Dr. Patricia K. Kuhl is the Bezos Family Foundation Endowed Chair for Early Childhood Learning, Co-Director of the UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, Director of the NSF-funded Science of Learning Center, and Professor of Speech and Hearing Sciences. She is internationally recognized for her research on early language and brain development, and studies that show how young children learn. Dr. Kuhl’s work has played a major role in demonstrating how early exposure to language alters the brain. It has implications for critical periods in development, for bilingual education and reading readiness, for developmental disabilities involving language, and for research on computer understanding of speech.
Dr. Kuhl is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Rodin Academy, and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. She was awarded the Silver Medal of the Acoustical Society of America in 1997, and in 2005, the Kenneth Craik Research Award from Cambridge University. She received the University of Washington’s Faculty Lectureship Award in 1998, and in the 2007, Dr. Kuhl was awarded the University of Minnesota’s Outstanding Achievement Award. Dr. Kuhl is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Acoustical Society of America, the Cognitive Science Society and the American Psychological Society. In 2008 Dr. Kuhl was awarded the Gold Medal from Acoustical Society of America for her work on learning and the brain. In 2011 in Paris, she was awarded the IPSEN Fondation’s Jean-Louis Signoret Neuropsychology Prize.
Dr. Kuhl was one of six scientists invited to the White House in 1997 to make a presentation at President and Mrs. Clinton’s Conference on “Early Learning and the Brain.” In 2001, she was invited to make a presentation at President and Mrs. Bush’s White House Summit on “Early Cognitive Development: Ready to Read, Ready to Learn.” In 2000, she co-authored The Scientist in the Crib: Minds, Brains, and How Children Learn (Morrow Press).
Dr. Kuhl’s work has been widely covered by the media. She has appeared in the Discovery television series “The Baby Human”; the NOVA series “The Mind”; the “The Power of Ideas” on PBS; and “The Secret Life of the Brain,” also on PBS. She has discussed her research findings on early learning and the brain at NBC’s Education Nation, and on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, NHK, CNN, and in The New York Times, Time, and Newsweek.