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1985 …2023

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Personal profile


Prof Vaughan Macefield leads the Human Neurophysiology Lab in the Department of Neuroscience, having been at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute from 2018-2022. In 1986 he completed his PhD in respiratory neurophysiology at The University of New South Wales, using animal models, before undertaking postdoctoral studies in human neurophysiology in Sydney, Sweden and the US.

He was based at Neuroscience Research Australia in Sydney from 1994, before being appointed Foundation Chair of Integrative Physiology at the School of Medicine, Western Sydney University, from 2006-2016, and Foundation Chair of Physiology at Mohammed Bin Rashid University in Dubai from 2016-2017.

Vaughan specializes in recording from single nerve fibres via microelectrodes inserted into the peripheral nerves of awake human participants (microneurography) and is best known for developing the methodology for recording the firing properties of single, type-identified, sympathetic neurones supplying muscle and skin – as well as his work on the properties of mechanoreceptors in muscle and skin. Most recently, he made the first microelectrode recordings from the human vagus nerve, via ultrasound-guided microneurography.

For the last 20 years he has also been using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brain to identifycortical and subcortical structures involved in the control of blood pressure and the processing of pain, and developed the methodology for recording muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) at the same time as performing fMRI of the brain (MSNA-coupled fMRI) in health and disease.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality

Education/Academic qualification

Neurophysiology, DSc, Invasive studies of the human sympathetic nervous system in health and disease, University of New South Wales (UNSW)

1 Jan 201631 Dec 2016

Award Date: 19 Jun 2017

Neurophysiology, PhD, University of New South Wales (UNSW)

1 Jan 198330 Nov 1986

Award Date: 1 Feb 1987

Anatomy & Physiology, BSc(Hons I), Double Major in Anatomy and Physiology, University of New South Wales (UNSW)

1 Mar 197931 Dec 1982

Award Date: 1 May 1983

External positions

Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute

Research area keywords

  • Microneurography
  • Muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA)
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
  • High blood pressure
  • Hypertension
  • Cortical and subcortical areas
  • Pain

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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