Obama names Richards-Kortum to National Medal of Science committee

President Barack Obama has appointed Rice University bioengineer Rebecca Richards-Kortum to the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science, which evaluates nominees for the nation’s highest honor for American scientists and engineers.

Rebecca Richards-Kortum

Rebecca Richards-Kortum

Richards-Kortum is Rice’s Stanley C. Moore Professor of Bioengineering, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of Rice 360°: Institute for Global Health Technologies. She is one of 12 scientists and engineers on the committee.

Established in 1959, the National Medal of Science has been awarded to 487 scientists and engineers. Rice recipients include Richard Tapia, University Professor, the Maxfield-Oshman Professor in Engineering, a professor of computational and applied mathematics and director of Rice’s Center for Excellence and Equity in Education; chemist Frederick Rossini; and former Rice President and chemist Norman Hackerman. Rice alumni so honored include James Gunn ’61 and Dennis Sullivan ’63.

Richards-Kortum joined Rice’s faculty in 2005. Her laboratory translates nanotechnology, molecular imaging and microfabrication research to develop optical-imaging systems for the inexpensive and portable point-of-care diagnosis of such diseases as cancer and malaria. Her research has produced 29 patents, more than 230 research papers, 11 book chapters and the textbook Biomedical Engineering for Global Health.

Richards-Kortum was elected to the National Academy of Sciences earlier this year, joining an elite group of scientists who have also been elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Optical Society of America, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Biomedical Engineering Society and the National Academy of Inventors. She also served as an inaugural member of the National Advisory Council for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering for the National Institutes of Health. Among her other previous honors are the 2013 Lemelson-MIT Award for Global Innovation, the 2014 Michael S. Feld Biophotonics Award from the Optical Society of America and the 2007 Chester F. Carlson Award from the American Society for Engineering Education.




About Mike Williams

Mike Williams is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.