René H. Gifford, Ph.D.
René H. Gifford, Ph.D, CCC-A, is a Professor in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences with a joint appointment in the Department of Otolaryngology. She is currently the Director of the Cochlear Implant Research Laboratory, Director of the Cochlear Implant Program in the Division of Audiology, and Director of research for the National Center for Childhood Deafness and Family Communication (NCCDFC) at the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center. Her current research interests include combined electric and acoustic stimulation (EAS) with cochlear implantation, hearing preservation with cochlear implantation, preoperative prediction of postoperative outcomes with implants, speech perception for adults and children with cochlear implants, and spatial hearing abilities of individuals with unilateral and bilateral cochlear implants. Dr. Gifford currently is the principal investigator (PI) on two NIH R01 grants centered on cochlear implants. One of the R01 grants investigates underlying mechanisms and development of binaural processing in adults and children with acoustic hearing preservation in the implanted ear(s). The other R01 grant is investigating auditory, speech, language, and literacy development in children with cochlear implants following a personalized, image-guided approach to cochlear implant programming. Dr. Gifford’s research has been NIH funded for nearly 20 years, she has published over 120 peer-reviewed articles, multiple book chapters, and she authored a book, now in its second edition, entitled “Cochlear Implant Patient Assessment: Evaluation of Candidacy, Performance, and Outcomes.” She was a featured scientist on the National Public Radio, Science Friday broadcast entitled Breakthrough: Portraits of Women in Science—Hearing a Whole New World. She was awarded the 2015 Louis M. DiCarlo Award for Recent Clinical Achievement from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the 2017 Vanderbilt University Chancellor's Award for Research, as well as the 2021 Jerger Career Award for Research in Audiology from the American Academy of Audiology.