Biosketch for Ian Curthoys. March 7, 2016
Professor Ian Curthoys completed his BA at the University of Sydney in 1965. In 1968 he received his PhD from Monash University. He was a Fulbright Scholar at UCLA from 1968 -1971 when he returned to the University of Sydney as a lecturer in Psychology. In 1997 he became the Professor of Vestibular Function at the University of Sydney. In 1999 he was given the position of Head of the School of Psychology at the University whilst maintaining his personal chair as Professor of Vestibular function. In 2006 he retired and was appointed as Emeritus Professor of Vestibular Function which he continues to hold today.
Professor Ian Curthoys joins us for the Multi-disciplinary Team Approach to the Dizzy and Vertiginous Patient; Certification Workshop Level 2.
He has been involved in vestibular research in the laboratory and the clinic since 1969, initially with Charlie Markham at UCLA but then at Sydney, working with Michael Halmagyi since 1977. The goal of his research has been to understand the vestibular system and he has studied many aspects of this system: anatomy, physiology, development, vestibulo-ocular response in health and disease, vestibular compensation, otolith function, vestibular perception and clinical testing and has made original research contributions in every one of these areas. Some of these contributions are amongst the most cited papers in the vestibular literature.
As of 7 March 2016 he has published around 300 refereed papers in international journals, with a total of 8600 citations at an average of 25 citations per paper. His H index is 53. He collaborates with many vestibular researchers around the world. For the last 5 years his papers have been cited more than 500 times per year. For almost all his research career his work has been supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia and from 1992 by the Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation.
In 1996 the international professional society for vestibular research (the Bárány Society) awarded him the Hallpike-Nylén medal for “outstanding contributions to basic scientific knowledge of the vestibular system” and in 2012 that society awarded him the Robert Bárány Jubilee Gold Medal “In recognition of outstanding morphological and physiological studies on the vestibular organs and for innovative and crucial contributions to vestibular research in its widest sense”. In 2016 he has been awarded the Gold Medal of the Prosper Meniere Society The award ceremony will take place at Zell im Ziller, Austria, in March 2016. The Gold Medal is awarded for furthering the goals of the Prosper Meniere Society through research excellence, scientific innovation, and far-reaching contributions to the investigation of inner ear disorders. “Let us give thanks to seeking spirits, to those with initiative, who raise questions of interest, stimulate active researches, provoke oppositions, because in a word, science gains and humanity applauds”. ~ Prosper Méniere, 1861
The “head impulse test” of semicircular canal function he developed with Michael Halmagyi is used around the world and has been now realized by Hamish MacDougall as the video Head Impulse Test (vHIT). This is a very quick simple and effective indicator of the function of every semicircular canal. Complementing this has been his research on the mechanisms by which air-conducted sound and bone-conducted vibration activate otolithic neurons. The results of this neurophysiological work underpin the interpretation of the new clinical tests of otolith function – the vestibular evoked myogenic potential tests (oVEMPs and cVEMPs). He has shown how these new clinical tests, vHIT and VEMPs, allow the testing of all vestibular sense organs and they are being used to allow clinicians to measure the functional changes in patients with Ménière’s Disease at various stages.
One theme running through his research continues – the study of vestibular anatomy. With his colleagues he developed a method for visualizing the membranous labyrinth in fixed human tissue using microCT. This provided 3-d images of the utricular and saccular maculae and their spatial orientation, and more recently he has been pursuing the use of this method to reconstruct, in 3d, images of the human membranous labyrinth, including Bast’s valve.