Open main menu

Jonathan Felix Ashmore FRS FMedSci FRSB (born 1948)[1] is a British physicist and Bernard Katz Professor of Biophysics at University College London.[11]

Jonathan Ashmore

Professor Jonathan Ashmore.jpg
Jonathan Ashmore at the Royal Society in 2017
Jonathan Felix Ashmore

1948 (age 70–71)
EducationWestminster School[1]
Alma materUniversity of Sussex (BSc)
Imperial College London (PhD)
University College London (MSc)[2]
AwardsCroonian Lecture (2017)[3]
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity College London
University of Bristol
International Centre for Theoretical Physics
ThesisAspects of quantum field theory (1972)
Doctoral advisorTom Kibble[7]
Other academic advisors
Doctoral studentsDan Jagger[9]
InfluencesAnne Warner[10]



Ashmore was educated at Westminster School[1] as a Queen's Scholar. He studied mathematics and physics at the University of Sussex[2] followed by a PhD in theoretical physics in 1971 supervised by Tom Kibble at Imperial College London where his research investigated quantum field theory.[7]

Career and researchEdit

After a short postdoctoral research fellowship supervised by Abdus Salam[8] at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy he retrained as a physiologist at UCL, gaining a Master of Science degree in 1974[2] which led to work with Paul Fatt and Gertrude Falk[12] between 1974 and 1977 in the Biophysics Department.

Ashmore was appointed a Lecturer in Physiology at the University of Bristol in 1983 an promoted to Reader in 1988, before moving back to UCL in 1993.[8][2]

Ashmore has worked on dissecting the cellular mechanisms of hearing by studying the organ of Corti in the mammalian cochlea[13] especially the guinea pig (Cavia porcellus).[14][15] This structure in the inner ear increases the selectivity and sensitivity of our hearing through an in-built cochlear amplifier.[16] He showed that specialised cells known as outer hair cells are responsible for this unique function.[16][17][18]

In response to sound, outer hair cells lengthen then shorten through a process controlled and powered by the flow of electrically charged molecules such as potassium ions.[19] This contraction propagates and amplifies sound, and he was the first to capture it on film during his Rock Around the Clock Hair Cell video.[11][16]

His work has combined biophysical methods – including the patch clamp technique usually applied to membrane proteins – with confocal microscopy imaging and computational modelling to expand our knowledge of hearing at the molecular and cellular level. His findings are helping to unravel the nature and origins of hearing-related conditions like deafness and tinnitus.[3][16]

His research has been funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC)[20] and he has supervised several doctoral students to completion including Dan Jagger.[9]

Awards and honoursEdit

Ashmore was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1996[1] and gave their Croonian Lecture in 2017 on the neuroscience of deafness.[3] He is also an elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB)[1] and a member of both the Association for Research in Otolaryngology and The Biophysical Society.[21]

Ashmore is Faculty of 1000 section head for Sensory Systems[21] and a trustee for the Hearing Research Trust.[citation needed] He served as President of The Physiological Society from 2012 to 2014.[8]

Personal lifeEdit

Ashmore is the son of actor Peter Ashmore and actress Rosalie Crutchley. Aged seven, Ashmore played Joe in the 1955 film A Kid for Two Farthings, adapted from the novel by Wolf Mankowitz.[22]


  1. ^ a b c d e "ASHMORE, Prof. Jonathan Felix". Who's Who. 2017 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (subscription or UK public library membership required) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c d Entry at ORCID
  3. ^ a b c Ashmore, Jonathan (2017) Now you hear it, now you don’t: the neuroscience of deafness on YouTube
  4. ^ Jonathan Ashmore publications indexed by Google Scholar  
  5. ^ Jonathan Ashmore publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  6. ^ Jonathan Ashmore publications from Europe PubMed Central
  7. ^ a b Ashmore, Jonathan Felix (1972). Aspects of quantum field theory. (PhD thesis). University of London. hdl:10044/1/16203. OCLC 930651621.
  8. ^ a b c d e Ashmore, Jonathan Felix (2016). "Paul Fatt. 13 January 1924 – 28 September 2014". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. London. 62: 167–186. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2016.0005. ISSN 0080-4606.
  9. ^ a b Jagger, Daniel James (1996). Modulation of ion channels in outer hair cells from the mammalian cochlea. (PhD thesis). University of Bristol. OCLC 931565011.
  10. ^ Ashmore, Jonathan (2012). "Anne Warner obituary". The Guardian.
  11. ^ a b Anon (2017). "Professor Jonathan Ashmore Lab Page". University College London. Archived from the original on 2017-04-26. Retrieved 2017-04-25.
  12. ^ Anon (2008). "Physiological Society obituary: Gertrude Falk 1925-2008" (PDF).
  13. ^ Housley, G. D.; Ashmore, J. F. (1991). "Direct Measurement of the Action of Acetylcholine on Isolated Outer Hair Cells of the Guinea Pig Cochlea". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences. 244 (1310): 161–167. doi:10.1098/rspb.1991.0065. ISSN 0962-8452. PMID 1679550.
  14. ^ Ashmore, J. F.; Meech, R. W. (1986). "Ionic basis of membrane potential in outer hair cells of guinea pig cochlea". Nature. 322 (6077): 368–371. doi:10.1038/322368a0. PMID 2426595.  
  15. ^ Nobili, Renato; Mammano, Fabio; Ashmore, Jonathan (1998). "How well do we understand the cochlea?". Trends in Neurosciences. 21 (4): 159–167. doi:10.1016/s0166-2236(97)01192-2. PMID 9554726.  
  16. ^ a b c d Anon (1996). "Professor Jonathan Ashmore FMedSci FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2015-11-17. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the website where:

    “All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.” --"Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies". Archived from the original on 2016-11-11. Retrieved 2016-03-09. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)

  17. ^ Ashmore, Jonathan Felix (1987). "A fast motile response in guinea-pig outer hair cells: the cellular basis of the cochlear amplifier". The Journal of Physiology. 388 (1): 323–347. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.1987.sp016617. ISSN 1469-7793. PMC 1192551. PMID 3656195.  
  18. ^ Ashmore, Jonathan (2008). "Cochlear Outer Hair Cell Motility". Physiological Reviews. 88 (1): 173–210. doi:10.1152/physrev.00044.2006. ISSN 0031-9333. PMID 18195086.  
  19. ^ Housley, G D; Ashmore, J F (1992). "Ionic currents of outer hair cells isolated from the guinea-pig cochlea". The Journal of Physiology. 448 (1): 73–98. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.1992.sp019030. ISSN 1469-7793. PMC 1176188. PMID 1593487.  
  20. ^ Anon (2017). "UK Government Grants awarded to Jonathan Ashmore". Swindon: Research Councils UK. Archived from the original on 2017-10-31.
  21. ^ a b Anon (2011). "Jonathan Ashmore: Section Head in Sensory Systems - F1000Prime". Retrieved 2017-04-25.
  22. ^ Jonathan Ashmore on IMDb

  This article incorporates text available under the CC BY 4.0 license.