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NIDCD-Supported Scientists Honored by Lasker~Debakey Award in Clinical Medical Research for Development of the Cochlear Implant

September 12, 2013

Albert and Marly Lasker Foundation Logo

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), part of the National Institutes of Health, is pleased to announce that the 2013 Lasker~DeBakey Award in Clinical Medical ResearchThis link will open a non-federal website in a new window. will be given to two NIDCD grantees for their contributions to the development of the modern cochlear implant, which is a small electronic device that provides a sense of sound to people who are profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing. 

The funded scientists are:

  • Graeme M. Clark, University of Melbourne, who was funded during the years when the NIDCD and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) were combined.
  • Blake S. Wilson, Duke University, whose funding was from the NIDCD.

Ingeborg Hochmair, MED-EL, was also included in the joint award. Since the first Lasker Award was presented in 1946, 83 recipients have gone on to receive Nobel Prizes for their scientific accomplishments.

In the award announcement, the Lasker Foundation lauds the efforts of these outstanding scientists who “created an apparatus that has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Their work has, for the first time, substantially restored a human sense with a medical intervention.”

“Throughout our 25-year history, the NIDCD has supported research to understand the basic underpinnings of how we hear, as well as technological advances to bring devices to those who can benefit from them the most,” said James F. Battey, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., director of the NIDCD. “The cochlear implant is one of the most groundbreaking biomedical achievements of the past 30 years. We are honored to have supported these remarkable scientists, and we applaud them for their perseverance and innovation.”

The NIDCD continues to support a wide range of research related to cochlear implants, including studies aimed at refining the ability to hear speech in noisy backgrounds.

Information on the NIDCD’s important role in cochlear implant research is available as part of the Institute’s 2012-2016 Strategic Plan. General information about cochlear implants is also available on the NIDCD website.

Visit the Lasker Foundation’s websiteThis link will open a non-federal website in a new window. for additional information about this year’s award winners.

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The NIDCD supports and conducts research and research training on the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, and language and provides health information, based upon scientific discovery, to the public. For more information about NIDCD programs, see our website.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. Visit the NIH website for more information about NIH and its programs.

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