UCL Division of Biosciences

Prof Jonathan Ashmore

Prof Jonathan Ashmore

Bernard Katz Professor of Biophysics

Neuro, Physiology & Pharmacology

Div of Biosciences

Joined UCL
1st Aug 1996

Research summary

My work addresses a variety of cellular mechanisms of hearing. Using a variety of biophysical techniques I work on the mechanisms of electromotility in cochlear outer hair cells. Using confocal imaging I have been working on the mechanisms of synaptic release at the ribbon synapse of the inner hair cells, combining electrophysiology and multiphoton imaging. Using large scale computational models I work on the patterning of electrical current flow in the cochlea during stimulation by sound.  I have an  interest in potassium channel function in early auditory processing and the nature and origin of tinnitus and have published in the area. 

A further recent research activity is an investigation of the signalling mechanisms in cancer with a collaboration with groups outside UCL. The research links in to  a long standing interest in calcium mechanisms and  cellular imaging

Teaching summary

I have lectured at undergraduate and graduate levels most of my academic career on wide range of physiological topics, not just on sensory neuroscience. 

I am currently co-organiser of a 3rd year module, the Cellular Basis of Brain Function, but also lecture on MSc Neuroscience, on the Principles of Biology and to Audiology Students.

I have lectured internationally, in France, in Italy and most recently in India (2019) and in Iran (2019). I have been a Faculty member of the biannual Woods Hole MBL course, The Biology of the Inner Ear (2007-present).


University College London
Other higher degree, Master of Science | 1974
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1971
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Diploma of the Imperial College | 1969
University of Sussex
First Degree, Bachelor of Science | 1968


Originally trained as theoretical physicist (PhD supervisor Tom Kibble), I became a laboratory scientist after a short postdoctoral fellowship with Abdus Salam at ICTP Trieste. I have worked on synaptic mechanisms in the retina in the Dept of Biophysics, UCL and at UCSF, but I have been researching hearing mechanisms since 1980, first at the University of Sussex and then at  Bristol University, where I was promeoted to professor  in 1993. I moved to UCL in 1996.
I  was a founder member of CoMPLEX  (UCL's Centre for Mathematics and Physics in the Life and Experimental Sciences). I was also a founder member of the UCL Ear Institute (in 2001).
I have been President of the Physiological Society (2012-2014) and I am currently Director of the London Interdiscplinary Doctoral Programme (LIDo-DTP).