Dr. Humayun’s approach was in essence from the bedside of his grandmother to the bench and back, devoting his life to finding solutions for devastating conditions that cause blindness.
As a medical student, Dr. Mark Humayun knew his grandmother was slowly losing her vision due to complications from diabetes. Dr. Humayun’s approach was in essence from the bedside of his grandmother to the bench and back, devoting his life to finding solutions for devastating conditions that cause blindness. Dr. Humayun, both an ophthalmologist and bioengineer, along with his colleague Dr. James Weiland, assembled a team of world experts to create a revolutionary device known as Argus II. As co-inventors, they converged the concepts of both bioengineering and medicine to develop the Argus II retinal prosthesis system, which is a medical breakthrough for those suffering from an inherited form of retinitis pigmentosa (RP). There are more than 1.5 million people who have been diagnosed with different forms of RP worldwide. RP is a group of inherited retinal degenerative diseases that can lead to blindness, characterized by loss of the light sensing cells known as photoreceptors (rods and cones) and progressive scarring of the retina (back of the eye responsible for capturing images). Argus II is the world’s first FDA-approved artificial retina system that offers an unprecedented degree of sight to those with complete retinal blindness.
In 2016, Humayun received the prestigious National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the nation’s highest award for achievement in technology, during a ceremony at the White House.