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Wilson set for Discovery Lecture

Mar. 6, 2014, 10:00 AM

Blake Wilson, D.Sc., a pioneer in the development of cochlear implants and co-director of the Duke Hearing Center, will deliver the next Flexner Discovery Lecture on Thursday, March 13.

Blake Wilson, D.Sc.

His lecture, “The development of the modern cochlear implant and the first substantial restoration of a human sense using a medical intervention,” begins at 4 p.m. in 208 Light Hall.

Wilson, a graduate of Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University, developed a new speech-processing strategy that translates sounds into electrical signals that the brain can interpret. It became the basis for the systems used in modern cochlear implants, which restore hearing to individuals with hearing loss and deafness. The large majority of cochlear implant users can talk on cell phones and follow conversations without visual cues.

Wilson, adjunct professor of Surgery, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering at Duke, helped establish the Duke Cochlear Implant Program in 1984. With Graeme Clark and Ingeborg Hochmair, he was awarded the 2013 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for the development of the modern cochlear implant.

The Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center and Vanderbilt Initiative for Surgery and Engineering are sponsoring Wilson’s lecture. For a complete schedule of the Flexner Discovery Lecture series and archived video of previous lectures, go to

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