Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Project 1: For the first time, we will define a new role for a drug in enhancing brain repair during MS-like disease, used previously to treat people living with inherited neurological conditions. (i) We will identify how MS-like progressive symptoms can be limited by administering a drug that can reach the brain. We will specifically define the benefit this drug has in protecting cells from dying during MS-like disease. (ii) We will assess the feasibility of this drug that can readily enter the brain to exert repair by generating new cells and protecting nerve fibres. We will correlate this with clinically relevant parameters to assess the limitation of brain damage with the use of this drug. If this project is successful, and in particular, the drug is shown to be safe and efficacious in repairing the damaged brain, then the fact that it has already been tested in clinical phase trials means that a drug company can immediately trial the drug in MS patient groups that are not responding to other therapies. Therefore, this project will provide the proof-of-principle studies necessary for the drug to enter clinical phase trials in MS patients.Project 2: This will be the first study to utilise and validate genetically modified haematopoietic stem cells as the therapeutic delivery system to minimise and reverse the impact of MS progression. The research strategy uses a novel means to deliver a biological reparative agent directly to neuroinflammatory lesions, where neurodegenerative disease can propagate. Given that clinical studies using autologous bone marrow or haematopoietic stem cells of individuals have demonstrated improvement in the outcomes of MS, our novel technological advance of using these cells to deliver treatments for nervous system repair are timely and innovative. Delivering biological agents directly to areas where the disease is active will be investigated in this project to specifically limit the damage that can cause disability. Moreover, future therapeutic development of this technology may benefit individuals living with progressive MS through attenuating the extracellular disease milieu to favour repair in the adult CNS.


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Dr Steven Petratos has received his PhD in Neuropathology from the University of Melbourne during 1993-1999. He is a Senior Lecturer of Pathology in the Department of Medicine, School of Translational Medicine at Monash University, Australia.

As a neurobiologist, his research goals are to define the molecular mechanisms that govern neurodegeneration in Multiple Sclerosis. Based on this research and training in Neuropathology Steven has received several awards and honours, including:

1. Commonwealth AIDS Research Grants (CARG) Postgraduate Scholarship 1993-1996.
2. Monash University, Faculty of Medicine, Post-Doctoral Fellowship 2004
3. Monash University, Faculty of Medicine, Senior Post-Doctoral Fellowship 2005

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Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

External positions

Visiting Professor Aristotle University School of Medicine GR-541 24 Thessaloniki Greece

22 Jan 2023 → …

Research area keywords

  • stem cell therapies
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • brain disorders
  • Drug Development

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or