Our research

The Centre’s human neurophysiology experimental research focuses on identifying the mechanism responsible for the effects of radio frequency (RF) emissions previously seen on the electroencephalogram (EEG). This program involves two main projects: First to determine the role of the timing of RF exposure (relative to sleep regulation hormone onset) on sleep and the EEG, and whether there are gender differences related to this. In the second project, effects of RF on young children will be investigated.

Project 1:
Melatonin, temperature, and the effect of RF on sleep EEG
Exposure timing, non-RF heat effects, RF heat regulation

Project 2:
Exposure timing, non-RF heat effects, RF heat regulation
Effects on cognition as well as cortical function 4-9 year olds (EEG)

Key people involved:
Sarah Loughran, Rodney Croft, Nigel Taylor, Ron Grunstein, Jane Herbert, Sheridan Findlay

The Social Science arm of the Centre will focus on two issues. The first project focuses on how possible health effects of RF are represented in the media and how alarmist media may heighten anxieties or induce EHS symptoms. The second project investigates general practitioners' understanding of potential effects of RF on health and how they deal with individuals reporting EHS symptoms, with the aim to identify possible communication strategies helping general practitioners to improve their knowledge and ultimately treatment approaches.

Project 1:
Psychosocial determinants of EHS symptoms
Effects of 'inflammatory' media reports on causing EHS symptoms in healthy participants

Project 2: 
Improving RF-health literacy within General Practitioners
Investigating GP's knowledge about EHS and improving communication and treatment strategies

Key people involved:
Sarah Loughran, Rodney Croft, Peter Wiedermann, Graeme Edwards, Adam Verrender, Frederik Freudenstein

The Centre's dosimetry stream will provide dosimetry support to all of the projects in the other research streams, while also conducting important stand-alone dosimetry research to assess characteristic RF emissions for new and emerging RF technologies, especially 5G, which will enable far greater upload and download speeds for wireless communication devices.

Project 1: 
Dosimetry support

Project 2:
Modelling of GHz RF absorption in the eyes and skin

Project 3:
Effect of clothing on GHz RF absorption

Project 4:
Validation (& improvement) of RF modelling techniques

Project 5:
Ultrasound as a measure of RF-induced temperature rise

Project 6:
Determination of GHz exposure within the community

Project 7:
Validation of RF thermal models in humans

Key people involved:
Andrew Wood, Robert McIntosh,  Steve Iskra, Sarah Loughran, Rodney Croft

The Centre's animal research focuses on the investigation of the effects of RF exposure on both healthy ageing and neurodegenerative disease.

Project 1:
RF exposure and healthy ageing in mice
Test RF-induced changes on brain ageing process in mice

Project 2:
Does RF exposure ameliorate Alzheimer's disease pathology in mice
Using exposure period over 20 months to analyse 'temporal sequence' of amyloid deposition in exposed brains

Key people involved:
John Finnie, Rodney Croft, Chao Deng, Irene Yarovsky

The Centre's cellular research will focus on identifying optimal sets of experimental tests to detect cellular response after exposure to RF. This includes the potential for low-level effects of RF to interact with the healthy functioning of an individual, but also the understanding of potential impacts of high frequency RF on the body, which is particularly relevant to the latest developments in telecommunications, such as the 5G technology.

Project 1: 
Determining the RF exposure threshold for CW-electroporation
Investigate if high frequency RF poses a health risk through membrane permeation

Project 2: 
Are thermo and mechanoreceptor proteins sensitive to low level RF?
Effects of RF on cells from control and EHS (electromagnetic hypersensitivity individuals)

Project 3: 
Modelling effects of RF on human brain development
Effects of RF on human neural cellular and molecular processes crucial to normal neurodevelopment

Key people involved:
Irene Yarovsky, Elena Ivanova, Elena Pirogova, Boris Martinac, Eva Tomaskovic-Crook, Rodney Croft, Sarah Loughran 

Mobile Health (mHealth) opportunities

Although ACEBR’s main focus is on investigating biological effects of electromagnetic energy used in modern technologies, the technologies themselves offer exciting new possibilities in the delivery of healthcare, particularly in remote and rural regions. The following is a brief introduction to the ways that the technology behind hand-held mobile devices can be employed in Mobile Health (mHealth) initiatives and the opportunities and drawbacks that exist at the moment, particularly in relation to Australia, but also worldwide.

Within ACEBR we have skills in a number of areas of relevance to mHealth: physiological measurement techniques; knowledge of the characteristics of mobile signals & networks; modelling signal strengths & coverage; predicting human behaviours in relation to the uptake and use of mobile technologies and so on. We also, via our association with international health bodies such as WHO, and with various industry organisations, are well-placed to blend health with technical know-how, particularly as it relates to rural and remote areas. In particular, the Swinburne ACEBR group have skills in understanding of mobile networks, data formats, encryption and data security techniques and smartphone handset capabilities, especially in the realms of biomedical measurement. We also have access to phone base-station site specifications and data on subscription patterns, and we have links with carriers in other countries. 

Aspects of mHealth


Modern smartphone handsets have a number of built-in features (depending on the model) which can be used to aid diagnosis of illness.

  • Camera and light: these can be accessed by apps to estimate physiological functioning such as heart rate and blood oxygen levels. High definition colour photographs can aid in assessing wounds, examining the mouth and throat, etc
  • The accelerometer (which normally records changes in orientation of the phone, so that the display can be rotated): this can be used to analyse activities such as walking patterns, distance walked, and sleep activity
  • GPS/base station information: this can give accurate data on location, speed of travel, location of nearby health centres, etc
  • 3D Magnetic field sensor, which is used to orient maps on the phone to N: can be used for assistance in locating trapped or missing individuals

Medical diagnosis can also be achieved by connecting the phone to another device

  • Microscopy: using clip-on additional lenses or connecting to a traditional microscope via an adaptor. Images can be immediately transmitted via mobile or wireless network
  • Lung function: Bluetooth or cable connection to a spirometer, for example
  • Heart function (ECG and Heart Rate): wireless connection to activity trackers, wrist-worn or via electrode belts
  • Biochemical tests: Simple blood centrifuges or urine/saliva sampling with biochemical marker reading and analysis via the phone camera
  • Genetic analysis using simple kits with on-phone analysis software

Treatment and patient management

  • Monitoring and response to therapy: via simple texting or web page-based dialogs
  • Linking to clinical care centres: patient clerking and data logging; pre-admission forms adapted for phone formats
  • Collection of patient data for long term planning and epidemiology: including patient consent and confidentiality provisions
  • Triaging and on-line response: already in use in major emergency departments, but can be adapted for rural and remote areas
  • Tracking patient compliance with recommended medications and treatments: from simple text reminders to ‘electronic pillboxes’

Disease control and elimination

  • Mapping of outbreaks using GPS: to give information to optimise deployment of medical interventions
  • SMS alerts for vaccination and other health interventions: from simple reminders to suggested time and location
  • Logistics of supplies & personnel to health centres to meet demand: especially relevant to epidemics with delivery of vaccines or other medications to relevant centres

Health Promotion

  • SMS to give basic information regarding, for example, birth control and immunisation
  • General health and hygiene information targeted for particular settings, cultural and population groups
  • Simple health messages via social media
  • Information on screening and surveillance of epidemics specifically for remote populations

State of Play - some of the weaknesses

  • Many projects are still in the pilot or exploratory stage, with only a modest level of uptake so far. One study reports on responses from a few thousand people from a total target population of 20 million. To have any real effect the uptake needs to be far higher
  • Access of mobile networks involves a cost. In many developing countries the only realistic way to make mHealth generally acceptable is to subsidise data download/upload costs. Cost-benefit analyses are needed to convince governments that subsidies represent a good investment
  • Data availability and security: many of the ‘apps’ or activity trackers collect data which is then ‘owned’ by the app or device developers. The data are often not in a common format and therefore difficult to interface with other, more familiar, database programs. For use in health services, clients need assurance of data security

Opportunities: ACEBR will

  • Promote the use of mobile and wireless networks in the delivery of fast, efficient and cost-effective healthcare, particularly in remote and rural areas
  • Assemble a database of relevant research papers which will be accessible via this web page
  • Consider what the current gaps in knowledge are and how these might be filled, particularly in relation to Australia and the Pacific region
  • Endeavour to test some of the diagnostic apps and devices to validate them against standard hospital or clinic equipment

Key people involved:
Andrew Wood

Our publications

View publications by ACEBR
mobile phone on desk

From time to time positions for ACEBR research staff arise and can be found listed below:

Currently no positions available

Student positions

ACEBR aims to support students in the bioelectromagnetics domain. Many of ACEBRs researchers have experience in other areas and form part of a very multidisciplinary team.

If you think you might be interested in a postgraduate research degree in one of our research domains please.

From time to time PhD scholarships may also become available and will be listed below.

Currently no positions available

Study participation

ACEBR always welcomes enthusiastic research participants for various studies. Our current opportunities are listed below:

  • None


ACEBR currently has extensive collaborations with government and researchers around the world and are keen to extend this further. If you would like to discuss any such collaborations please contact us at

Authoritative bodies

Below are the government and non-government organisations involved with electromagnetic field research and health policy.

They either set the research agenda and review research or are integral in advising and informing government on policy.

World Health Organziation (WHO) Electromagnetic Fields Project (EMF) 

The EMF Project is open to any WHO Member State government, i.e. department of health, or representatives of other national institutions concerned with radiation protection. The project is fully funded by participating countries and agencies. 

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA)

Federal Government agency charged with responsibility for protecting the health and safety of people, and the environment, from the harmful effects of ionising and un-ionising radiation.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

The ACMA is a 'converged' regulator, created to bring together the threads of the evolving communications universe.

International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP)

ICNIRP is a publicly-funded body of independent scientific experts consisting of a main Commission of 14 members, a Scientific Expert Group and its Project Groups. The expertise is brought to bear on addressing the important issues of possible adverse effects on human health of exposure to non-ionizing radiation.