NCI Scientists Awarded National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Obama

Nancy Parrish
Schiller, Lowy, President Obama, and military aide holding medal at ceremony.

John Schiller, Ph.D., left, and Douglas Lowy, M.D., stand with President Obama to receive the National Medal of Technology and Innovation award at a White House ceremony in November. Photo reproduced from

Editor’s note: This article was adapted with permission from “NCI News Note,” on the National Cancer Institute website.

Two NCI scientists received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the nation’s highest honor for technological achievement. The award was announced by President Obama in October. The honorees, John Schiller, Ph.D., Laboratory of Cellular Oncology (LCO), Center for Cancer Research, NCI, and Douglas Lowy, M.D., also from LCO and NCI deputy director, received their medals at a White House ceremony on Nov. 20.

Lowy and Schiller received the award “for developing the virus-like particles and related technologies that led to the generation of effective vaccines that specifically targeted HPV and related cancers,” according to the citation at the ceremony.

Awarded annually, the National Medal of Technology and Innovation recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering. Lowy and Schiller have been honored numerous times, including, for example, in 2011, when they received the Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal Award for their vaccine research.

As a direct result of Lowy’s and Schiller’s research, vaccines now exist that safely protect against infection from the HPV types that cause most cervical cancers in women, and anal and oral cancers in both sexes, as well as HPV types that cause genital warts in both sexes.

The National Medal of Technology and Innovation was created by statute in 1980 and is administered for the White House by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Patent and Trademark Office. The medal recognizes those who have made lasting contributions to America’s competitiveness and quality of life, and helped strengthen the nation’s technological workforce. A distinguished independent committee representing the private and public sectors submits recommendations to the President.