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

Noisy Guts in action

Thanks to The McCusker Charitable Foundation, the Noisy Guts Project has made great progress toward using bowel sounds to diagnose and monitor common gut disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Our preliminary studies have achieved promising results and we can currently diagnose IBS with 87% accuracy.

Recent highlights:

  • presented our initial results data at the world's premier gastrointestinal conference in Chicago in June 2018
  • submitted 3 peer-reviewed journal publications
  • filed a provisional patent
  • conducted 140+ customer discovery interviews with key stakeholders to understand the lived experience of IBS patients 
  • created a literary of over 300 recordings
  • underwent commercialisation training with CSIRO ON Prime & ON Accelerate, Ignition and Start Something
  • built our media profile, including securing an audience of over 1 million viewers for a segment on Channel 7s Today Tonight 

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 or 2019. Suitable candidates will have a background in biotech, artificial intelligence, gastroenterology and/or an understanding of statistics and clinical 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 2 2018 (or early 2019 round).  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.

Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Dr Mary Webberley in the first instance. 

More information is available on the UWA scholarships pages.


  • The McCusker Charitable Foundation

Further information