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Personal profile

Research interests

I am a neuroscientist who studies the molecular biology, cellular biology and biophysics of the normal function and dysfunction of the cochlea in relation to its role in hearing and deafness. I have studied cochlear mechanisms involved in echolocation by bats. I also investigate acoustic behaviour and the physiology of the auditory system by mosquitoes.

Scholarly biography

I was in the first cohort of 11+ entry to Chatham Technical School where I became interested in physics and engineering and took Zoology at Chatham Technical College. I went on to study marine biology and physics at Queen Mary College, University of London under the inspirational tutelage of Professors Eric Smith and Gordon Newell. A Commonwealth Studentship in 1964 to study the significance for fishes of underwater noise under the supportive guidance of David Randall at the University of British Columbia began an endless cycle of grant applications that has kept me in continuous research funding to date. On the basis of presenting a paper on the lateral line system at a meeting in New York I was invited by Hans Lissman, the discoverer of electroreception and electro-communication by fishes, to complete my PhD in Cambridge with a research studentship at Trinity Hall. My research was on a multidisciplinary approach to the efferent control of the lateral line system, which enabled me to consult with experts in widely different research fields all of which would now be classified as Neuroscience and who met at the Saturday Club (the foundation of Neuroscience at Cambridge) in an attic above my lab in Zoology. Following completion of my PhD, I won research fellowships at Magdalene and with the SRC (BBSRC) but spent most of my time at the Plymouth Marine lab working together with Barry Roberts on the lateral lines of dogfish and their functional significance during swimming. We were supported by the stimulating discussion, insight and encouragement of the director Eric Denton and Sir John Gray. During this period, I won a Royal Society Research Fellowship to work with Åke Flock on the cellular basis of sensory transduction in lateral line hair cells and its efferent control. The year in Stockholm was an intense and incredibly rewarding period. Åke was a brilliant, imaginative, innovative and very kind person who made the experience productive and enjoyable. Immediately at the end of the year (1970), I took up a lectureship in Neurobiology at the University of Sussex. Possibly the first ever appointment of its kind. The exciting challenge was to be part of the team of biologists and experimental psychologist led by Richard Andrew who designed and initiated the first undergraduate Neurobiology major. Later, I assembled majors in Cognitive Neuroscience, Medical Neuroscience and contributed to Psychology with Neuroscience. Through collaboration with my friend and colleague, Peter Sellick, we defied reason and the BBSRC and made intracellular recordings from sensory cells in the mammalian cochlea. So began research with stimulating and productive colleagues and research students and funded initially from unclaimed prize money from the Reader’s Digest, initiated by the divine intervention of Colin Blakemore, and then largely through programme grants from the MRC and Wellcome Trust which continues at Brighton under the direction of Andrei Lukashkin. Andrei has been pivotal to the research since he joined the lab in 1995 as a remarkable research student who won a Wellcome Prize Studentship in Mathematical Biology to support his DPhil. We continue another line of research on audition and auditory behaviour of mosquitoes begun by chance following a fairly coherent conversation in a pub in Lewes with Gay Gibson, which is overseen by Patricio Simoes who has taken the research in new and exciting directions.

Education/Academic qualification

Royal Society of Biology

1 Sep 2011 → …

The Association for Research in Otolaryngology

14 Feb 2010 → …

Royal Society

1 May 1979 → …

University of Sussex

1 Jan 197130 Sep 2011

University of Cambridge

1 Sep 196931 Dec 1970

PhD, University of Cambridge

30 Sep 196631 Aug 1969

Master, University of British Columbia

1 Sep 196431 Aug 2031

Bachelor, Queen Mary University of London

1 Sep 196130 Jun 1964


  • QP Physiology
  • Neuroscience
  • Hearing
  • Cochlea
  • Mosquito
  • Echolocation
  • Deafness
  • Auditory behaviour
  • QL Zoology
  • Marine Biology
  • Hearing by fish and amphibia
  • Lateral line system

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Ian Russell is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 2 Similar Profiles
Cochlea Medicine & Life Sciences
Outer Auditory Hair Cells Medicine & Life Sciences
Basilar Membrane Medicine & Life Sciences
Tectorial Membrane Medicine & Life Sciences
cochlea Physics & Astronomy
membranes Physics & Astronomy
hair Physics & Astronomy
Echolocation Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2015 2020

Research Output 1998 2019

  • 26 Article
  • 8 Conference contribution with ISSN or ISBN

Drug diffusion along an intact mammalian cochlea

Sadreev, I. I., Burwood, G. W. S., Flaherty, S. M., Kim, J., Russell, I. J., Abdullin, T. I. & Lukashkin, A. N., 26 Apr 2019, In : Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience. 13, 161.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
Pharmaceutical Preparations

Masking of an auditory behaviour reveals how male mosquitoes use distortion to detect females

Simoes, P., Ingham, R., Gibson, G. & Russell, I., 24 Jan 2018, In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 285, 1871

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access

Roles for gap-junctions in cochlear amplification and micromechanics exposed by a conexin 30 mutation

Lukashkina, V. A., Levic, S., Strenzke, N., Lukashkin, A. N. & Russell, I. J., 31 May 2018, To the Ear and Back Again - Advances in Auditory Biophysics: Proceedings of the 13th Mechanics of Hearing Workshop. American Institute of Physics Inc., Vol. 1965. 100001. (AIP Conference Proceedings; vol. 1965, no. 1).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNResearchpeer-review

Open Access

The Mammalian Ear: Physics and the Principles of Evolution

Manley, G., Lukashkin, A., Simoes, P., Burwood, G. & Russell, I., 1 Mar 2018, In : Acoustics Today. 14, 1, p. 8-16 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Natural Selection
Physical Laws

Transgenic Tmc2 expression preserves inner ear hair cells and vestibular function in mice lacking Tmc1

Asai, Y., Pan, B., Nist-Lund, C., Galvin, A., Lukashkin, A. N., Lukashkina, V. A., Chen, T., Zhou, W., Zhu, H., Russell, I. J., Holt, J. R. & Géléoc, G. S. G., 14 Aug 2018, In : Scientific Reports. 8, 1, 12124.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
Inner Auditory Hair Cells
Inner Ear
Vestibular Hair Cells
Auditory Hair Cells