President appoints daughter of McCook couple to committee

Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Rebecca Richards Kortum. (Courtesy photo)

HOUSTON, Texas -- Rebecca Richards Kortum, the daughter of Larry and Linda Richards of McCook, Nebraska, has been appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the 12-member National Medal of Science committee.

Established in 1959, the National Medal of Science has been awarded to 487 scientists and engineers.

Rebecca is Rice University's Stanley C. Moore Professor of Bioengineering, an electrical and computer engineering professor and Director of "Rice 360: Institute for Global Health Technologies." She graduated from Grand Island Senior High School and went on to UNL and MIT.

According to Rice University news staff writer Mike Williams, 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.

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.

Richards-Kortum was elected to the National Academy of Sciences earlier this year. 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.

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