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NAI Fellows Robert Langer, Leroy Hood and Member James Wynne receive US National Medals

TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 8, 2013)MIT professor Robert Langer and IBM inventor James Wynne will receive the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, and Leroy Hood of the Institute for Systems Biology will receive the National Medal of Science early this year from President Obama.

In announcing the 23 scientists receiving this year's national medals, President Obama said: "I am proud to honor these inspiring American innovators. They represent the ingenuity and imagination that has long made this Nation greatand they remind us of the enormous impact a few good ideas can have when these creative qualities are unleashed in an entrepreneurial environment."

Langer and Hood were also recently named to the inaugural class of Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). Wynne is a Charter Member of the NAI.

"The National Academy of Inventors congratulates Drs. Langer, Hood and Wynne on their outstanding accomplishments," said Paul Sanberg, NAI president and senior vice president for research and innovation at the University of South Florida. "We are honored to have them as fellows and members of the NAI."

Langer will provide the keynote address and Hood will be a featured speaker at the second annual conference of the National Academy of Inventors, to be held Feb. 21-22, 2013, at the University of South Florida in Tampa, when they will also be inducted as part of the charter class of the 101 top scientists, innovators, and leaders from the academic world elected as 2012 NAI Charter Fellows (see complete Fellows list at

Robert Langer is one of only three Americans to have won both the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. He is MIT professor of chemical engineering and co-founder of InVivo Therapeutics Corporation, a company developing technologies to treat spinal cord injuries. He has approximately 800 issued and pending patents worldwide that have been licensed to over 250 pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology and medical device companies.

Langer has received over 210 major awards including the Charles Stark Draper Prize (considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for engineers), the Millennium Prize (world's largest technology prize), the Lemelson-MIT prize (world's largest prize for invention), and has been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. He is one of very few people elected to all three U.S. National Academies (National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine) and the youngest to receive this distinction.

In 2002, Forbes Magazine selected Langer as one of the 15 innovators worldwide who will "reinvent our future." Time Magazine and CNN in 2001 named him as one of the 100 most important people in America and one of the 18 top people in science or medicine in America (America's Best). In 2004, Parade Magazine selected Langer as one of 6 "Heroes whose research may save your life."

Leroy Hood, president of the Institute for Systems Biology, is a pioneer whose research has focused on the study of molecular immunology, biotechnology and genomics. At Caltech, he and his colleagues developed instruments that paved the way for the successful mapping of the human genome. Hood also holds the rare distinction of being a member of all three U.S. National Academies. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Lasker Award, the Kyoto Prize, the Heinz Award, and the NAE 2011 Fritz J. and Delores H. Russ Prize for automating DNA sequencing that revolutionized biomedicine and forensic science. He has played a role in founding more than 14 biotech companies, has published over 700 peer reviewed articles, and holds 36 patents.

James Wynne, a senior member of the staff of IBM Research Headquarters where he has served for more than 40 years, will receive the Medal of Technology and Innovation as part of an IBM research team that also includes Rangaswamy Srinivasan and Samuel E. Blum. Wynne and his two colleagues discovered excimer laser surgery in 1981 and laid the foundation for the development of LASIK and PRK surgeries, which have improved the vision of more than 25 million people worldwide. For their discovery, Wynne and his colleagues were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and received the R.W. Wood Prize of the Optical Society of America, and the Rank Prize for Opto-Electronics. They will also receive the NAE 2013 Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize, a $500,000 biennial award recognizing a bioengineering achievement that significantly improves the human condition.


Contact: Judy Lowry
University of South Florida (USF Innovation)

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