A. James Hudspeth, F.M. Kirby Professor and head of the Laboratory of Sensory Neuroscience, has been elected to the American Philosophical Society in the biological sciences, the society has announced.
The American Philosophical Society is an honorary society that elects new members each year who have shown extraordinary accomplishments in their fields. Founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1743, it is the United States’ first learned society, and unique among its peers for the wide variety of academic disciplines represented by its membership: math and physics, biology, humanities, social sciences and the arts, professions and leaders in public and private affairs. Its mission is to promote useful knowledge in the sciences and humanities through excellence in scholarly research, professional meetings, publications, library resources and community outreach.
Hudspeth, who is also an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has worked toward a deepened understanding of the receptor cells of the inner ear, and how they contribute to hearing and hearing loss. The goal of his research is to identify the causes of and potential remedies for certain forms of human hearing impairment, an affliction that affects 10 percent of the American population.
Work in his lab is currently exploring how mechanical signals representing sound are amplified by the cochlea. His group is also studying how hair cells, which translate the mechanical signal into an electrical one for transmission to the brain, develop – work conducted using similar hair cells from the lateral line of larval zebra fish.
Hudspeth received his bachelor’s degree, M.D., and Ph.D. from Harvard University. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, he accepted a faculty position at the California Institute of Technology. He relocated to the University of California, San Francisco, then to The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, where he founded the school’s neuroscience program. Hudspeth came to Rockefeller in 1995. He is director of the F. M. Kirby Center for Sensory Neuroscience.
He is the recipient of the Charles A. Dana Award for Pioneering Achievements in Health, the W. Alden Spencer Award from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Ralph W. Gerard Prize from the Society for Neuroscience, the K. S. Cole Award in membrane biophysics from the Biophysical Society, the Award of Merit from the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, and the Guyot Prize from the University of Groningen. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.