Northwestern University: John A. Rogers receives State of Illinois’ highest honor

Northwestern University professor John A. Rogers is among eight recipients of the 2021 Order of Lincoln, the State of Illinois’ highest honor for professional achievement and public service.

Called “Lincoln Laureates,” members of the Order of Lincoln are distinguished Illinois residents whose work uplifts communities around the state. An acclaimed engineer, Rogers was selected for his pioneering biomedical technologies, which are poised to transform medical care.

“This year’s Order of Lincoln recipients represent the values that make Illinois great,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “Hard work, innovation and determination have long been the foundation of our communities, and the eight recipients of the Order of Lincoln have exhibited all that and more. I’m so proud to award these talented men and women with our state’s highest honor, and I commend them for their incredible contributions to Illinois — and the world.”

“I am deeply honored to receive this recognition, and to represent Northwestern University in this elite group of Illinoisans,” Rogers said. “As a Texan who has now spent most of his adult life in Illinois, I have developed a profound appreciation for the unique culture and talented people of the state, political home of one of our nation’s greatest presidents.”

Rogers is the Louis Simpson and Kimberly Querrey Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Neurological Surgery in the McCormick School of Engineering and Feinberg School of Medicine and director of the Querrey Simpson Institute for Bioelectronics.

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I am deeply honored to receive this recognition, and to represent Northwestern University in this elite group of Illinoisans.”

John Rogers
materials scientist
A prolific inventor and entrepreneur, Rogers has developed a suite of wearable electronics that bend, flex and stretch with the human body. Among those technologies is a Band-aid-sized flexible implant that provides electrical stimulation to premature babies’ nerves and then harmlessly dissolves after it is no longer needed. Another example is a thin, flexible, skin-like sticker that monitors the vital signs of babies in neonatal intensive care units. Eventually, the technology is likely to change the future medical care of tiny babies around the world. In partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rogers’ team has deployed thousands of these new devices across countries in Africa and Asia to monitor the health of newborn babies and their mothers.

Rogers has received numerous awards for his work, including a MacArthur “Genius” Grant, a Guggenheim Fellowshipand the Benjamin Franklin Medal. He also is one of very few researchers elected into all three national academies: the National Academy of Science, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Medicine.

This year’s honorees also include Dr. Joanne C. Smith, former president and CEO of the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab; former NASA astronaut Captain Scott Altman; Carol Ross Barney, founder and principal of Ross Barney Architects; decorated war hero Major General John Borling; Northwestern alumnus John “Mac” McQuown ‘57, co-founder and director of Dimensional Fund Advisors; Special Olympics medalist Tommy Shimoda; and legendary singer Mavis Staples. Dr. Smith, who passed away on Sept. 6, will be honored posthumously.

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