Studying for a PhD/MDRes at the UCL Ear Institute
What we offer: Centre of research excellence
The Ear Institute contains arguably the greatest breadth of auditory scientists housed in a single institution in the world. This multi-disciplinary environment provides a unique chance to undertake research and receive world class training in state-of-the-art techniques. Interacting with different specialities is encouraged, providing greater opportunities for career development.
The UCL Ear Institute opened in 2005, as a result of a major Wellcome Trust grant to fund the building and equipping of the Centre for Auditory Research (CAR) which is situated on Gray's Inn Road next door to the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital (RNTNEH). A critical feature of the Institute’s design is its emphasis on interaction between the different research groups that occupy the CAR building and clinicians from the adjoining RNTNEH. This interactive approach allows for a modern, multi-disciplinary research programme. Our research covers virtually all aspects of modern auditory research; projects extend from basic investigations in biophysics, cell biology and genetics, through to electrophysiology and computational neuroscience and cochlear implantation surgery and outcomes.
Most of our laboratories are housed in the CAR building, although some
laboratory facilities are based in the RNTNEH. Reflecting the historical links with the RNTNEH, recent appointments
to the Ear Institute include new Professorial Chairs in Audiovestibular
Medicine, Neuro-ontology and Laryngology, complementing an existing Chair in
Rhinology. Links with the RNTNEH are such that patient access and
recruitment is allied to research projects and facilitated by
clinician-academics. What makes the Ear Institute exceptional is the interaction between
these laboratories and scientists to create research that is both novel and
The Ear Institute contains a range of state-of-the-art facilities for high-quality research, the range and scope of which provides for considerable development in research capacity in future years. Facilities include:-
- a dedicated molecular and cell biology laboratory equipped for a range of techniques including genotyping and real time PCR for gene expression analysis
- a tissue culture suite incorporating 6 independent rooms and a ‘category 3’ facility for viral transfection
- imaging equipment, including scanning and transmission electron microscopes and multi-photon and confocal imaging facilities for in vitro imaging in peripheral and central auditory structures
- dedicated high-speed computing facilities specialised for imaging analysis and processing
- specialist equipment for testing human auditory function including audiometric testing, otoacoustic emissions, psychophysics and facilities for examining auditory brain function by means of electro-encephalography (EEG)
- an extensive range of modern equipment and laboratories for digital signal generation and sound testing
- a suite of five sound-proof chambers for human and animal studies, and an anechoic chamber
- a range of electrophysiological recording rigs for in vivo and in vitro experimentation, including one of three small-animal MEG imaging facilities in the world.
Below is a brief overview of the supervision interests of individual members of staff. More detailed information is available on their staff pages, which can be found in our Research section.
Prospective students should ensure that their research proposal fits
with the research interests of at least two members of staff listed
Area of research
|Prof Joerg Albert||
Mechanosensory biology (using insect models) with particular focus on:
(i) The molecular basis of mechanotransduction, (ii) (Mechano)sensory
entrainment of the circadian clock and (iii) acoustic communication and
its contribution to reproductive isolation in fruit flies.
|Dr Ghada Al-Malky||
Clinical research in relation to ototoxicity and balance disorders in adults and children.
|Dr Doris Bamiou||
Interested in interventions for APD in normal and neurological
populations across the age span, the prevalence of hearing loss and
auditory processing deficits in patients with stroke, and the
association of vestibular/balance disorders with psychiatric/cognitive
disorders, with a special interest in balance in the elderly.
|Prof Martin Birchall||
Regenerative Medicine; development of stem-cell based,
tissue-engineered organ replacements, in particular airway replacements
and laryngeal transplantation.
|Dr Jennifer Bizley||
Neural basis of auditory and auditory-visual perception using electrophysiological, behavioural and computational methods.
|Dr Maria Chait||
Psychophysics and functional brain imaging (MEG, EEG, fMRI) of
auditory function; Auditory scene analysis; Attention; statistical
|Dr Nicolas Daudet||
Mechanisms of inner ear development and regeneration; Notch signalling
and the patterning of inner ear epithelia; Formation and maintenance of
|Dr Sally Dawson||
Molecular genetics of hearing disorders including age related hearing
loss and otosclerosis; regulation of gene expression in sensory hair
cells; cochlear stress mechanisms and the stress granule pathway.
Dr Alain de Cheveigne
Psychoacoustics, human electrophysiology (EEG, MEG, ABR), models of
auditory processing for speech, pitch and scene analysis, audio signal
processing, multichannel analysis for electrophysiology and brain
imaging, indexing and mining of large databases of audio and
|Dr Jonathan Gale||
Understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of damage, repair
and regeneration in the inner ear; cochlear stress mechanisms and the
stress granule pathway; stem-cell based approaches to inner ear
|Dr Dan Jagger||
physiology of primary auditory neurons; ion channels; role of connexins
in hearing and deafness; role of cilia in cochlear development.
|Dr Nick Lesica||
coding of speech in the inferior colliculus and auditory cortex;
modulation of auditory activity by brain state; processing of interaural
|Dr Jennifer Linden||
and thalamic mechanisms of hearing; central auditory dysfunction in
neurodevelopmental disorders, schizophrenia and tinnitus.
|Prof Valerie Lund||Professor of Rhinology and Honorary Consultant ENT Surgeon, with a particular interest in sinonasal tumour, sinonasal neoplasia, rhinosinusistis and nasal polyposi and hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasi.|
|Dr Torsten Marquardt||
mechanics including otoacoustic emissions; low frequency sound
perception; psychoacoustics, physiology and models of binaural and
|Prof Shak Saeed||
of Otology and Neuro-Otology (Honorary Consultant). His research
focusses on deafness genetics, facial palsy and implantation otology and
a clinical interest in auditory nerve aplasia/hypoplasia; Cochlear
implant outcomes in CMV deafened children; Outcomes in dual-array
cochlear implantation; Auditory brainstem implant outcomes; Utility of
botulinum toxin in facial palsy.
|Dr Roland Schaette||
focusses on the mechanisms of tinnitus development and the relation to
cochlear damage, particularly hidden hearing loss.
|Prof Anne Schilder||
to developing the best research to test and evaluate new and current
treatments in ENT, Hearing and Balance; clinical research methodology,
eHealth records research, Patient & Public Involvement in research,
research priority setting, systematic review, NIHR CRN research support.