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February 17, 1999

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Hopkins' Researcher Murray Sachs Receives Highest Honor From ARO

Murray B. Sachs, Ph.D., Massey Professor and director of biomedical engineering and professor of neuroscience and otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Johns Hopkins, received the 1999 Association for Research in Otolaryngology (ARO) Award of Merit. The award recognizes his groundbreaking research on the "encoding" of sounds in the inner ear and the brain -- work that has important implications in understanding not only how we hear, but also how the brain processes sensory information.

Sachs was introduced to research on the nervous system while studying electrical engineering and auditory physiology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received his academic degrees. Following his graduate studies and a short diversion from the auditory research for which he is renowned, he joined the faculty of The Johns Hopkins University in 1970, the same year the biomedical engineering department was formed.

At Hopkins, Sachs and his colleagues set out to further understand how the brain processes sounds like speech and other complex stimuli.

Their integration of basic research and clinical problems led to the establishment in 1986 of the Center for Hearing Sciences. The Research and Training Center for Hearing and Balance was set up in 1991. Under Sachs' direction, both centers promoted interaction among scientists in the departments of biomedical engineering, otolaryngology and neuroscience.

Known as an inspiring teacher, Sachs trained many scientists who are leaders in auditory research and biomedical engineering, says Eric Young, Ph.D., professor of biomedical engineering and current director of the Research and Training Center for Hearing and Balance.

The ARO, a scientific society of researchers in hearing, speech, balance, smell, taste, and diseases of the head and neck, established the Award of Merit in 1977.

Sachs also has been recognized by the Institute of Medicine, Sigma Xi and the Acoustical Society of America. (Photos available upon request.)

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