Barbara Fullerton, Ph.D.

Harvard Medical School

Assistant Professor of Otology and Laryngology

Research Summary

Research Area Affiliations

Research Summary

Dr. Fullerton’s work has centered on research in the auditory system and teaching of head and neck anatomy, as well as serving as an anatomy consultant in the MGH Department of Radiation Oncology.

Dr. Fullerton’s research has involved both neuroanatomical pathways and neurophysiology of the auditory system. Her most recent research concerned the cytoarchitecture of the human auditory cortex and the comparison with that of non-human primate. Previous research included the neuroanatomy of the inferior colliculus, organization of the brainstem motoneurons to the stapedius muscle of the middle ear, and the anatomy of the superior olivary auditory neurons in the human brainstem. Neurophysiological studies involved the neural generators of the brainstem auditory evoked potentials, and MRI-detected changes in the human auditory brainstem pathway in patients with multiple sclerosis.

In addition to her research efforts, Dr. Fullerton is dedicated to medical education and her work in radiation oncology. As anatomical consultant at the Northeast Proton Treatment Center in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, she is responsible for radiological analysis of normal critical structure boundaries of radiation treatment patients. 

Select Publications

Comparison of cat and human brain-stem auditory evoked potentials. Fullerton, B.C., Levine, R.A., Hosford-Dunn, H.L., and Kiang, N.Y.S.  EEG and Clin. Neurophysiol.,1987, 66:547-570.  PMID 2438121

Effect of brainstem lesions on brainstem auditory evoked potentials in the cat.
Fullerton, B.C. and Kiang, N.Y.S. Hearing Research, 1990, 49:363-390.  PMID 2292507

A dose response analysis of injury to cranial nerves and/or nuclei following proton beam radiation therapy. Urie, M.M., Fullerton, B.C., Tatsuzaki, H., Birnbaum, S., Suit, H.D., Convery, K., Skates,S., and Goitein, M. Int. J. Radiat. Oncol. Bio. Phys., 1992, 23:27-39.

Effects of multiple sclerosis brainstem lesions on sound lateralization and brainstem auditory evoked potentials. Levine, R.A., Gardner, J.C., Fullerton, B.C., Stufflebeam, S.M., Carlisle, E.W., Furst, M., Rosen, B.R., and Kiang, N.Y.S. Hearing Res., 1993, 68: 73-88. PMID 8376217

Effects of sound bandwidth on fMRI activation in human auditory brainstem nuclei. Hawley, M.L., Melcher, J.R., and Fullerton, B.C. Hear. Res., 2005, 204:101-10.  PMID 15925195

Architectonic analysis of the auditory-related areas of the superior temporal region in human brain. Fullerton, B.C. and Pandya, D.N. J. Comp. Neurol., 2007, 504(5): 470-98. PMID 17701981

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B.A., Northeastern University, Psychology, 1970.
Ph.D., Boston University, Anatomy, 1978.

Postgraduate Training

1978 - 1980: Postdoctoral research fellowship, Eaton-Peabody Lab, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Auditory physiology

Professional Memberships

1977 - present: Society for Neuroscience
1990 - present: Association for Research in Otolaryngology
2008 - present: American Association of Anatomists

Awards and Honors

1999 - present: Harvard School of Dental Medicine-
Award: "Best Course of the Year" from 1st and 2nd year classes.
2009: Harvard-MIT Health, Science, & Technology Program, Irving M. London Teaching Award for 2009,  Anatomy for Speech and Hearing.


1989 - 1995: Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Craniofacial and Neck, Anatomy (1st year dental students)
1996 - present: Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Director, Craniofacial
 and Neck Anatomy
1989 - present: Massachusetts General Hospital, Dept of Radiation Oncology, Anatomy of Head and Neck (for residents and treatment planning staff)
1993 - present: Harvard/MIT, Division of Health, Science & Technology,
Speech & Hearing, Bioscience & Technology Program  (SHBT), Anatomy for Speech and Hearing (1st year graduate students)
1999 - present: Director, SHBT Program, Anatomy for Speech and Hearing
2008 - present: Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Anatomy for Otolaryngology (PGY2 residents)