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The University of Southampton
(023) 8059 3221

Prof David Simpson BSc, PhD, MIPEM

Professor of Biomedical Signal Processing

Prof David Simpson's photo

Prof David Simpson is Professor of Biomedical Signal Processing within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.


The Biomedical engineering provides a stimulating mix of 'hard' science and engineering with the excitement of understanding biology better and the motivation to help patients.

His research and teaching focus on the application of engineering techniques (primarily those for data analysis using computing methods) in a medical context.

After schooling in Austria, he graduated in Biomedical Electronics from the University of Salford (1981) and then worked as a mathematics and physics teacher in Nigeria. He obtained his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of London in 1988. From 1989 to 1998 he lectured in the Biomedical Engineering Program at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), before becoming a research fellow in the Medical Physics Department of Leicester Royal Infirmary. He moved to the University of Southampton (ISVR) in 2001.

Research interests

  • Stochastic signal processing algorithms (methods for the analysis of random signals)
  • The control system regulating blood pressure, heart-rate, respiration and blood flow in the brain
  • Auditory Evoked Potentials (the responses of the brain to auditory stimulation)
  • Neuromuscular control of limb movements in humans and insects (locusts) 
  • Improving hearing aids and cochlear implants

David Simpson's research aims to improve the care of patients. To this end he develops and applies signal processing methods that extract diagnostic information from complex biomedical signals (e.g. from traces of ECG or blood pressure) and improves the understanding of physiology and hence innovative diagnostic methods.

Photograph of Prof David Simpson
Figure 1

Figure 1: The analysis of biomedical signals provides new insights into physiology and paves the way to new diagnostic techniques.

Research group

Signal Processing, Audio and Hearing Group

Research project(s)

Anaesthesia and awareness

Occasionally people wake up during surgery, which is highly distressing. It is a particular problem when a muscle relaxant is given as people are unable to move to tell people that they are awake. We hope to develop methods that can tell if people are awake in operations using either the brain response to sound, or the patterns of connection in the brain.

The Hearing Brain

It is possible to measure the electrical response of the brain to sound. However the signals are very small and can be swamped by electrical activity from rest of the body. In this project we are developing better methods to measure the tiny signals and exploring their clinical applications.

2 ears are better than 1

What benefit do people with hearing loss get from using two devices, one in each ear?

Improving the acquisition of Auditory Evoked Potentials for clinical diagnosis

This research aims to improve acquisition of these responses and to assess and improve their diagnostic utility.

New methods for assessing the control of blood flow in the brain

Objective measures of hearing aid benefit

We would like to develop a set of objective test methods that can be used to compare the various features of modern hearing aids and to predict which features will best improve patient benefit from hearing aids.

Quantitative measurements of impairment and how they relate to activity in the upper limb of the older adult post-stroke

Modelling of the neuronal responses of identified motor neurons across animals

Independent component analysis in the automated detection of evoked potentials from multichannel recording

What are hearing aids up to?

Developing methods to measure the performance of advanced features in hearing aids/cochlear implants and to predict how much they will benefit patients.

Muscle models with applications

How can we improve existing muscle models and use these to detect the effect of therapies, medicines, and any other external factor on muscle performances?

Diversity in blood flow control to the brain

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Book Chapters




Title Module Code Programme Role
Audio and Signal Processing ISVR2041 Acoustical Engineering, Acoustics and Music Coordinator
Audio Signal Processing ISVR3071 MSc Sound and Vibration Studies Coordinator
Biomedical Application of Signal and Image Processing ISVR6138 MSc Sound and Vibration Studies Coordinator
Demystifying Biomedical Signals ISVR6110 Principles and Applications Coordinator

David Simpson has focussed on cross-disciplinary learning and teaching at the interface between engineering and medicine / life-sciences. Current courses cover signal processing for audio and biomedical applications.

Prof David Simpson
Engineering, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton. SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number: 13/4097

Facsimile: (023) 8059 3190

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