Nelson Yuan-sheng Kiang

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Boston, MA
Neurophysiologist; Medical research institution administrator; Educator
Biological Sciences

Born in Wuxi, China, Kiang came to the United States at the age of five in 1934 when his father opened the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles. After elementary and high school in New York City and Seattle, he spent a decade at the University of Chicago where he received the first Ph.D. in biopsychology in the world. From 1955, he was at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to which he added appointments at the Harvard Medical School, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and the Massachusetts General Hospital. He was the Founding Director of the Eaton-Peabody Laboratory of Auditory Physiology and of a graduate program in speech and hearing involving his four institutions. His personal scientific work centered on how the brain processes information from the ear, which contributed to practical applications in diagnosing hearing disorders and the development of devices such as cochlear implants. Since 1996, he was interested in global health and international higher education. He worked with many universities in China and advised academics in countries, scattered throughout the world, on issues concerning research practices, ethics, international cooperation, and scientific freedom.

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