Texas A&M’s chief executive officer over the Engineering Health program and executive dean for Engineering Medicine will receive the prestigious lifetime achievement award from the National Science Board.
The organization announced that Dr. Roderic Pettigrew will be presented with the Vannevar Bush Award, one of the nation’s highest science awards. It honors lifelong science and technology leaders who have made exceptional contributions to the welfare of the nation through public service in science and technology and in shaping public policy.
“Roderic Pettigrew’s passion and creativity have spurred innovation in biomedicine,” said Victor McCrary, vice chair of the National Science Board and chair of the 2020 NSB Honorary Awards Subcommittee. “His reimagining of healthcare solutions is helping converge science fields, narrowing gaps between disciplines in a way that really impacts society. Pettigrew is helping us to see what might be, what could be, and what is possible.”
Pettigrew’s contributions are wide-ranging, including his pioneering work with others to develop some of the early foundational techniques for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the cardiovascular system and his service as the founding director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) at the National Institutes of Health.
“It is an incredible honor to receive the Vannevar Bush Award, which is so steeped in science history,” Pettigrew said. “My only regret is that my parents are not alive to share this honor. They were my first role models.”
Texas A&M President Michael K. Young’s pride in Pettigrew is shown in a letter he sent to campus.
“All of us at Texas A&M have long been impressed not only by Dr. Pettigrew’s extraordinary breadth and depth of personal knowledge, but also his understanding that the greatest breakthroughs come from building bridges across many different disciplines,” Young wrote in the letter. “Through his exceptional leadership of our EnMed program and his work to shape public policy, his visionary ideas and his collaborative efforts have helped him have a profound influence on numerous innovations that have solved pressing problems and saved lives.”
The NSB created the award in 1980 in memory of Vannevar Bush, who served as a science advisor to President Franklin Roosevelt during World War II, helped to establish federal funding for science and engineering as a national priority during peacetime and was behind the creation of the National Science Foundation. Past award recipients include: Leon Lederman (Fermilab), Nobel Laureate Harold Varmus (former NIH Director), Nobel Laureate Charles Townes (UC Berkeley -Laser Inventor), David Packard (Hewlett-Packard Company), Rita Colwell (former NSF Director), Charles Vest (former MIT President), and last year, Walter Massey (University of Chicago – oversaw Giant Magellan Telescope).