Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology

Auditory Laboratory

Further Information

Current Academic Staff

Honorary Research Staff

Current PhD Students

PhD Graduates

Past and Current National and International Collaborators

  • Prof Richard Salvi
  • Prof Alan Harvey
  • Dr Jenny Rodger
  • Prof Geoffrey Manley
  • Dr Christine Koppl
  • Professor Dexter Irvine
  • Dr Si Yi Zhang,
  • Dr Takayuki Sueta
  • Dr Ian Winter
  • Dr Tony Paolini
  • Dr Gary Housley
  • Dr. Jerome Ruel
  • Dr Takafumi Yamano
  • Dr David Ryugo
  • Professor Geoffrey Hammond
  • Professor Marcus Atlas
  • Dr Peter Friedland
  • Dr Kumar Seluakumaran


The Auditory Laboratory specialises in original research into the physiology of hearing, including deafness, tinnitus and forms of auditory plasticity. It is one of Australia's leading research institutions in auditory physiology, and has established a worldwide reputation for excellence in teaching and research. Housed in the School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology at the University of Western Australia, the Auditory Laboratory derives its funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council, Action on Hearing Loss (formerly Royal National Institute for Deaf People), The Ear Science Institute Australia and from the Western Australian government and The University of western Australia.


The Auditory Laboratory was established by Professor Brian Johnstone, who was appointed lecturer in the Department of Physiology in 1962. Professor Johnstone's background was in physics and pharmacology, and he used his unique skill to start a tradition that has been passed on to generations of students.

Among his achievements have been the first direct measurements of basilar membrane motion in the living cochlea using the Mössbauer effect, and measuring the electrical properties of the cochlea using multi-electrode techniques.

The laboratory also hosts the master of clinical audiology courses Master of Clinical Audiology and Master of Clinical Audiology and Doctor of Philosophy under the direction of Helmy Mulders and Helen Goulios.

Areas of expertise

The Auditory Laboratory of the University of Western Australia specialises in the following areas.

Cochlear physiology

  • Electrophysiology
  • Basilar membrane mechanics
  • Ototoxicity studies

In vitro preparations

  • Brain slice sharp electrode and patch clamp
  • Cochlear slice-sharp electrode and patch clamp
  • Infrared and DIC fixed stage microscope.

Neuronal electrophysiology in vivo

  • Single auditory nerve fibre and spiral ganglion
  • Single unit cochlear nucleus, inferior colliculus and cortex (intra and extracellular recordings).

Otoacoustic emissions

  • Transient and distortion product emissions
  • Electrically evoked emissions.


  • Immunolabeling of cochlea and brainstem
  • Retrograde and anterograde labelling
  • Transmitter immunocytochemistry
  • Conventional and confocal microscopy.

Molecular Biology

  • qRT-PCR (guinea pig)

Behavioural testing

  • Tinnitus testing in experimental animals (under development in collaboration with Professor Richard Salvi and Dr Daniel Stolzberg University of Buffalo).

Student Research

In addition to the research activities of our current PhD students (see above right) a selection of possible topics reflecting the interests of our researchers can be viewed via the School's student research projects page.