Blake Shaw Wilson
Adjunct Professor in the Department of Surgery

Prof. Wilson was initially trained as an electrical engineer but also became a leading scientist in the fields of hearing research, remediation of hearing loss, and neural prostheses in the ensuing years. He has a BSEE and a PhD from Duke University and higher doctorates in science and engineering from the University of Warwick and the University of Technology, Sydney, respectively. In addition, he is a Life Fellow of the IEEE and is the recipient of honorary doctorates in medicine from Uppsala University and the University of Salamanca. He is a Distinguished Alumnus of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke, and has led or co-led many multidisciplinary efforts during the past three decades.

Wilson is the inventor of many of the speech processing strategies used with the present-day cochlear implants, including the continuous interleaved sampling (CIS), spectral peak picking (e.g., “n-of-m”), and virtual channel strategies, among others. One of his papers, in the journal Nature, is the most highly cited publication in the field of cochlear implants. He has served as the Principal Investigator for 26 projects, including 13 projects for the USA’s National Institutes of Health. In addition, he helped to create the Duke Cochlear Implant Program in 1984 and the Duke Hearing Center in 2008.

Alone or with colleagues, Wilson has received a high number of prestigious awards, including but not limited to the 2015 Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize, “for engineering cochlear implants that enable the deaf to hear” (to Wilson and four others); the 2013 Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, “for the development of the modern cochlear implant” (to Wilson and two others); the American Otological Society President’s Citation in 1997, “for major contributions to the restoration of hearing in profoundly deaf persons” (to Wilson and three others); and the 1996 Discover Award for Technological Innovation in the category of “sound” (to Wilson). In addition, Wilson has been the Guest of Honor (GOH) at 14 international and three national conferences to date. He has given GOH, keynote, or other invited talks at more than 180 conferences, and he has given 12 named lectures, including the Neel Distinguished Research Lecture, a Hopkins Medicine Distinguished Speaker Lecture, the Duke Engineering 75th Anniversary Lecture, and one of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Flexner Discovery Lectures. 

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Contact Information

  • Department of Surgery, Box 3943, Durham, NC 27710
  • Department of Surgery, Box 3943, Durham, NC 27710

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