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President Biden honors David Huang, MD, PhD, for transformative imaging technology

Article

News

Huang and 2 OCT co-inventors were honored this week at the White House with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

President Joe Biden presented OHSU ophthalmologist David Huang, MD, PhD, (second from left) and 2 others with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation for developing the imaging technology optical coherence tomography at a White House ceremony on October 24, 2023. Eric A. Swanson, MS, far left, and James G. Fujimoto, PhD, far right, were also recognized. (Image courtesy of Ryan K. Morris and the National Science and Technology Medals Foundation)

President Joe Biden presented OHSU ophthalmologist David Huang, MD, PhD, (second from left) and 2 others with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation for developing the imaging technology optical coherence tomography at a White House ceremony on October 24, 2023. Eric A. Swanson, MS, far left, and James G. Fujimoto, PhD, far right, were also recognized. (Image courtesy of Ryan K. Morris and the National Science and Technology Medals Foundation)

David Huang, MD, PhD, an ophthalmologist, scientist and inventor at the Oregon Health & Science University, was honored this week with the nation’s highest honor for technical achievement.

In a ceremony at the White House, President Joe Biden presented Huang and 2 other scientists with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation for developing optical coherence tomography (OCT).1

James G. Fujimoto, PhD, and Eric A Swanson, MS, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-inventors of OCT with Huang, were also honored at the White House ceremony, according to an OHSU news release.

The White House noted in its statement that the National Medal of Science is the nation’s highest scientific honor.2

“Established by Congress in 1959 and administered by the U.S. National Science Foundation, it is bestowed by the President of the United States on individuals deserving of special recognition for their outstanding contributions in biology, computer sciences, education sciences, engineering, geosciences, mathematical and physical sciences, and social, behavioral, and economic sciences, in service to the Nation,” the statement noted.

The first Medal of Technology and Innovation was presented in 1985, and the last time the White House bestowed the award was in 2015.2

During the White House event, a total of 12 scientists received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Nine others were also given the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest scientific honor.2

“You’re literally changing the world for the better,” President Biden told Huang and other honorees, according to the White House statement.

According to the university’s news release, OCT has proved to be a transformative technology in ophthalmology, changing the way eye disease is diagnosed and managed. It allows ophthalmologists and optometrists to identify vision-threatening disease early, and often before patients experience symptoms.

Moreover, the university noted in its news release OCT is used in more than 30 million imaging procedures worldwide each year to diagnose and treat the leading causes of blindness, including macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. It also is used to diagnose a range of other diseases.1

Huang, Fujimoto and Swanson invented OCT in the early 1990s, when Huang was an MD/PhD student working in Fujimoto’s MIT lab. Last month, the trio also received the 2023 :asker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for their development of OCT.1

Huang is the director of research, associate director and World Family Chair in Ophthalmic Imaging at the OHSU Casey Eye Institute, and also serves as a professor ophthalmology and biomedical engineering in the OHSU School of Medicine.

References

1. President Biden honors David Huang, MD, PhD, for transformative imaging technology. OHSU News. Published October 24, 2023. Accessed October 25, 2023. https://news.ohsu.edu/2023/10/24/president-biden-honors-david-huang-m-d-ph-d-for-transformative-imaging-technology

2. President Biden Honors Leading American Scientists, Technologists, and Innovators. The White House. Published October 24, 2023. Accessed October 25, 2023. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/10/24/president-biden-honors-leading-american-scientists-technologists-and-innovators/

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