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Personal profile


Professor Terence (Terry) OBrien MB, BS, MD, FRACP, FRCPE, FAHMS, FAES is Chair of Medicine (Neurology) and Head of The Central Clinical School, Monash University, and Program Director Alfred Brain and Deputy Director of Research, Alfred Health. He is the former Van Cleef Roet Chair of Neuroscience, Monash University (2017-20) and James Stewart Chair of Medicine, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne (2008-2017). 

The mission of the Central Clinical that he leads is to undertake high quality, internationally significant, research, research training and teaching across a broad range of basic and clinical medical fields, and to translate these to improve treatment and outcomes of patients. The School has 16 Departments and Centres (https://www.monash.edu/medicine/ccs/centres), and is part of the Sub-Faculty of Translational Medicine and Public Health led by Foundation Dean, Professor Stephen Jane.


Professor Terence J. O’Brien is a specialist in neurology and clinical pharmacology, with particular expertise in epilepsy and neurodegenerative diseases, neuropharmacology, pre-clincal and clinical drug development, 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 is currently the President of the Epilepsy Society of Australia (ESA).

Professor O'Brien leads a large translational research team undertaking both basic studies and clinical studies focused on developing improved treatments and biomarkers for people with epilepsy and related brain diseases, including traumatic brain injury, dementias and brain tumours. He has published >500 peer-reviewed original papers in leading scientific and medical journals which have been cited ≈20,000 times (H-Index 75) (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 Prof. O’Brien has trained students and fellows from many countries of the world, including Holland, Belgium, France, United Kingdom, Brazil, Israel, India, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia and China. He has supervised to completion 36 doctoral students, 8 masters students, 61 honours/medical research students, and 13 post-doctoral research fellows. Many of his former students/fellows have gone on to obtain independent NHMRC funding, or the equivalent, for their research, and to be significant research and/or clinical leaders in their own right.

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

President, The Epilepsy Society of Australia

1 Nov 2018 → …

Program Director, Alfred Brain, Alfred Health

1 Jul 2018 → …

Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne

1 Dec 2017 → …

Director of Neurology, Alfred Health

1 Oct 2017 → …

Research area keywords

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


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