President Barack Obama awarded University Professor Mark Humayun, co-director of the USC Gayle and Edward Roski Eye Institute and director of the USC Institute for Biomedical Therapeutics, the nation’s highest award for achievement in technology during a ceremony at the White House.
Humayun received the prestigious National Medal of Technology and Innovation four months after a winter storm caused the planned January event to be rescheduled.
In a press release issued by the White House, Obama stated, “Science and technology are fundamental to solving some of our nation’s biggest challenges. The knowledge produced by these Americans today will carry our country’s legacy of innovation forward and continue to help countless others around the world. Their work is a testament to American ingenuity.”
Humayun, who is one of nine recipients of the medal this year, was chosen for his lifelong dedication to bridging medical science and engineering to restore sight. He holds more than 100 issued patents and patent applications — most in the area of bioimplants for ophthalmology.
His innovative work is best exemplified by the development of the Argus II, the only Food and Drug Administration-approved retinal prosthesis system that allows those with certain blinding diseases to regain some useful vision.
“I am very honored to receive the National Medal of Technology and Innovation,” said Humayun, president elect of the American Society of Retina Specialists. “Medical breakthroughs such as the Argus II come after long periods of research and development, and I am grateful to have been and continue to be surrounded by teams of very talented individuals.”
The National Medal of Technology and Innovation, presented by U.S. presidents since 1980, recognizes those who have made lasting contributions to America’s competitiveness and quality of life and helped strengthen the nation’s technological workforce.
Humayun, who holds joint appointments at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, is the first Cornelius Pings Professor of Biomedical Sciences and professor of ophthalmology, biomedical engineering, and cell and neurobiology at USC.