humayunPresident Barack Obama will award Mark S. Humayun — co-director of the USC Gayle and Edward Roski Eye Institute, director of the USC Institute for Biomedical Therapeutics, and USC Stem Cell principal investigator — the nation’s highest award for achievement in technology during a May 19 ceremony at the White House.

The hourlong ceremony will be broadcast live at at 11 a.m. PDT Thursday, May 19.

Humayun will be receiving the prestigious National Medal of Technology and Innovation, after a winter storm caused the January event to be rescheduled.

In a press release issued by the White House, President 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 FDA-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,” Humayun said. “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, is given to individuals, small teams collaborating on innovative systems or divisions of companies, all whom have contributed to the nation’s economic, environmental and social well-being.

By Melissa Masatani