I read Veterinary Medicine at St. John's College, Cambridge, specialising in Zoology in my third year. I decided at that point to change career direction, and I left veterinary work to study for my doctorate under Dr Adrian Friday in the Department of Zoology in Cambridge. My PhD dissertation, submitted in 1999, was entitled The Functional Anatomy of the Middle Ear of Mammals, with an Emphasis on Fossorial Forms; my thesis examiners were Bob Presley and Jenny Clack. After this, I moved to the University of California, Los Angeles, undertaking post-doctoral research in the laboratory of Prof. Peter Narins. There, I used laser interferometry to study the vibrations of the middle ear apparatus of frogs, publishing several papers on the mechanics of the stapes, extrastapes and operculum.
Returning to Cambridge in 2001, I took a position as College Lecturer in Physiology at St Catharine's College, later moving to the Department of Physiology, Development & Neuroscience. Since 2007, I have been the first and only holder of the position of University Physiologist, but I remain Fellow and Director of Studies in Physiology at St Catharine's.
I am a Full Member of both the Anatomical Society and the Physiological Society. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.
I continue to research the structure, function and evolution of the ear in vertebrates.
Mason, M.J., Wenger, L.M.D., Hammer, Ø. & Blix, A.S. (2020) Structure and function of respiratory turbinates in phocid seals. Polar Biology 43: 157-173.
Basso, A.P., Sidorkewicj, N.S., Casanave, E.B., Mason, M.J. (2020) The middle ear of the pink fairy armadillo Chlamyphorus truncatus (Xenarthra, Cingulata, Chlamyphoridae): comparison with armadillo relatives using computed tomography. Journal of Anatomy 236: 809-826.
Goutte, S., Mason, M.J., Antoniazzi, M.M., Jared, C., Merle, D., Cazes, L., Toledo, L.F., el-Hafci, H., Pallu, S., Portier, H., Schramm, S., Gueriau, P. & Thoury, M. (2019) Intense bone fluorescence reveals hidden patterns in pumpkin toadlets. Scientific Reports 9 (5388): 1-8.
Goutte, S., Mason, M.J., Christensen-Dalsgaard, J., Montealegre-Z, F., Chivers, B.D., Sarria-S, F.A., Antoniazzi, M.M., Jared, C., Almeida Sato, L. & Toledo, L.F. (2017) Evidence of auditory insensitivity to vocalization frequencies in two frogs. Scientific Reports 7 (12121): 1-9.
Mason, M.J., Cornwall, H.L. & Smith, E.S. (2016) Ear structures of the naked mole-rat, Heterocephalus glaber, and its relatives (Rodentia: Bathyergidae). PLoS ONE 11(12): e0167079.
Burford, C.M. & Mason, M.J. (2016) Early development of the malleus and incus in humans. Journal of Anatomy 229: 857-870.
Mason, M.J. (2016) Structure and function of the mammalian middle ear. I: Large middle ears in small desert mammals. Journal of Anatomy 228: 284-299.
Mason, M.J. (2016) Structure and function of the mammalian middle ear. II: Inferring function from structure. Journal of Anatomy 228: 300-312.
Mason, M.J., Segenhout, J.M., Cobo-Cuan, A., Quiñones, P.M. & van Dijk, P. (2015) The frog inner ear: picture perfect? Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology 16: 171-188.