Australian bionic ear pioneer awarded science medal

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University of Melbourne Laureate Professorial Fellow and bionic ear pioneer Professor Graeme Clark has been awarded the 2006 Ian Wark Medal from the Australian Academy of Science.

Professor Clark’s lifetime work has culminated in the major discovery of multiple channel cochlear implants giving hearing to thousands of deaf people in over 120 countries.

Professor of Otolaryngology at the University of Melbourne for 34 years, Professor Clark was one of the earliest inventors, investigators and implementers of cochlear implantation and the bionic ear.

The University of Melbourne appointed Graeme Clark one of its inaugural Laureate Professors in 1999, an honour reserved for the very best and most distinguished of its academic staff.

Professor Clark is also Founder and for 20 years has been the Director of the Bionic Ear Institute. He remains a Laureate Professorial Fellow at the University.

Professor Clark has received many accolades during his career including the Prime Minister’s Science Prize in 2004, Fellowship of the Royal Society, honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the University of Melbourne’s Sir William Upjohn Medal for medical research, and honorary doctorates from universities in Australia, Taiwan and Germany.

The Australian Academy of Science

The Australian Academy of Science is an independent, non-profit organization of Australia’s leading research scientists, elected for their personal contributions to science, Fellows occupy senior positions in universities, CSIRO and industry. The Academy recognizes research excellence, advises government, organizes scientific conferences, publishes scientific books and journals, administers international exchange programs, fosters science education and promotes public awareness of science and technology.

The Ian Wark Medal and Lecture

The Ian Wark Medal and Lecture is a senior award of the Australian Academy of Science and recognises research which contributes to the prosperity of Australia where that prosperity is attained through the advance of scientific knowledge or its application, or both. The award is made every two years.

The Medal and Lecture honour the late Sir Ian Wark, CMG, CBE, FAA, FTSE, a chemist who was Chief of the CSIRO Division of Industrial Chemistry.

The awards are also fitting as Professor Clark is now involved in the application of Chemistry to Medicine. He has led the creation of the Victorian Centre for Medical Bionics which aims to use polymers for the relief of spinal cord injury, the prevention of infection with implants and the relief of drug resistant epilepsy. He also heads a research program to study the transfer of electrical energy from polymers to biological tissue as part of the University of Wollongong’s ARC centre of excellence in Electro-materials Science.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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