NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Rosenberg Receives Presidential Medal

A beaming Rosenber stands while President Biden places medal around his neck.
NCI’s Dr. Steven Rosenberg (l) receives the National Medal for Technology and Innovation.

Photo:  Jay Premack/USPTO

NCI Chief of Surgery Dr. Steven Rosenberg received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation on Oct. 24 at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House.

“For this year’s recipients, outstanding may be an understatement,” said President Joe Biden in opening remarks, welcoming the distinguished honorees receiving the nation’s highest award for science, technology and innovation.

Rosenberg was honored “for transforming the way we treat cancer and advancing our progress toward ending cancer as we know it. By leading the development of the first effective immunotherapies, he has saved countless lives and inspired a generation of scientists. His work powerfully illustrates that we can do big things as Americans.”

Biden thanked the honorees for their courage, perseverance and integrity. “They have paved the way for [future] generations of scientists and innovators to pursue their own discoveries, to unlock our nation’s full potential,” he said.

A smiling Rosenberg shakes President Biden's hand as Sargent at Arms holds up the medal, in front of U.S. flag and yellow curtain.
Rosenberg (l) shakes hands with President Joe Biden during the medal ceremony at the White House in October.

Photo:  Jay Premack/USPTO

“I’ve long said America can be defined by a single word…possibilities,” Biden said. Beyond economic and military might, “the strength of a nation is also measured by the boldness of its science, the quality of its research and the progress it helps brings forth for not only the country but for the whole world.”

Rosenberg and Biden pose together, in front of U.S. flag, yellow curtain.
Rosenberg with President Biden

Photo:  Jay Premack/USPTO

Biden referenced the Cancer Moonshot initiative he launched as vice president and reignited upon becoming president. 

“If there’s one thing I wish as president I could do, it would be ending cancer as we know it,” he said. “For those who have lost [loved ones] and for the ones we can save, I don’t just hope we can do it, I know we can do it. There’s nothing beyond our capacity if we set our minds to it and do it together.”—Dana Talesnik

For more on Rosenberg’s career, see

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