WASHINGTON, May 19, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, President Obama awarded American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS) President Elect Mark Humayun, MD, PhD, with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the nation's highest honor for technological achievement.
Dr. Humayun, who will assume the ASRS presidency at the Society's Annual Meeting in August, is co-director of the University of Southern California (USC) Roski Eye Institute and director of the USC Institute for Biomedical Therapeutics. He was selected for the award based on his steadfast dedication to bridging medical science and engineering to restore sight.
His more than 25 years of research have resulted in over 100 patents and the development of the first FDA-approved artificial vision device, the ARGUS® II (manufactured by Second Sight Medical Products, Inc.), the world's first artificial retinal prosthesis. The technology, which has been in commercial use in Europe since 2011, gained FDA approval in the United States in 2013 and is successfully restoring useful vision to patients who suffer from certain blinding diseases, such as retina pigmentosa.
During the White House ceremony, President Obama shared some of what has inspired Dr. Humayun. "When his diabetic grandmother lost her vision, Mark began studying to become an ophthalmologist hoping he could save the site of others. Mark helped create the ARGUS II®, a bionic eye that has restored vision to patients who've been blind up to 50 years. He says the moment when he witnessed someone seeing light and shapes, someone experiencing sight for the first time in decades, have been some of the happiest and most rewarding of his professional career," said President Obama.
The National Medal of Technology and Innovation is presented by U.S. presidents to recognize individuals, teams, divisions and companies for innovations that contribute to the nation's economic, environmental and social well-being.
"Science and technology are fundamental to solving some of our nation's biggest challenges," said President Obama. "The knowledge produced by these Americans 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."
In receiving the award, Dr. Humayun joins an impressive list of past recipients – giants in innovation whose contributions have revolutionized our way of life, including Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, as well as inventors across a spectrum of industries such as automotive, aviation, Internet, agriculture, satellite, wireless, biotechnology, petroleum and others.
"I'm honored to receive this award," said Dr. Humayun. "Medical breakthroughs like the ARGUS® II come after long periods of research and development and I'm grateful to be surrounded by teams of very talented individuals. This is a dynamic time in ophthalmology with many exciting prospects for future innovations that will benefit patients. I feel fortunate to be a part of it."
ASRS Contact: Lydia Steck, Lydia.email@example.com or (312) 578-8760
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SOURCE American Society of Retina Specialists