The Institute - June 2020 - TI8

no challenge too great



hile Mark Humayun was
attending medical school in
the 1980s at Duke University,
in Durham, N.C., his grandmother began
to lose her eyesight because of complications from diabetes. After deciding to
research how he could use technology to
help her retain her eyesight, he spent the
next 20 years looking for a solution.



JUN 2020



That journey ultimately led Humayun,
an IEEE Fellow, to help invent the Argus II,
a retinal prosthesis system approved in
2013 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The first implantable device
for people with retinal neurodegenerative diseases, it has helped more than
300 patients worldwide for whom there
was no foreseeable cure.

IEEE Fellow Mark Humayun
in his lab at the University
of Southern California's
Ginsburg Institute for
Biomedical Therapeutics
in Los Angeles

Humayun, a professor of ophthalmology and biomedical engineering at the
University of Southern California, in Los
Angeles, built the Argus II with three
other faculty members, after working
on the original Argus. He also is director of the university's Ginsburg Institute
for Biomedical Therapeutics.
For his work, Humayun is the recipient of this year's IEEE Medal for Innovations in Healthcare Technology, which
is sponsored by the IEEE Engineering in
Medicine and Biology Society.
Humayun received his medical degree
in 1989 from Duke and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering in 1994 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
He is the only ophthalmologist ever to
have been elected as a member of both
the National Academy of Medicine and
the National Academy of Engineering.
The IEEE Medal for Innovations
in Healthcare Technology is not the
first honor Humayun has received
for the Argus II. In 2016 he received a
U.S. National Medal of Technology and
Innovation, presented by President
Barack Obama.
"It's very gratifying when peers acknowledge you," Humayun says. "Certainly, it
rises to a different level when the president of the United States gives you a
national award. It was one of the highlights of my career."
The path to developing the Argus II
wasn't easy.
"No one believed in the project at first,"
Humayun says. "It took over a decade to
build the team to what it is now and to
increase the faith physicians and engineers have in the technology."



The Institute - June 2020

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