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Matthew James Mason

University Physiologist, University of Cambridge

I began as a veterinary student at the University of Cambridge, graduating in Zoology and moving out of the veterinary field to study for a PhD in that department. After some time in UCLA, California, conducting postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Prof. Peter Narins, I returned to Cambridge in 2001. Since then I have been working in the Department of Physiology, Development & Neuroscience.

My main research focus is the structure, function and evolution of the vertebrate auditory system, with a joint focus on amphibians and mammals. I am interested in how the middle ear works, and how hearing has evolved to match the particular acoustical properties of the environment that the animal lives in. This includes both hearing in air and also the detection of ground-borne vibrations (seismic sensitivity), which may be particularly important in burrowing mammals.

Recently I've become interested in certain other areas of comparative physiology, including fluorescence in frogs and nasal turbinate structure in seals.


  • –present
    University Physiologist, University of Cambridge
  • –present
    Fellow and Director of Studies in Physiology, St Catharine's College, Cambridge
  • 1999–2001
    Postdoctoral researcher, University of California at Los Angeles


  • 2018 
    University of Cambridge, PGCert
  • 1999 
    University of Cambridge, MA
  • 1999 
    University of Cambridge, PhD
  • 1995 
    University of Cambridge, BA (Hons)


  • 2001
    Please see my website, (

Professional Memberships

  • Anatomical Society
  • Physiological Society
  • Royal Society of Biology