Our Management Team



Prof. Peter Thorne, BSc, DipSci, PhD, CNZM

E: pr.thorne@auckland.ac.nz 

Professor Thorne is professor of Audiology and Auditory Neuroscience with appointments in Audiology (School of Population Health) and the Department of Physiology (School of Medical Sciences). In addition to directing the EMC, he is the co-Director of Brain Research New Zealand, a national Centre of Research Excellence. His research is in sensory neurobiology particularly inner ear homeostasis and influence of noise exposure and aging on hearing, cochlear neural development and new diagnostic techniques, such as MRI, for ear disease. He has received over $13M in grant funding and held senior management positons in the University including the Head of the Schools of Medical Science and Population Health. He led the establishment of the Section of Audiology at the University of Auckland and the Master of Audiology degree programme and contributes substantially to the hearing impaired community, serving as the President of the National Foundation for the Deaf and was one of lead advocates for the establishment of Newborn Hearing Screening through Project HIEDI (Hearing Impairment and Early Detection and Intervention). He was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009 for services to Audiology and Auditory Neuroscience.

Co-Deputy Director

Prof. Suzanne Purdy, MSc, PhD, DipAud, FAAA, MAudSA, MNZAS

E: sc.purdy@auckland.ac.nz 

Professor Purdy is Head of the School of Psychology, Faculty of Science, University of Auckland. She is the University nominee on The Hearing House Governance Board and part of the Brain Research New Zealand Theme 4 ‘Prevention, Intervention and Delivery’ Leadership Group. Her research is focussed on behavioural and electrophysiological assessment of auditory processing in clinical populations such as adults and children with mild-moderate sensorineural hearing loss, unilateral hearing loss, profound hearing loss utilising cochlear implant technology and in people with neurological conditions such as autism spectrum disorder, mild cognitive impairment, Parkinson’s disease and stroke. She is an Honorary Member of the New Zealand Audiological Society and has received certificates of outstanding service from both Australian and New Zealand audiology professional organisations. She has published more than 120 peer-reviewed papers and received over $5M in research funding from national and international agencies. She has supervised many research students from audiology, speech language therapy and psychology and currently has 10 PhD students.

Co-Deputy Director

Associate Professor Grant Searchfield, MSc (Hons), PhD

E: g.searchfield.ac.nz 

Grant Searchfield is an Associate Professor in Audiology, at the School of Population Health, and is a Principal Investigator in the Centre for Brain Research and Brain Research New Zealand. He has been Director of the University of Auckland Hearing and Tinnitus Clinic since its establishment in 2001 and was Head of the Section of Audiology 2007-2014. He is an Assistant Editor for the International Journal of Audiology and International Editorial Associate for the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology. From 2007-2015 he was on the scientific committee of the Tinnitus Research Initiative (Germany) and is now on the Scientific Advisory Board of the American Tinnitus Association. He is the Scientific Director of TinnitusTunes, a UniServices spin-out company. His research has focused on assistive technology for hearing and cognitive aspects of tinnitus. He has been a PI on projects receiving $10M of research funding. He has supervised or co-supervised 62 Masters and Honours students and 7 PhD students.

Management Committee – Member Representatives

Associate Professor Yiwen Zheng – University of Otago

Profile: https://www.otago.ac.nz/phal/people/profile/?id=61
E: yiwen.zheng@otago.ac.nz 

Professor Greg O’Beirne – University of Canturbury

Profile: http://www.canterbury.ac.nz/science/contact-us/people/greg-obeirne.html
E: Gregory.obeirne@canterbury.ac.nz

Dr Fabiana Kubke – University of Auckland

Profile: https://unidirectory.auckland.ac.nz/profile/f-kubke

Dr Michel Neeff – Otolaryngologist

Profile: http://www.entassociates.co.nz/your-surgeons/michel-neeff/
E: info@entassociates.co.nz

Research and Administrative Support

Research Operations Manager

Dr Meagan Barclay 

E: m.barclay@auckland.ac.nz
P: 09 923 1616 

Meagan oversees the strategic, research, financial and communication activities of the Centre.  She has been involved in hearing research since 2004, when she joined the Department of Physiology at the University of Auckland as an Honours student.  She subsequently completed a PhD in 2010 and worked as a Research Fellow for 7 years before taking up this position within the Centre in 2018.

Pacific Research Manager

Elizabeth Holt

E: e.holt@auckland.ac.nz
P: 09 923 6006

Elizabeth is the Pacific Co-ordinator for the Centre and is a researcher, clinician and public health advocate.  She has a clinical background in physiotherapy and is completing her PhD in hearing loss and ear disease in Niue.  As a Tongan-New Zealander, Elizabeth is dedicated to work that will benefit Pacific peoples in New Zealand and Pacific Island nations.

Māori Research Manager

Alehandrea Manuel

E: alehandrea.manuel@auckland.ac.nz

Alehandrea Manuel of Ngāti Porou is Māori-Filipino and has worked across Australasia as an audiologist and researcher. Alehandrea is an advocate for indigenous health and is motivated to reduce inequities in hearing health care. She is currently undertaking a PhD in Audiology and Māori Health using Kaupapa Māori research to improve hearing health care service delivery that is by and for older Māori and whānau.


Audrey D’Souza

E: a.dsouza@auckland.ac.nz
P: 09 923 5536

Audrey provides general administrative support to the Centre alongside her role as the Administrator for the Section of Audiology.   She has worked in the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences in various roles for the last 20 years.