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Contact Details

+64 3 471 6077
Research Associate Professor
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Research summary
Auditory system, tinnitus, tinnitus treatment, vestibular system, hippocampus, spatial learning / memory, neuroplasticity, neurotransmitters


My research concerns two main areas. One is to investigate the CNS mechanisms underlying the generation and perception of tinnitus, also known as ringing in the ears, and to develop effective treatment for tinnitus. The other is to investigate how the vestibular system, the balance organ in the inner ear, contributes to the integration of the sensory information by the hippocampus, a part of the brain known to be important in learning and memory.

My research involves the use of a range of pharmacological, neurochemical, electrophysiological and behavioural techniques and is currently funded by the New Zealand Health Research Council, the New Zealand Neurological Foundation, Jean Cathie Bequest, Brain Research New Zealand and the Eisdell Moore Centre for Research on Hearing and Balance Disorders.


He, J., Zhu, Y., Aa, J., Smith, P. F., De Ridder, D., Wang, G., & Zheng, Y. (2017). Brain metabolic changes in rats following acoustic trauma. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 11, 148. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2017.00148 Journal - Research Article

Zheng, Y., Gliddon, C. M., Aitken, P., Stiles, L., Machado, M.-L., Philoxene, B., … Smith, P. F., & Besnard, S. (2017). Effects of acute altered gravity during parabolic flight and/or vestibular loss on cell proliferation in the rat dentate gyrus. Neuroscience Letters, 654, 120-124. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2017.06.033 Journal - Research Article

Aitken, P., Zheng, Y., & Smith, P. F. (2018). The modulation of hippocampal theta rhythm by the vestibular system. Journal of Neurophysiology, 119(2), 548-562. doi: 10.1152/jn.00548.2017 Journal - Research Article

Balabhadrapatruni, S., Zheng, Y., Napper, R., & Smith, P. F. (2016). Basal dendritic length is reduced in the rat hippocampus following bilateral vestibular deafferentation. Neurobiology of Learning & Memory, 131, 56-60. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2016.03.009 Journal - Research Article

Smith, P. F., & Zheng, Y. (2016). Cannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors and tinnitus. Hearing Research, 332, 210-216. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2015.09.014 Journal - Research Article

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