The excellence of French hearing research is now recognized by the Agir Pour l’Audition (APA) Scientific Grand Prize. For the first time, in 2016, APA’s international Scientific Committee has honored Prof. Jean-Luc Puel, director of the Institute for Neurosciences of Montpellier (Inserm U1051/University of Montpellier), for his career dedicated to understanding hearing loss, developing therapies and training new talents.
In addition, two other scientists with promising careers have been awarded the APA Early Career Scientific Prize:
- Dr. Arnaud Norena, professor at the Laboratory of Adaptive and Integrative Neuroscience (CNRS UMR 7260/Aix-Marseille University), and
- Dr. Nicolas Michalski, researcher at the Genetics and Physiology of Hearing Laboratory (Institut Pasteur/Inserm U1120/UPMC).
The 2016 APA Scientific prizes
In 2014 , Agir Pour l’Audition embarked on a long-term project: to support and encourage hearing science from basic to applied research, through the creation of:
- A Scientific Grand Prize for a senior scientist or clinician (€100,000),
- Two Early Career Scientific Prizes for two young scientists or clinicians under 45 (€40,000 each).
A demanding independent selection process to promote excellence in research
For this first year, the call for nominations invited peers to nominate French researchers or clinicians. The applications were shortlisted by an international ad-hoc committee, a demanding independent panel of experts, and evaluated by the APA Scientific Committee chaired by Prof. Karen B. Avraham (Tel Aviv University).
The award winners
Jean-Luc Puel, laureate of the Scientific Grand Prize, for 35 years of service to hearing
Jean-Luc Puel, professor of neuroscience, has been engaged in hearing research since the start of his career in 1981. He remains a pioneer of the synapse pharmacology in hte cochlea , the sensory hearing organ, and is highly invested in the development of new inner ear therapies in close cooperation with Montpellier teaching hospital. In 2001, he became involved in the training of young talents as the new director of Ecole d’Audioprothèse de Montpellier (hearing aid school), and in 2004 he created a master’s program in audiology and language disorders. During this period, he helped set up the Institute for Neurosciences of Montpellier dedicated to neurosensory defects, and in 2011 became its director, leading the deafness, tinnitus and therapies team. Since 2016, he has chaired JNA, the association that organizes France’s national hearing day.
The Scientific Grand Prize offers well-deserved recognition to this researcher, who has driven progress in hearing science and helped bring together different hearing health stakeholders.
Arnaud Norena et Nicolas Michalski, laureates of the Early Career Scientific Prize
Dr. Arnaud Norena Dr. Nicolas Michalski
Neuroscience experts Arnaud Norena and Nicolas Michalski both stand out for the quality and relevance of their work. Dr. Norena is specialized in tinnitus, developing acoustic and electric stimulation therapies for the pathology. Meanwhile, Dr. Michalski is focused on the function of the cochlea and the molecular mechanisms that transform sound vibrations into nervous signals that can be interpreted by the brain.