Shihab Shamma elected IEEE Fellow

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Professor Shihab Shamma (ECE/ISR) has been elected a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, effective Jan. 1, 2018. His citation reads, "For applications of signal processing to auditory neuroscience."

Shamma's research interests are in the acoustic signal at various levels in mammalian auditory systems. His work ranges from theoretical models of auditory processing in early and central auditory stages, to neurophysiological investigations of the auditory cortex, to psychoacoustical experiments of human perception of acoustic spectral profiles.

He, along with 10 other University of Maryland colleagues are part of a new $8.5 million grant from the National Institute on Aging, one of the National Institutes of Health to develop an innovative approach for addressing hearing loss and communication challenges that affect millions of older people.

The goal of this project is to improve speech understanding in challenging conditions for older listeners, focusing on the use of training programs rather than devices like hearing aids or cochlear implants. These training programs are designed to target the parts of the brain, both auditory and cognitive neural systems, that are critical for successful speech understanding in challenging conditions but that degrade with age.

Also in 2017, he and his colleagues received an $8.5 million Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Targeted Neuroplasticity Training (TNT) program to study the effect of peripheral nerve stimulation on second language acquisition and brain plasticity. This project seeks to examine whether stimulating the vagal nerve improves adults’ brain plasticity to help them learn a second language. The stimulation is delivered via an earbud that transmits a safe, low-voltage electrical signal to a peripheral branch of the vagal nerve.

Published November 21, 2017