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Mark Humayun and Priya Vashishta Receive USC Associates Awards for Creativity

Achievements in retinal prostheses and in high-resolution molecular modeling recognized at USC Convocation

April 24, 2010 —

Professor of Ophthalmology and Biomedical Engineering Mark Humanyun, and Professor of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science and Physics & Astronomy Priya Vashishta, have won 2010 Associates Awards for Creativity in Research. The presentation of the awards took place at the 2010 USC Awards Convocation in Town and Gown.

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Mark Humayun

The Associates Awards for Creativity in Research are the highest honors the university faculty can bestow on its members for distinguished intellectual and artistic achievements.

Both of the 2010 recipients are highly interdisciplinary scholars executing important, cross-cutting research agendas. Both are faculty leaders in the Viterbi School of Engineering and in the other schools, Keck (for Humayun) and the College (for Vashishta) where they have joint appoinments.

The co-inventor of a retinal prosthesis, Humayun has combined his expertise in ophthalmology and his craftsmanship in engineering to restore partial sight to the blind. His pioneering research, which is undergoing clinical trials, is bringing joy and greater mobility to patients as they begin to discern objects, large letters, and the faces of their loved ones.

Focusing on diseases of the retina, Humayun was the lead surgeon during the implantation of the world's first retinal device in 2002, and he led the engineering team that developed this electronic implant. His accomplishments have earned him membership in the Institute of Medicine.

His many honors include being named a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and the inaugural holder of the Cornelius J. Pings Chair in Biomedical Sciences. R&D Magazine recognized him as Innovator of the Year in 2005. He has been listed as one of the Best Doctors in America.

Priya Vashista

Professor Humayun joined USC in 2001. He earned his M.D. from Duke University and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

One of the world's foremost computational scientists, Priya Vashishta is a pioneer in pushing out the frontiers of high-performance computing and materials science. Harnessing the power of advanced supercomputers, he and his team explore the effects of extreme conditions on everyday materials. This research has led to newer and better-designed products, ranging from components for computer chips to materials less susceptible to corrosion and oxidation.

Vashishta has given 255 invited talks, authored 351 papers, and edited 11 books. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a devoted educator. He established a unique dual-degree program for students pursuing a master?s degree in computer science and a Ph.D. in the physical sciences or engineering. He also mentors students from underrepresented groups through an annual computational science workshop he organizes for undergraduates.

A holder of a Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, Vashishta joined USC in 2002. He chairs the Faculty Advisory Council for USC?s High Performance Computing and Communications.