René Gifford, Ph.D. is a Professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Director of the Cochlear Implant Research Laboratory in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences. Dr. Gifford spent 16 years serving as Director of clinical cochlear implant programs at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN (2006-2010) and Vanderbilt University Medical Center (2011-2022). Her clinical research has been funded by the NIH for over 20 years and focuses on auditory perception and spatial hearing abilities for adults and children using cochlear implants and hearing aids as well as the role of combined electric and acoustic auditory input on the development of speech, language, and literacy in children. She has over 130 peer-reviewed papers and is the author of the book entitled “Cochlear Implant Patient Assessment: Evaluation of Candidacy, Performance, and Outcomes.” Dr. Gifford was a featured scientist on the National Public Radio, Science Friday broadcast entitled Breakthrough: Portraits of Women in Science—Hearing a Whole New World. Additionally, Dr. Gifford 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.