Keck School of Medicine to host lectures by winners of the 2013 Lasker Awards April 10

From left - Graeme M. Clark, Ingeborg Hochmair and Blake S. Wilson

The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation and the Keck School of Medicine will present the second of two 2014 Lasker Lectures on Thursday, April 10, 2014, featuring recipients of the 2013 Lasker Awards.

Graeme M. Clark, Professor Emeritus at the University of Melbourne, Australia, Ingeborg Hochmair, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of the cochlear implant company MED-EL, and Blake S. Wilson, D.Sc., co-director of the Duke Hearing Center at Duke University, who shared the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for developing the modern cochlear implant, a device that allows the profoundly deaf to hear, will speak at 4 p.m in Mayer Auditorium on the USC Health Sciences Campus in Los Angeles.

Dr. Clark will address how to help deaf people understand speech with the multi-channel cochlear implant.  Dr. Hochmair will discuss the history of the modern cochlear implant, including its global use and current challenges.  Dr. Wilson will speak about the movement toward better representations of sound with cochlear implants.

The cochlear implant apparatus has for the first time substantially restored a human sense with a medical intervention. In the late 1970s, Hochmair and Clark created prostheses that deployed multiple electrodes and routed particular sounds to different parts of the cochlea. These devices improved the ability of deaf people to comprehend speech. Two decades later Wilson designed a speech-processing strategy that minimized distortions and omissions, enabling implant recipients to understand words and sentences without visual cues.

The annual Lasker Lectures feature presentations by Laureates who explore pressing scientific questions related to biomedical research. The Keck School's role is unique, in that this is the first time in the 68-year history of the foundation that a major academic medical center has hosted lectures delivered by all of the year’s winners of both the basic and clinical medical research awards.

“We’re thrilled the Keck School of Medicine of USC has agreed to host the 2014 Lasker Lectures,” said Claire Pomeroy, president of the Lasker Foundation. “The Keck School is a leader among academic medical centers, and we could not have asked for a better partner to showcase our Laureates.”

“The Lasker Awards celebrate the world’s finest scientists and clinicians whose work has led to the understanding, diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and cure of many diseases,” said Carmen A. Puliafito, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the Keck School. “We are deeply honored to host the Lasker Lectures, and we extend a warm welcome to this remarkable and distinguished group of individuals and laud them for their contributions to biomedical research.”

The Lasker Awards – among the most respected and coveted science prizes in the world – are given for outstanding basic and clinical medical research discoveries, for lifetime contributions to medical science and for outstanding public service. The awards, which carry an honorarium of $250,000 in each category, were presented on Sept. 20, 2013, in New York City.

View a photo gallery from the March Lasker Lectures here


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