School of Communication professor Nina Kraus is the recipient of the Gene D. Cohen Award in Creativity and Aging from the Gerontological Society of America, sponsored by the National Center for Creative Aging.
The award is presented annually to a professional whose research in the field of creativity and aging demonstrates what wonders can be achieved with longevity—not in spite of age but because of it.
Kraus is a professor and Hugh Knowles Chair in the Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences in the School of Communication. She is also a professor of neurobiology and physiology, and otolaryngology and directs the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, where she investigates the neurobiology of underlying speech and music and learning-associated brain plasticity. This involves studies of listeners throughout the lifespan, clinical populations, and musicians.
Kraus has pioneered the use of a biological approach that reveals how auditory signals are encoded by a hub of cognitive and sensory influences. This approach reveals the fidelity of the brain’s encoding of sound and the impact of experience. She has discovered biological mechanisms of aging and how software-based training and musical experience positively impact the adult brain.
The Cohen Award recognizes and honors the work of Gene Cohen, MD, whose research in the field of creativity and aging shifted the conceptual focus from a problem paradigm to one of promise and potential.
“I am thrilled and honored to be receiving this award,” said Kraus. “Its name ‘creativity and aging’ gets at the core of what Gene Cohen was about and how I like to look at the aging process. Looking at aging as an opportunity to engage the brain in new and creative ways is a challenge that must be enthusiastically embraced. Likewise, to look at our experiences as children and young adults as a way to set ourselves up for healthy aging.”