Dubno Wins Governor's Award for Excellence in Science

Contact: Heather Woolwine

April 11, 2018

CHARLESTON, SC – On April 11, Gov. Henry D. McMaster presented Judy R. Dubno, Ph.D., the state’s highest honor: the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Science.

Dubno is considered one of the premier scientists in the country who studies hearing loss and aging. She is a professor in the MUSC Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and serves as the director of the hearing research program.

“Dr. Dubno is a brilliant scientist and one of the most productive and collaborative individuals I have ever had the pleasure of working with," said Vice President for Research Kathleen Brady, M.D., Ph.D. "She is always generous in providing service to the academic community at MUSC through her mentoring and committee work. She is truly deserving of this honor.”

This prestigious award is presented to a scientist whose contributions to scientific discovery merit special recognition and have affected the respective discipline on a national and international basis.

The quality of Dubno’s work is demonstrated by the continuous funding she has received for more than 30 years. She's the primary investigator on a coveted National Institutes of Health Research Project Grant, which has had more than three decades of continuous support. Hers is the longest-funded grant in the United States related to age-related hearing loss.

During her tenure at MUSC, she has brought more than $70 million to the institution. In addition to providing critical insights into the subject of hearing loss in the aging, this funding also has allowed for the employment of more than 100 research students and technicians. Most of the students have launched successful research careers, having had the opportunity to work so closely with Dubno.

Dubno 's research program has been ranked near the top in the nation for NIH funding in Departments of Otolaryngology over the last decade. “Her experience and expertise have been invaluable in fostering the research careers of many faculty within our department. This has been a key component of our national ranking as #11 Best Otolaryngology Departments in the country by U.S. News & World Report,” said Paul R. Lambert, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

Widely acknowledged as an auditory scientist for her expertise in hearing loss and aging, Dubno has served as a leader in scientific societies and worked extensively in public policy related to hearing loss to improve access and affordability of hearing-loss treatments.

She was elected president of two major scientific societies, the Association for Research in Otolaryngology and the Acoustical Society of America, and is an elected member of two honorary scientific societies. She has served on two NIH scientific review panels, having chaired one, and was a member of the Advisory Council of the NIH, which is the committee that makes the final funding recommendations to the NIH.

Dubno has also served on four consensus committees of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), focusing on hearing and noise in the military, evaluating a government hearing-loss prevention research program and conducting an analysis of the long-term effects of blast exposure to service members in the Gulf War.

Most recently, Dubno served on the NASEM Committee on Accessible and Affordable Hearing Health Care for Adults, which reviewed the evidence related to the importance of hearing to individual and societal health, including such issues as social isolation, physical and mental health consequences, and economic productivity.

The committee reviewed and assessed current federal regulations, the affordability of hearing technologies and services and access to hearing health care. One of its recommendations was for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to create a new category of over-the-counter hearing aids to improve access, lower costs, and encourage innovative technologies. This recommendation directly led to the introduction of a bill in Congress that was signed into law on Aug. 18 as the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017.

Dubno was recruited from UCLA in 1991 to help establish a research program in hearing at MUSC. At that time, there was growing recognition nationally that hearing loss was a major disability for older citizens, a problem that has only worsened in the ensuing decades, as baby boomers continue to reach senior status.

Today, it is estimated that 15 percent of individuals 18 years of age or older have some trouble hearing. This number increases to 25 percent for individuals ages 65 to 74 and over 50 percent for those 75 and older, according a 2010 report published by the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. The consequences of hearing loss are significant, said Dubno. In addition to the obvious safety issues, studies demonstrate an increased incidence of isolation and depression and possibly an accelerated cognitive decline in patients with hearing impairment.

About the South Carolina Academy of Science

The South Carolina Academy of Science (SCAS) was organized in 1924, and in 1927, the Academy affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Publication of the Bulletin of the Academy began in 1935, and in 1973, the Newsletter was established as a vehicle for communication among its members. Beginning in the 1960s, industry and business joined academic institutions in support of the academy and have helped set goals to aid and improve the development of science in South Carolina.

About MUSC

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is the oldest medical school in the South, as well as the state’s only integrated, academic health sciences center with a unique charge to serve the state through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and more than 850 residents in six colleges: Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. The state’s leader in obtaining biomedical research funds, in fiscal year 2019, MUSC set a new high, bringing in more than $284 million. Find out more about our academic programs.

As the health care system of the Medical University of South Carolina, MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest quality and safest patient care while educating and training generations of outstanding health care providers and leaders to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Patient care is provided at 14 hospitals with approximately 2,500 beds and five additional hospital locations in development, more than 350 telehealth sites and connectivity to patients’ homes, and nearly 750 care locations situated in all regions of South Carolina. In 2021, for the seventh consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina. Learn more about clinical patient services.

MUSC and its affiliates have collective annual budgets of $4.4 billion. The nearly 25,000 MUSC team members include world-class faculty, physicians, specialty providers and scientists who deliver groundbreaking education, research, technology and patient care.