I am interested in biophysics and physiology of the vertebrate inner ear , especially the cochlea. My research has focussed on the electrophysiology of cochlear hair cells with a view to understanding how they manage to respond to nanometre displacements at frequencies of many tens of kilohertz. Currently we are particularly interested in the motor and sensory functions of mammalian outer hair cells including the micromechanics of stereocilia and their role in both sensory transduction and force feedback. Damage to the cochlear hair cells, or the nerve fibres that supply them, is a common - maybe the most common - cause of adult hearing loss.

Research Focus


hair cells


inner ear

sensory transduction


Clinical conditions


Hearing and balance deficits

Menierre's disease


Calcium imaging

Electrophysiological recording techniques

Fluorescence microscopy

Generation of rapid nanometre and piconewton stimuli

Intracellular recording

Measurement of rapid nanometre displacements and piconewton forces by cells and organelles


Whole cell patch clamp


United Kingdom

Mike Evans Web:

Helen Kennedy Web:

Corne Kros Web:


Maryline Beurg Web:

Robert Fettiplace Web:

Key publications

Kennedy HL, Evans MG, Crawford AC, Fettiplace R (2006), “Depolarization of cochlear outer hair cells evokes active hair bundle motion by two mechanisms” J Neuroscience 26:2757-2766

Kennedy HL, Crawford AC, Fettiplace R (2005), “Force generation by mammalian hair bundles supports a role in cochlear amplification” Nature 433:880-883

Ricci AJ, Crawford AC, Fettiplace R (2003), “Tonotopic variations in conductance of the hair cell mechanotransducer channel” Neuron 40:983-990