do think that my research in general has inspired several high school students, undergraduate students and graduate students to pursue careers in STEM.” 


Jennifer Randall is an NMSU entomology, plant pathology and weed sciences professor and director of the Molecular Biology and Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Graduate Program.


Roopa Vishwanathan, assistant professor in the NMSU computer science department, and her team created a system that will help maintain legal surveillence options for cybersecurity.


Paola Bandini, NMSU civil engineering professor, credits her father for inspiring her to create innovative methods in sustainable construction.