Chemical Engineering Alum Honored by White House as a Champion of Change

Amar Sawhney, an alum of the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, has been recognized by the White House as an innovator and entrepreneur for his work in the field of medical devices.

Amar Sawhney, an alum of the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, has been recognized with a Champion of Change award from the White House.

The Champions of Change program recognizes ordinary Americans who are innovating, educating and helping build a better nation.   

This May, the Champions of Change event focused on immigrant innovators and entrepreneurs  — "the best and and brightest from around the world who are helping create American jobs, grow our economy and make our nation more competitive." Sawhney was one of 11 immigrant innovators and entrepreneurs honored at the event.

Sawhney is honored for his work in the field of medical devices. As an inventor and serial entrepreneur, he holds more than 120 patents that form the basis for several first-of-their-kind medical devices that have helped millions of patients worldwide. One of his inventions, a surgical sealant called DuraSeal, was recognized by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration as one of the most significant medical device approvals of 2005.

amar sawhney

He has founded six companies, which account for the creation of more than 1,600 jobs and more than $1.5 billion in revenue to date. Sawhney also runs Incept, a medical device incubator he co-founded, that mentors young innovators and creates companies, further fostering entrepreneurship.

In a post for the White House’s Champions of Change blog, Sawhney writes that he feels humbled and privileged to have the opportunity to do the work he does.

“I really enjoy what I do, which is innovate in the field of medical devices and biopharmaceuticals, by using my education as a chemical engineer specializing in biomaterials,” Sawhney writes. “I look back today in satisfaction at having helped create several medical devices that are helping millions of patients.”

In 2007, the Cockrell School of Engineering recognized Sawhney as an Outstanding Young Engineering Graduate for his incredible work in the medical devices field.

"UT had been my top choice for graduate school programs that I had applied to," Sawhney said. "The combination of a great department, a brilliant advisor and the Austin ecosystem made for an inspiring and productive five years of my life. The Chemical Engineering program opened my eyes to applied research and launched me into the startup world."

Sawhney earned his master’s degree in chemical engineering in 1989 and his doctorate in 1992, both from The University of Texas at Austin.

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