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Mark Wallace

Senior Investigator Scientist, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences

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Biography

Jan. '10-present Senior Investigator Scientist, MRC Institute of Hearing Research,

Nottingham. Physiological basis of neural changes producing tinnitus.

Oct. '00--Dec. '09 Investigator Scientist, MRC Institute of Hearing Research, Nottingham.

Structure and function of the auditory brain in guinea pigs and humans.

Oct. '97- Oct. '00 Research Fellow, MRC Institute of Hearing Research, Nottingham.

Connections and physiological properties of guinea pig auditory cortex.

July '90--Aug '97 Lecturer in Dept of Biomedical Sciences, University of Aberdeen.

Studying connections of the auditory cortex and the role of nitric oxide in neuropathology.

Sep. '86--Jun. '90 Assistant Researcher, Dept of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of California, Irvine.

Neurochemical pathways of the mouse brainstem and intrinsic connections of the cat auditory cortex.

Jan. '85--Aug. '86 Wellcome Trust Research Fellow, Anatomisk Institut (Neurobiology), University of Aarhus, Denmark,

Neurochemical pathways in the mouse brainstem and cerebral cortex.

Mar. '83--Dec. '84 SERC Research Fellow, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology St Andrews University.

Histochemical study of the mouse brainstem.

Sept. '79--Feb. '83 Research Scholar in Institute of Physiology, Glasgow University.

Project on histochemistry of the rodent cerebral cortex.

Expertise Summary

Teaching Experience

He was a full time lecturer in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Aberdeen for six years during which he was a course organiser for the second year histology course which had over 160 science students and the course organiser for the final year of the fourth year course in BSc (hons) anatomy. He also taught medical students in their preclinical years.

Experience of Licenced procedures in animals

He has been involved in animal experimentation since obtaining a Personal Licence in 1977.He has held a Home Office Project Licence from 1990 - 1996 and currently holds a Project Licence for guinea pig research.

Experience of working with human tissue

He is currently the person designate for human tissue management in the MRC Institute of Hearing Research which is a Satellite site for the University of Nottingham Licence issued under the Human Tissues Act.

Experience of working with controlled drugs

He is currently the named person on the local policy that allows scientists at the MRC Institute of Hearing Research to store and use controlled drugs in their research.

Teaching Summary

He was a full time lecturer in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Aberdeen for six years during

which he was a course organiser for the second year histology course which had over 160 science

students and also the course organiser for the final year of the fourth year course in BSc (hons)

anatomy. He also taught medical students in their preclinical years and neuroscience students in their

third and fourth years.

Research Summary

He is currently involved in basic research into the structure and function of a key part of the auditory brain (the inferior colliculus) which is an almost obligatory relay for auditory information… read more

Recent Publications

Current Research

He is currently involved in basic research into the structure and function of a key part of the auditory brain (the inferior colliculus) which is an almost obligatory relay for auditory information ascending from the ear to the thalamus and neocortex. The group he is in have recently identified and characterised a previously unknown type of cell in the inferior colliculus that has local axonal terminals that form basket-like endings around adjacent neurons. These apparently have the same function as the well-known inhibitory basket cells of the cortex and may have a role in binding together the activity of groups of adjacent neurons that are thought to be involved in the formation of auditory objects by the brain.

He is also involved in studying the human auditory cortex to learn more about its laminar and columnar organization and how these two aspects of cortical function differ between different cortical areas.

His main area of current research is in understanding more about the biological basis of tinnitus. Tinnitus is associated with an irritating ringing in the ears that is present even in the absence of any external source. It affects 10 - 15% of the population and is sufficiently serious in about 1% of the population that it adversely impacts on their quality of life. His current research involves both the use of a guinea pig model of tinnitus and clinical subjects some of whom have had tinnitus for many years. The group have developed a method for identifying tinnitus through examining changes in the acoustic startle shown by ear flicks in response to a brief loud click.

Future Research

His future research is mainly aimed at trying to find a pharmacological cure for tinnitus. This will involve wider collaborations with Prof. Peter MCNaughton at Imperial College London and Prof. Deb Hall at the NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Nottingham. A small proportion of fibres in the auditory nerve are unmyelinated and have a low spontaneous firing rate. They appear to function in a similar way to unmyelinated nerves in other parts of the body which have a nociceptive function involved in pain perception. By using drugs that block chronic neuropathic pain it should be possible to test the hypothesis that tinnitus can be silenced by blocking abnormally high activity in the unmyelinated fibres.

School of Medicine

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Nottingham, NG7 2UH

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