Wilhelmina Mulders

Associate Professor, MSc PhD Nijmegen

  • The University of Western Australia (M309), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


I did my PhD in neuroanatomy in the Netherlands (awarded May 1997), using immunocytochemistry and neuronal tract-tracing to study the hypothalamic stress axis. After a post-doc in hippocampal anatomy I started in the Auditory Laboratory at UWA. I have been fortunate enough to be able to keep working in this Laboratory ever since, obtaining grants from NH&MRC and international organizations. Since July 2015 I have been employed as a tenured senior lecturer teaching and coordinating in neuroscience undergraduate and postgraduate units as well as in the master of Clinical Audiology.


Funding overview

Over $2,000,000 in funding since 2001 from various sources such as NHMRC and Action on Hearing Loss, UK.


I am a neuroscientist with an interest in sensory systems and in particular the Auditory System.  My research can be divided into two main research streams. 1) the study of plasticity in the auditory system after deafness and 2) the study of the role of the descending or efferent pathways in the auditory system.

Regarding 1) I am focused on a particular auditory pathology: tinnitus (perception of phantom sounds). After hearing loss plasticity in the auditory pathways is known to occur and it is thought to be involved in the generation of tinnitus. Tinnitus is a very common problem in humans and it can have a major impact on quality of life. I use an animal model to investigate the origin of and mechanisms underlying spontaneous hyperactivity in the auditory system following hearing loss. This hyperactivity is thought to be the neural substrate of tinnitus. My research combines electrophysiological measurements with behavioral as well as gene and protein expression studies. I am using the animal model to test possible therapies and I aim to move my results towards translational research and clinical practice.

Regarding 2) I focus on the role of the descending pathways on sound processing, particularly in noisy environments and how the system is modulated by auditory and non-auditory brain structures. Descending pathways can modulate ascending information en route to cortex. In the auditory system, they are thought to be involved in optimizing discrimination of signals in noise, which varies from the recognition of an approaching predator to distinguishing the voice of the interesting person next to you from all other voices at a noisy party.

Teaching overview

Coordinating and teaching into NEUR3301, NEUR3302, NEUR5011, NEUR4010, PHYL5501, PHYL5510, PHYL5514, PHYL5511, PHYL5614 and PHYL5616. Co-coordinating Neuroscience major, Honours and the Master of Clinical Audiology.

Research expertise keywords

  • Hearing and deafness
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Neurophysiology
  • Neuroscience
  • Tinnitus
  • Neural plasticity


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