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The University of Southampton
(023) 8059 7642

Dr Tracey Newman BSc, PhD, SFHEA

Associate Professor Neuroimmunology

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Dr Tracey Newman is an Associate Professor in Clinical and Experimental Sciences within medicine at the University of Southampton. She leads a multidisciplinary group that investigates immune mediated mechanisms that lead to neuronal injury, and its consequences, in the central nervous system. She works across disciplines and institutions, developing an understanding of how inflammation contributes to disability in age-related conditions such as hearing loss.

My research explores how inflammation outside of our nervous system contributes to age-related neurological conditions.

She is programme lead for the Masters in Medical Science (MMedSci) at the University of Southampton, and is involved in outreach work community science to the general public. Her group is based in the Life Sciences Building on the Highfield Campus.



Appointments held

Other Roles and Activities

Prizes and Awards

Research interests

Hearing better with a cochlear implant

People with severe hearing loss due to changes within their cochleae may benefit from a cochlear implant. These devices transduce sounds from the outside world through electrodes to the auditory pathways within the cochlea and brain. The implants replace the function lost in the damaged cochlea and restore high quality hearing. In some cases cochlear implants do not do as well as anticipated. In collaboration with Carl Verschuur, Mary Grasmeder, and Steve Bell in Southampton and Lucy Anderson in UCL, with the support of Oticon Medical, we are exploring how changes in the tissue between the electrode and cochlea reduce the effectiveness of implants. The advantage of working this out may be that we can extend the lifetime of implants and enable the person to have better quality hearing with their implant.

Inflammation may affect hearing loss

Many people experience a degree of hearing loss with age. With collaborators in ISVR (Carl Verschuur) and chemistry (Sumeet Mahajan) we are exploring the contribution of the innate immune system to the rate of progression of hearing loss. A better understanding of the relationship between inflammatory biomarkers and hearing function may enable us to stratify individuals such that we are able to determine those individuals most at risk of deterioration. Our current work includes investigating hearing and inflammation in a longitudinal human study of older community dwelling individuals.

Aging with hearing loss and dementia

As average lifespan increases many people are spending more years towards the end of life affected by disability. Two leading causes of this disability are hearing loss and dementia. People with hearing loss are at a greater risk of dementia. Working with Jay Amin (Old age Psychiatry) and colleagues in the software research team (John Robinson and Sam Mangan) we are using datascience and statistics (Ho Min Yuen), for the analysis of large sets of different types of data from people, to investigate the earliest point at which a person shows changes that indicate they are at risk of dementia. Our primary aim is to determine whether better hearing in people with a cochlear implant is associated with protection against the progression of cognitive impairment.

Biocompatible nanoparticles for enhanced drug delivery

The growing burden of neurological disease is driving a need to develop new routes for selective drug delivery to the central nervous system. We have developed targeted engineered nanoparticles for drug delivery. We use organic nanoparticles capable of delivering several different cargo types (hydrophilic, hydrophobic, and protein). These are being tested in vitro, and in vivo.

Through a combination of approaches we are investigating the interaction of the nanoparticles with neurons, and stem cells (Nicholas Evans, Richard Oreffo, FoM), including the uptake mechanisms and the factors that influence this. We are working to identify neuron-specific ligands to use as targeting moieties. We have developed fluorescence-based approaches to resolve the delivery kinetics, including the temporal profile, of compounds. Our current focus is the kinetics of take up and cargo release from nanoparticles after internalization.

Nanotoxicology – airborne exhaust particulates

As nanoparticle usage becomes more mainstream, in both medicine and consumer products, there is a need to investigate the possible detrimental impact of nanoparticles on the health and integrity of the CNS. Anthropogenic airborne nanoparticles may also be a challenge to the nervous system. Together with colleagues in the Centre for Biological Sciences (Guy Poppy, Chris Jackson) and Centre for Agri-Environmental Research, University of Reading (Robbie Girling) we are investigating the impact of airborne nanoparticulate pollutants on learning and memory in the honey bee, an insect of significant ecological and economic importance.

Translating super-oscillatory imaging from materials science into label free imaging in neuroboiology

The majority of neuronal function is underpinned by the dynamic organisation and turnover of structures at the nanoscale. The limitations imposed by the diffraction of light have meant that many of these processes remain unresolved by conventional light microscopy. Working with colleagues in optoelectronics (Ed Rodgers, Nikolay Zheludev) FoM, IfLS and CfBS (Shmma Quraishe, Peter Smith and John Chad), we are translating the capabilities of a new super-resolution microscope that is not dependent upon fluorescence to achieve sub-diffraction imaging in biology. Our approach builds on existing confocal microscopy familiar to biologists but replaces a conventional microscope objective lens with a 'super-oscillatory’ (SO) lens, which sculpts the input light to form a strongly confined spot, enabling resolution beyond the diffraction limit of light.



Clinical and Experimental Sciences

Affiliate Department(s)

Clinical Neuroscience Research group

Research project(s)

Targeting stem cells with nanoparticles

Promoting tissue regeneration by carrying drugs and molecules directly to stem cells.

Postgraduate student supervision

Current MPhil/PhD students:

Rachel Kidd (Newman FoM, Mahajan FELs)
Developing SERS-based point-of-care inflammatory monitoring for risk identification of worsening progression of age-related diseases.
Funding VC award

Alan Sanderson (Newman FoM, Verschuur FEPs).
Translational approaches to measurement and analysis of the cochlear implant-tissue interface
Funding EPSRC

Alethia Hailes (Evans FoM/FEPs, Newman FoM)
Improving fracture outcome using polymeric nanoparticle mediated delivery of wnt agonists.
Funding EPSRC

Eleanor Porges (Evans FoM/FEPs, Newman FoM, Rowland DSTL)
Nanoparticle-based antibiotic delivery for the treatment of intracellular bacterial infection.

Kate Hough (Newman FoM/Verschuur FEPs)
Does innate immune memory affect cochlear implant performance?
(EPSRC/Oticon Medical)

Previous recent students (lead or significant)

  • 2016 PhD Andrew Causon (Newman FoM/ Verschuur FEPs)
  • 2015 PhD Christine Reitmayer (Newman FoM/ Girling FELs)
  • 2016 PhD Edoardo Scarpa (Newman FoM/ Evans FEPs)
  • 2015 MPhil Aikaterina Zisimopolou (Newman, Cheong FoM)
  • 2016 PhD Akosua Agyemang-Prempeh (Newman FoM/ Verschuus FEPs)
  • 2014 PhD Shilong Lu (Cheong, Newman FoM/ Morgan FEPs


Faculty of Medicine

  • 2016 - Programme Lead of the Masters in Medical Science (MMedSc)
  • 2015 – 2020 Vice-chair of the Faculty of Medicine ethics committee
  • Chair of the Southampton Neuroscience group (SoNG).
  • Chair/panel member student appeals and fitness to practice/Chair of exam boards/PhD examiner
  • Panel member NC3Rs studentship board 2018-2021
  • Member of the University Respect working group.
  • Harassment contact; with responsibility for training and mentoring of colleagues.
  • Member of the British Neuroscience Association
  • Member of the International Society for Neuroimmunology
  • Member of the British Society of Immunology
  • Previous Lead for the South-coast network of Alzheimer’s research UK, now a committee member.
  • Regular reviewer for cross-disciplinary and specialist journals and grant and fellowship applications for UK and international granting bodies.


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Book Chapters



  • MMedSc Assessment lead and Module lead for MEDI6220, MEDI6221. Lectures and small group teaching.
  • BM Lectures, Personal tutor (all BM programmes).
  • Project supervision on the BSc/MBiol/MMedSc/BMedSc.
Dr Tracey Newman
Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Building 85, Life Sciences Building, Highfield Campus, Southampton SO171BJ

Room Number: 85/3041

Telephone:(023) 8059 7642

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