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Shamma, Shihab

Shiab Shamma
2203 A.V. Williams Building

Research Interests 

Representation of the acoustic signal at various levels in mammalian auditory systems. Ranges from theoretical models of auditory processing in early and central auditory stages, to neurophysiological investigations of the auditory cortex, to psychoacoustical experiments of human perception of acoustic spectral profiles.


Shihab Shamma received his B.S. degree in 1976 from Imperial College, in London, U.K. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1977 and 1980, respectively. Dr. Shamma received his M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literature in 1980 from the same institution.

Dr. Shamma has been a member of the University of Maryland faculty since 1984 when he started as an Assistant Professor in the Electrical Engineering Department. He has been associated with the Institute for Systems Research since its inception in 1985, and received a joint appointment in 1990. He is a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America.

Honors and Awards 

Acoustical Society of America, 2004

University of Maryland awards
ISR Outstanding Systems Engineering Faculty Award, 2007

Related News 

ISR friend John Rinzel wins IBT Mathematical Neuroscience Award
Rinzel, an NYU professor, works closely with ISR's neural systems group. March 12, 2019

UMD auditory cortex research featured in Nature Neuroscience
Study reveals how the brain nimbly and rapidly change responses to incoming sensory stimuli depending upon the cognitive context of the moment. January 28, 2019

NSF funds Shamma, Espy-Wilson for neuromorphic and data-driven speech segregation research
The project will investigate how mimicking the brain's auditory processing can address AI signal processing challenges. September 25, 2018

Fermuller, Shamma, Etienne-Cummings receive NSF grant for 'Research Coordination Network'
The network will advance understanding of how biological systems learn complex symbolic signals, and create artificial systems with similar capabilities. September 4, 2018

Maryland researchers develop computational approach to understanding brain dynamics
This paper published in PNAS develops a signal processing framework for extracting dynamic functional networks from neuronal data at unprecedented resolutions. April 10, 2018

Shihab Shamma elected IEEE Fellow
Shamma was selected for his work applying signal processing to auditory neuroscience. November 21, 2017

Five ISR faculty part of $8 million NIH grant to combat hearing loss in older people
Multidisciplinary research will examine strategies to improve communication challenges. October 12, 2017

Jonathan Fritz promoted to Research Scientist
Fritz is well known for his work in neuroscience research. June 14, 2017

Fritz, Shamma are collaborators on new DARPA Targeted Neuroplasticity Training Program
The University of Maryland will receive up to $8.58 million from DARPA for the research, which is led by the UMD Center for Advanced Study of Language. May 8, 2017

Jonathan Simon is invited speaker at Paris Workshop on Decoding of Sound and Brain
Alumna Mounya Elhilali also was a presenter. November 11, 2015

Subramanian and Wheeler win 2015 ISR awards
Graduate student and staff member honored at annual ceremony. September 17, 2015

Shamma, Horiuchi co-PIs on NSF cortical architectures grant
Research will design systems that perceive and act in cluttered and noisy scenes. September 15, 2015

Shihab Shamma named to NIH advisory council
The National Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Advisory Council advises the Secretary of HHS and the directors of NIH and its NIDCD. March 5, 2015

Shamma receives NIH grant to study spectro-temporal plasticity in the brain's neuronal networks
Researchers will explore underlying mechanisms that give rise to functional plasticity in the auditory cortex. July 1, 2014

UMD neuroscience researchers publish in the journal Neuron
Paper suggests the brain’s auditory, visual and somatosensory systems may have a similar functional hierarchical structure. April 16, 2014

Yin, Fritz, Shamma publish neuroplasticity study in Journal of Neuroscience
Rapid changes in neural pathways and synapses in the brain closely reflect the time and frequency of the tasks being performed. March 28, 2014

Depireux, Elhilali co-edit auditory cortex techniques handbook
Book is the first to explain "broadband" techniques used in the study and modeling of the auditory pathway. February 6, 2014

Six ECE Graduate Students Selected as Future Faculty Fellows
Students striving toward a career in academia take part in a selective fellowship to prepare for the future. January 30, 2014

ECE Names 2012-2013 Distinguished Dissertation Fellows
Anand, Fan, Guan, and Xie recognized for outstanding research. April 4, 2013

‘Cocktail party effect’ helps us focus in noisy environments
New research published in Neuron shows cooperation among brain's neural responses. March 7, 2013

Alumna Mounya Elhilali wins ONR Young Investigators Award
Prestigious early career award will fund research in active listening. April 20, 2012

Shihab Shamma is PI on €3.3M European Research Council Advanced Grant
Project will investigate a radically novel view of 'active' hearing. March 1, 2012

ECE Names 2011-2012 Distinguished Dissertation Fellows
Ekrem, Ropp, Shroff, and Tyagi recognized for research excellence in their dissertations. February 29, 2012

ISR hosts Iraqi higher education delegation
Delegates meet with President Loh, Provost Wylie and other officials. February 20, 2012

Researchers publish human auditory system study in PLoS Biology
Article details recent progress made in understanding the brain’s computational mechanisms for decoding speech. February 2, 2012

Auditory researchers publish sensory processing research in PNAS
Study could lead to more effective approaches to behavioral training. December 23, 2011

Telluride newspaper writes about Neuromorphic Cognition Engineering Workshop
ISR faculty, staff, students key to the workshop's planning and organization. July 18, 2011

Shamma, Kanold receive DURIP funding
The DoD DURIP program supports the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment for defense research. June 9, 2011

Shamma, Baras receive MIPS grant funding
Research will improve speech separation software, develop broadband Internet-via satellite system. February 20, 2011

Shamma selected as Blaise Pascal International Research Chair
Allocation of a chair is a major event of international scientific life. December 15, 2010

Article by auditory researchers appears in Nature Neuroscience
This is the second article by the group to appear in the journal in 2010. July 14, 2010

Researchers' Study Reveals Surprises about How the Brain Processes Sound
Profs. Shamma and Kanold present findings of auditory cortex research in Nature Neuroscience. February 1, 2010

Alumna Mounya Elhilali wins NSF CAREER award
Research will develop algorithms for challenging complex sound and speech processing problems. July 21, 2009

Jonathan Simon lead author of article published in PLoS Biology
Research focuses on the cognitive process of attention in a complex auditory scene. July 14, 2009

ISR appoints three new assistant research scientists
Bandyopadhyay, Depireux, Sterbing-D’Angelo to join faculty in July. June 25, 2009

Shihab Shamma Quoted in New York Times Story about Auditory Cues
ECE/ISR auditory researcher talks about how the ear and eye interpret signals in similar ways. June 23, 2009

ISR faculty participating in two Department of Defense MURI projects
Baras, Abed, Martins and Shamma to conduct research in multi-university research initiatives. May 11, 2009

Alumnus Bill Byrne promoted to Reader at Cambridge
Former student of Shihab Shamma conducts research in speech recognition and synthesis. December 1, 2008

Shihab Shamma named to NIH study section
Professor will contribute to U.S. biomedical research efforts in auditory systems. September 11, 2008

REU students spending summer in research
The 12 undergraduate students are participating in NSF's Research Experiences for Undergraduates program. June 3, 2008

Shamma, Kanold receive DURIP award for advanced imaging technology
The researchers will purchase a a laser scanning 2-photon system. May 1, 2008

ISR postdoc and alumna Mounya Elhilali to join Johns Hopkins University
Elhilali will become assistant professor in January 2008. July 10, 2007

Speech Discrimination Based on Multiscale Spectro-Temporal Modulations (ISR IP)
This IP is available to license. June 21, 2007

ISR faculty host CRCNS Principal Investigators' Meeting
Event at University of Maryland draws 130 participants. June 7, 2007

Shihab Shamma wins outstanding faculty award
Research has uncovered computational principles underlying the processing and recognition of complex sounds in the auditory system. May 11, 2007

Shihab Shamma featured in National Public Radio interview
January 2007—ISR professor reflects on current situation in his home country Iraq for All Things Considered. January 3, 2007

Shamma, Simon, Fritz receive five-year, $1.57 million NIH grant
Research to focus on neural correlates of streaming of complex sounds June 8, 2006

Horiuchi, Shamma labs cited by IEEE Spectrum magazine
The flagship publication for electrical engineers names them on "leading labs" list May 12, 2006

Shamma receives grant from Honda for robotics work
Funding will support research on auditory scene analysis September 1, 2005

2005 ISR Awards honor Adomaitis, Nesgarani, Briggs
Outstanding faculty, grad student and staff member selected May 2, 2005

Shamma named ASA fellow
Acoustical Society of America recognizes professor for auditory system contributions January 17, 2005

Professor Shamma interviewed by news media after voting in Iraq election
January 2005—Reporters spoke to the ISR professor as he left the New Carrolton, Md. polling place. January 11, 2005

Moss is PI for "Innovative Technologies Inspired by Biosonar"
Research will study transformation of sensory information to motor commands for adaptive behaviors. September 8, 2004

Kalluri to join Starkey Research Labs
ISR postdoctoral researcher will be a research scientist in Berkeley Calif. beginning in September 2004. September 5, 2004

Undergrad Jennifer Roberts wins two prestigious awards
April 2004—Graduating senior wins both NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Award and Hertz Foundation award for upcoming graduate study. April 6, 2004

Shamma, Fritz receive $1.25 million NIH grant
Research to focus on "Spectro-Temporal Plasticity in Primary Auditory Cortex" March 6, 2004

Moss, Horiuchi lead Neuroscience Symposium
Symposium part of Bioscience Research and Technology Review Day. November 8, 2003

Nikolaos Kanlis joins Texas A&M faculty
June 2002—Former student of Shihab Shamma will be assistant professor. June 15, 2002

Shamma, Horiuchi, Baras, Krishnaprasad, Moss awarded acoustic sensors contract
Team will develop intelligent and noise-robust interfaces for MEMS acoustic sensors for DARPA April 10, 2000