When Dr. Peter Tsai filed the patent for the filtration technology used to create the filters inside most N95 disposable masks in 1995, he didn't know that 25 years later, it would be the first defense for healthcare workers dealing with a worldwide pandemic. Tsai retired in 2019; however, due to the shortage of N95 masks, he came out of retirement to innovate mask sterilization processes for re-use and to help companies increase production of PPE. Originally working out of his home in Tennessee, Tsai has partnered with University of Tennessee Medical Center researchers to test and validate best practices for sterilizing used N95 masks for re-use by healthcare practitioners. He's also been innovating to increase capacity to make the N95 filters nationwide, instead of relying on overseas manufacturing. Despite his profound contributions, Tsai has refused payment for most of his consulting and research work, stating: "This is an opportunity for me to contribute to the community."

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