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NIDCD-supported Scientist Wins Award to Improve Science Education

September 20, 2002

Ronald Hoy, professor of neurobiology at Cornell University, who has identified novel ways to understand the nature and function of hearing that may be applied to the development of hearing aids, was named by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as one of 20 individuals selected for a $1 million dollar award. The scientists selected will develop new programs to "attempt to bridge the gap between the laboratory and the classroom."

Dr. Hoy’s recent work, supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) explores the sound in the environment through insect models. Individuals who use hearing aids often struggle to understand conversation competing with other sounds and noises in the environment. The biological lessons provided by Orima ochracea's , a fly with unusual abilities in hyperacute directional hearing--time-coding and localization of sound--promise to produce strategies for improved nano/micro-scale directional microphones in hearing aids. Applications of these new principles may improve the quality of life for individuals with hearing loss who depend upon hearing aids." Dr. Hoy serves on the National Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Advisory Council.

Dr. Hoy and his colleagues published work last year on this astonishing fly that should have outstanding application to improved understanding of the contribution of differing biological models to scientific knowledge.

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