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Humayun named first director of USC Eye Institute

Mark Humayun, who is holding the Argus II artificial retina implant, plans to emphasize clinical, research and educational missions as director of the USC Eye Institute. (USC Photo/Jon Nalick)

University Professor Mark Humayun, internationally known for his work on the Argus II artificial retina implant intended to restore sight to the blind, has been named the inaugural director of the USC Eye Institute and interim chair of the USC Department of Ophthalmology.

In his new role, Humayun takes the reins of a local and national leader in eye care services, providing advanced surgical techniques and comprehensive care for patients. Humayun will also continue to lead and guide transformative research.

“The USC Eye Institute and the USC Department of Ophthalmology together offer a top-ranked clinical practice and world-class research with the potential to cure prevalent and challenging diseases of the eye,” Humayun said. “The groundbreaking work at the USC Eye Institute will lead to transformative new solutions for preserving and restoring sight, and the USC Department of Ophthalmology will be the conduit that provides these treatments safely and effectively to patients with vision problems.”

Humayun is professor of ophthalmology, biomedical engineering and cell and neurobiology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. He also is the first holder of the Cornelius J. Pings Chair in Biomedical Sciences and is a member of the USA National Academies Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Engineering.

In a joint statement, Elizabeth Garrett, USC provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, Carmen Puliafito, dean of the Keck School, and Thomas Jackiewicz, senior vice president and CEO for USC Health, expressed their support for Humayun.

“We look forward to his continued commitment to the highest levels of basic and translational research through his leadership of the USC Eye Institute,” the administrators said in the statement, adding that they “are confident that USC’s tradition of strong leadership will be maintained.”

Working closely with physicians and researchers to enable them to do their best in clinical practice as well as translational and basic vision research is a priority for Humayun.

“We plan to achieve our new goals through continued emphasis on clinical, research and educational missions,” he said.

Over the past decade, USC’s ophthalmology services have consistently ranked in the top 10 in the U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” rankings.

Humayun is recognized for his work on the treatment of the most debilitating and challenging eye diseases through advanced engineering, including the development of therapies for retinal degenerations such as retinitis pigmentosa; macular degenerations such as age-related macular degeneration; retinovascular diseases such as vein occlusions; and diabetic retinopathy and retinal detachments.

He was the principal member of a team that developed the Argus II implant, which has been shown to restore sight to some people blinded by retinitis pigmentosa. The Argus II, manufactured and sold by Second Sight Medical Products, was approved for use in the United States by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in February.

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Humayun named first director of USC Eye Institute

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