Dr Alex Thompson has a background in biomedical engineering and biomedical optics. He completed a BEng (Electronics and Computer Systems, 2010) and BSc (Research and Development, 2010) and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering (2014) at Swinburne University. His PhD project investigated novel optical techniques to stimulate neurons in the cochlea, with the aim of replacing conventional electrical stimulation. He then moved to the University of St Andrews to develop a wearable sensor of erythema in collaboration with the Photobiology Unit at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee.

He joined the Bionics Institute in 2017 to work in the preclinical hearing team. His primary project aims to restore binaural processing by experience and training with binaural cues. He is also interested in the use of optogenetics for optical stimulation of auditory neurons.

E: [email protected]

Research projects

Understanding the hearing brain


Restoring hearing

Student projects

Hearing but not listening: Using behavioural training in preclinical studies to test the ability to listen to complex sounds

Reversible silencing of the cochlear

Understanding how the brain processes combined electrical and acoustic stimulation

Understanding changes in auditory processing from noise-induced hearing loss 

Optogenetics for precise neural stimulation

Recent publications

  1. Brown, William G. A., Karina Needham, James M. Begeng, Alexander C. Thompson, Bryony A. Nayagam, Tatiana Kameneva, and Paul R. Stoddart. 2020. Thermal damage threshold of neurons during infrared stimulation, Biomedical Optics Express, 11(4): 2224-34.

  2. Hart, W., R. Richardson, T. Kameneva, A. Thompson, A. K. Wise, J. B. Fallon, P. R. Stoddart, and K. Needham. 2020. Combined optogenetic and electrical stimulation of auditory neurons increases effective stimulation frequency - An in vitro study, Journal of Neural Engineering: 17(1): 016069. doi: 1088/1741-2552/ab6a68.

  3. Richardson, R. T., A. C. Thompson, A. K. Wise, and K. Needham. 2017. Challenges for the application of optical stimulation in the cochlea for the study and treatment of hearing loss. Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy. 17(2): 213-23. doi: 1080/14712598.2017.1271870.

  4.  Thompson, A. C., J. B. Fallon, A. K. Wise, S. A. Wade, R. K. Shepherd & P. R. Stoddart (2015). Infrared neural stimulation fails to evoke neural activity in the deaf guinea pig cochlea. Hearing Research 324: 46-53.