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Pakistani American Receives American Association for Advancement of Science’s Highest Honor

Dr. Mark Humayun's innovative research in ophthalmology and bioengineering led to the development of the Argus II retinal implant, an artificial retina which allows an unprecedented degree of sight to those with complete retinal blindness.

By A Correspondent
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Mark S. Humayun

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has elected three USC professors to become AAAS fellows in 2021. The council designates members with this distinction whose “efforts on behalf of the advancement of science, or its applications, are scientifically or socially distinguished.”

According to an announcement by USC Viterbi School of Engineering, AAAS fellows are scientists, engineers, and innovators with notable accomplishments in research, technology, industry and government, teaching, communication and interpreting science to the public.

The tradition of electing AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Since then, the recognition has gone to thousands of distinguished scientists, such as inventor Thomas Edison, elected in 1878, sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois (1905), anthropologist Margaret Mead (1934), computer scientist Grace Hopper (1963), physicist Steven Chu (2000), and astronaut Ellen Ochoa (2012).

In 2022, three Trojans joined their ranks: including Pakistani-American Dr. Mark Humayun, Yannis Yortsos and Andrea Armani.

Humayun is the Cornelius J. Pings Chair in Biomedical Sciences and University Professor of Ophthalmology, Biomedical Engineering and Cell and Neurobiology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering; director of the USC Ginsburg Institute for Biomedical Therapeutics; and co-director of the USC Roski Eye Institute, Keck Medicine of USC. 

Humayun was honored with the 2021 AAAS fellow distinction “for distinguished contributions to ophthalmology and to engineering, particularly in the invention of devices that can restore sight to the nearly blind.”

His innovative research in ophthalmology and bioengineering led to the development of the Argus II retinal implant, an artificial retina which allows an unprecedented degree of sight to those with complete retinal blindness. Approved by the FDA in 2013, the Argus II was named one of the top 10 inventions by Time magazine that year. He has more than 100 patents and patent applications.

Humayun’s innovations have led to numerous recognitions, including in 2016 where he received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Barack Obama for his development of the Argus II. His work in restoring sight also earned him induction into the National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Inventors. He is a former president of the American Society of Retinal Specialists.

He was named top 1% of ophthalmologists by the U.S. News & World Report.

Dr. Humayun, MD, PhD, received his Bachelors of Science degree from Georgetown University in 1984, his Doctor of Medicine (MD) from Duke University in 1989, and his PhD from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1994. He completed his ophthalmology residency at Duke Eye Center and fellowships in both vitreoretinal and retinovascular surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He stayed on as faculty at Johns Hopkins where he rose to the rank of associate professor before moving to USC in 2001.
Dr. Humayun has devoted much of his career to clinical and scientific research in ophthalmology and bioengineering, becoming both a biomedical engineer and professor of ophthalmology. He led a talented and diverse team of interdisciplinary researchers with the ultimate goal of creating the world’s first artificial retina.
With over 200 publications and more than 100 patents and patent applications, Dr. Humayun has received several research awards which includes the 2005 Innovator of the Year award. He was also featured as one of the top 10 inventors in Time Magazine in 2013, voted as one of the Best Doctors in America for three years, and one of the top 1% of Doctors by U.S. News & World Report.

In 2016, Dr. Humayun received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Barack Obama for his innovative work and development of the Argus II.

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