1993 …2023
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Personal profile


Professor Terence (Terry) OBrien is the Van Cleef Roet Chair of Medicine (Neurology), Head of Central Clinical School's Department of Neuroscience, Monash University, and Director of Neurology, Alfred Health. The mission of the Department of Neuroscience is to undertake high quality, internationally significant, research, research training and teaching across a broad range of basic and clinical neuroscience fields, and to translate these to improve treatment and outcomes of patients with neurological diseases. The Department has 17 research groups investigating a wide variety of brain diseases, including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and other neuroinflammatory conditions, neurodegenerative diseases, neurocognitive and neuropsychiatric disorders, headache and pain, neuromuscular diseases, brain tumours, stroke and traumatic brain injury. See more about the Department of Neuroscience's research areas from their Bachelor of Medical Science (Honours) projects on offer.


Terence J. O’Brien, MB, BS, MD, FRACP, FRCPE, FAHMS, FAES, is The Van Cleef Roet Professor of Medicine (Neurology), Head, Departments of Neuroscience and Medicine, and Deputy Head of School, Central Clinical School, Monash University. He is also Director of Neurology at Alfred Health. He was formally The James Stewart Chair of Medicine, The Department of Medicine, The Royal Melbourne Hospitals (2008-17). He is a specialist in neurology and clinical pharmacology, with particular expertise in epilepsy and neurodegenerative diseases, neuropharmacology and in-vivo imaging in animal models and humans. He did his clinical and research training at St. Vincent’s and Royal Melbourne Hospitals in Melbourne, and then the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA (1995-1998). He leads a large translational research team undertaking both basic studies and clinical studies focused on developing improved treatments for people with epilepsy and related brain diseases, including traumatic brain injury, dementias and brain tumours. The work has had two primary goals: First to better understand the determinants of treatment response, identify biomarkers for treatment outcomes – imaging, electrophysiological, genomic and clinical, and develop new treatment approaches. Second to investigate the fundamental neurobiological basis, and inter-relationship, of the neuropsychiatric co-morbidities present in many patients with epilepsy and neurodegenerative conditions. He has published more than 385 peer-reviewed original papers in leading scientific and medical journals which have been cited 13,000 times (H-Index 60) (https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=83LmNvMAAAAJ&hl=en).

He has received 17 awards for his research from national and international scientific bodies, including the Ambassador for Epilepsy Award of the International League Against Epilepsy (2017), Bethlehem Griffiths Research Foundation Medal (2017), The Dreifuss-Penry Epilepsy Award of the American Academy of Neurology (2006), The Eccles Lecturer and Medallion of The Australian Neuroscience Society and The Neurosurgical Society of Australia (2011), and Election as Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (2016).

 Prof. O’Brien has attracted post-doctoral, doctoral and undergraduate students and fellows from many countries to train and work in his basic and clinical programs. This includes supervised to completion multiple research doctoral students (27), research masters students (7) and undergraduate research students (51), post-doctoral fellows (11) and clinical epilepsy fellows (13).

External positions

Professorial Fellow, The University of Melbourne

1 Dec 2017 → …

Director of Neurology, The Alfred

1 Oct 2017 → …

Consultant Neurologist, The Royal Melbourne Hospital

1998 → …

Professorial Fellow, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health


  • neurodegenerative diseases
  • traumatic brain injury
  • stroke
  • brain tumours
  • neuroinflammation
  • epilepsy
  • Neuroscience
  • Neurology
  • cognitive disorders

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Projects 2018 2023

Research Output 1993 2018

7T-fMRI: Faster temporal resolution yields optimal BOLD sensitivity for functional network imaging specifically at high spatial resolution

Yoo, P. E., John, S. E., Farquharson, S., Cleary, J. O., Wong, Y. T., Ng, A., Mulcahy, C. B., Grayden, D. B., Ordidge, R. J., Opie, N. L., O'Brien, T. J., Oxley, T. J. & Moffat, B. A., 1 Jan 2018, In : NeuroImage. 164, p. 214-229 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

An ovine model of cerebral catheter venography for implantation of an endovascular neural interface

Oxley, T. J., Opie, N. L., Rind, G. S., Liyanage, K., John, S. E., Ronayne, S., McDonald, A. J., Dornom, A., Lovell, T. J. H., Mitchell, P. J., Bennett, I., Bauquier, S., Warne, L. N., Steward, C., Grayden, D. B., Desmond, P., Davis, S. M., O'Brien, T. J. & May, C. N., 1 Apr 2018, In : Journal of Neurosurgery. 128, 4, p. 1020-1027 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Anti-epileptic drug exposure and risk of foetal death in utero

Vajda, F. J. E., O'Brien, T. J., Graham, J., Hitchcock, A. A., Lander, C. M. & Eadie, M. J., 1 Jan 2018, In : Acta Neurologica Scandinavica. 137, 1, p. 20-23 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

CaV3.2 drives sustained burst-firing, which is critical for absence seizure propagation in reticular thalamic neurons

Cain, S. M., Tyson, J. R., Choi, H. B., Ko, R., Lin, P. J. C., Ledue, J. M., Powell, K. L., Bernier, L. P., Rungta, R. L., Yang, Y., Cullis, P. R., O'Brien, T. J., Macvicar, B. A. & Snutch, T. P., Apr 2018, In : Epilepsia. 59, 4, p. 778-791 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access

Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarkers are Differentially Related to Structural and Functional Changes in Dementia of the Alzheimer's Type

Malpas, C. B., Saling, M. M., Velakoulis, D., Desmond, P., Hicks, R. J., Zetterberg, H., Blennow, K. & O'Brien, T. J., 1 Jan 2018, In : Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. 62, 1, p. 417-427 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review