Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a perplexing and persistent problem affecting 11 per cent of the world?s population.

IBS has a significant impact on the quality of life of up to one in five Australians, meaning that someone close to you today is likely to be affected by this recurring and debilitating gut disorder. The current diagnostic process is time-consuming, costly and elusive, unnecessarily clogging up our health system.

Patients are typically referred to a specialised to undergo a colonoscopy to exclude all other gut disorders. This means that many patients undergoing one of the 900,000 colonoscopies performed in Australia each year do so for no reason.

The Noisy Guts Project is the brainchild of Professor Barry Marshall. Our solution is an acoustic belt that listens, records and analyses gut noises. We use existing and proven acoustic sensing technology initially designed to pick up the sounds of termites.

Our research shows a strong correlation between gut noises and gut disorders. Our product capitalises on today?s trend of wearable technology and is supported by a smartphone app that records symptoms. Our acoustic belt works similarly to the way in which an ECG monitors your heart rate. The end result is a safe, non-invasive screening, monitoring and diagnostic tool.

Noisy Guts: treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Call for volunteers - Can your rumbling tummy tell us something?

There is existing data to indicate strong correlations between bowel sounds characteristics and gut conditions. However, we are planning a new study to gather additional sound data to help us develop the belt.

We need adult volunteers with: 

  • healthy guts,
  • a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome, or
  • a diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease
to come an sit in our comfy armchairs at the Marshall Centre, relax and wear the belt. We have some weekend spots available for volunteers who work in the week. If you are interested in helping and want to find out more. Please check out our Crowd Research at UWA Participate Page.

We also need donations to help us with resources for the project.

Donations will help us build additional belts, so that we can gather vital data as soon as possible. You can support us by donating online at our Contribute Page.



Penfold Family Marshall Centre PhD Top-Up Scholarship

We are currently seeking an outstanding PhD candidate trained in medicine or health sciences to join the team in 2018. Suitable candidates will have a background in gastroenterology and/or an understanding of statistics and trial design.

An understanding of statistical measures of the validity and reliability of diagnostic and screening tests would be highly valuable.

The candidate will need to apply for PhD enrolment and scholarships through the iAthena Scholarships online application system in the International/Domestic Scholarships Round 1 2018.  They will also be eligible for the Penfold Family Marshall Centre PhD Top-Up Scholarship. This scholarship includes a $20,000 per annum living allowance plus an operating allowance for research project expenses of $5,000.

Stephen and Barbara Penfold have supported many PhD top-up scholarships in the medical science field since they saw their own son struggle on a PhD stipend. This scholarship will enable a medical or health sciences candidate to undertake PhD research related to irritable bowel syndrome under the supervision of Professor Barry Marshall. This will directly contribute to the Noisy Guts Project.

Applications open on 1 September 2017, but interested applicants are encouraged to contact Dr Mary Webberley prior to the opening of the round.

More information is available on the UWA scholarships pages.




  • McCusker Charitable Foundation

Further information