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Bill J. Yates, PhD

  • Professor, Departments of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Neuroscience

Dr. Yates is Editor-in-Chief of Experimental Brain Research. He is also a member of the Board of Directors, Americans for Medical Progress, and on the Ethics Committee for International Union of Physiological Sciences. Additionally, he is a board member for the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology (Representative for American Physiological Society).


    Education & Training

  • Rockefeller University, Postdoc, Neurophysiology
  • University of Florida, PhD, Neuroscience
  • University of Florida, BS, Neuroscience
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Kenneth E. Schuit Award, Recognizing the Dean’s Master Educators, 2021
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Excellence in Education Award, 2020-2022
Research Interests

Since 1990, the NIH has funded Dr. Yate's studies of the influences of the vestibular system on cardiovascular regulation. At the time he initiated these studies, there was rudimentary evidence that inputs from the vestibular system affect sympathetic nervous system activity, but his work was key in defining the physiological role of the vestibular system in regulating blood distribution in the body during movement and changes in posture. He also determined the neural pathways through which vestibulo-sympathetic interactions occur. Currently, he is ascertaining the effects of planning of movement on reflexes that participate in cardiovascular control. His work has been a springboard for studies by a number of investigators, who have demonstrated the physiological importance of vestibulo-cardiovascular influences in a variety of species, including humans.

Another theme of Dr. Yate's work since 1993 is the neurobiology of motion sickness. He has one of the few laboratories that utilized modern neuroanatomical techniques and single unit recordings to define the neural circuitry that generates nausea and vomiting. As part of this work, he employed transneuronal tracing techniques soon after it's inception to determine the pathways that elicit the co-contraction of respiratory muscles that result in emesis. By making of use of a novel statistical approach for analyzing Fos labeling patterns, he also defined the networks of neurons that are activated during motion sickness. Other experiments focused on the integration of emetic signals by brainstem neurons that participate in generating nausea and vomiting.

Dr. Yate's third long-standing research theme is multisensory integration by the vestibular system. He has demonstrated that somatosensory and visceral signals from all body regions shape the responses of vestibular nucleus and cerebellar neurons to labyrinthine inputs. As part of this work, he also demonstrated that nonlabyrinthine inputs can substitute for lost vestibular signals following a bilateral labyrinthectomy. Although a number of laboratories have investigated neck afferent influences on the processing of vestibular signals, few other than his have considered effects of sensory inputs from other body regions on the activity of vestibulospinal pathways.

Dr. Yate's fourth contribution to science has been in the arena of research ethics. He has contributed a number of lectures and manuscripts to the topic, particularly in relation to balancing regulatory burden with regulatory compliance. Another interest of Dr. Yate's has been improving strategies that regulatory offices can employ to maintain good relationships with investigators. These strategies were formulated while he served as Chair of the University of Pittsburgh’s IACUC and Co-Director of the University’s Research Conduct and Compliance Office. A more recent interest of his is publication ethics, which emerged from his role as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Neurophysiology.


Research Grants

B.J. Yates, MPI
C.D. Balaban, MPI
23% effort


Multisensory Integration Producing Nausea
and Vomiting

K. Kandler, MPI
B. J. Yates, MPI
10% effort
Training in Auditory and Vestibular