Kyriacos A. Athanasiou, UCI Distinguished Professor of biomedical engineering, traveled to Nicosia, the capital city of the Republic of Cyprus with his wife, Kiley, to receive the 2023 Medal of Excellence from the Cyprus Academy of Science, Letters and Arts on December 12.

Kyriacos A. Athanasiou, Distinguished Professor of biomedical engineering in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UC Irvine, received the Medal of Excellence from the Cyprus Academy of Sciences, Letters and Arts in a ceremony on Dec 12. Athanasiou, a native of the island nation, was the sole recipient of the award for 2023. The medal was presented to Athanasiou by President of the Republic of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides. During the presentation ceremony, Leontios Kostrikis, president of the academy’s evaluation committee, referred to Athanasiou as a “distinguished figure in the field of biomedicine and engineering” who is responsible for “pioneering methods of tissue regeneration” and a leader if the field of biomaterials. “His dedication to scientific excellence is enduring,” Kostrikis said.

“I am incredibly honored and privileged to have been selected by the Cyprus Academy of Sciences, Letters and Arts to be the recipient of the Medal of Excellence of Cyprus this year,” said Athanasiou. “Receiving the award from President Christodoulides filled me not only with joy but also deep humility because it reminded of how my late father would refer to me through the years as the ‘housepainter’s son.’” Athanasiou said that despite his blue-collar background and low level of education possessed by his parents, he was given many opportunities to achieve his goals throughout his life. “Coming to the United States, my adopted homeland, allowed me to not only attend university but to excel in my field,” he said. “I make the connection that the Cyprus Medal of Excellence is intrinsically connected to my experience in this great nation, up to and including my time here at UC Irvine.”