Epilepsy is the second most common serious neurological disorder in the community, with approximately 9% of the population having a seizure at some stage in their lifetime and 3% developing epilepsy.

The epilepsies are a common group of chronic neurological conditions that are characterized by recurrent spontaneous unprovoked epileptic seizures. Epilepsy research at the MBC-RMH includes clinical trials to assess new and established anti-epileptic medications, to identify potential epilepsy susceptibility genes, and determine individual variability in drug response. There is strong emphasis on applying the knowledge gained in pharmacogenomics research into clinical practice through the development of technology-based testing systems and evaluating the health economics of personalized medicine. Longitudinal studies investigating clinical outcomes and quality of life following new onset seizures and treatment for epilepsy are currently being conducted in collaboration with the MBC Austin. In addition, collaborations within MBC-RMH have led to cross-disciplinary projects investigating tumour-associated epilepsy, neurodegenerative diseases and psychiatric conditions.


Dr Piero Perucca


Piero Perucca, MD, PhD, FRACP is a Consultant Neurologist and Epileptologist at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, where he heads the First Seizure Clinic and the Epilepsy Assessment Clinic, and at Alfred Health.


He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Neuroscience, Central Clinical School, Monash University. He is also an Honorary Senior Fellow at the Melbourne Medical School, The University of Melbourne. He leads research in epilepsy genetics, electroencephalography, the pharmacological and surgical treatment of epilepsy, and genomic and electrophysiological biomarkers of epilepsy outcomes.

Professor Terence O'Brien


Terence O’Brien, MB, BS, MD, FRACP, FRCPE, FAHMS, FAES, is The Van Cleef Roet Professor of Medicine (Neurology) and Head, Department of Neuroscience, Monash University and Program Director, Alfred Brain, Director of Neurology and Deputy Director of Research, Alfred Health. He was formerly The University of Melbourne’s James Stewart Chair of Medicine and Head, The Department of Medicine, The Royal Melbourne Hospitals (2008-17), where he continues as a consultant neurologist as part of the combined RMH-Alfred Epilepsy Program. He is a specialist in neurology and clinical pharmacology, with particular expertise in epilepsy and neurodegenerative diseases, pre-clinical and clinical trials, and in-vivo imaging in animal models and humans.


He leads a large translational research team across both sites 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. He has been involved as a Principle Investigator in more than 80 commercially sponsored and investigator initiated trials of new treatments for epilepsy, dementias, headache, movement disorders, and new PET radiotracers.


New projects:

  • Commenced large dual-centre (RMH & Austin Health) study of mortality after a new diagnosis of epilepsy. This innovative study comprises multiple data linkages between two large new-onset patient cohorts and three national Australian health databases. Principal Investigator Dr Anne McIntosh

  • Delay to diagnosis in new-onset epilepsy. The first paper from this study has been identified in an international review publication as one of the 5 important papers published internationally in clinical epilepsy in 2015. This study comprises collaboration between RMH & Austin Health epilepsy centres. Principal Investigator Dr Anne McIntosh


  • The Epilepsy Bioinformatics Study for Antiepileptogenic Therapy. Principal Investigator: Prof. Terence O’Brien. Co- investigators: A/Prof. Nigel Jones, Dr. Sandy Shultz, Dr. Andrew Morokoff and Prof. Patrick Kwan

  • A Phase 2A, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo- Controlled, Multi-Center, Multiple-Dose Study to Assess the Safety and Efficacy of a cannabinol treatment (ZYN002) administered as a Transdermal Gel to Patients with Partial Onset Seizures Synthetic Transdermal Cannabidiol for the Treatment of Epilepsy (STAR 1). Principal Investigator: Prof. Terence O’Brien

  • A Pilot Study to Assess a new device for continuous Intracerebroventricular (ICV) Delivery of anti-epileptic drugs in Subjects with Focal Seizures, with Temporal Lobe Onset with or without Secondary Generalization (Cerebral Therapeutics LLC). Principal Investigators: Prof. Terence O’Brien, Dr. Andrew Morokoff


Epilepsy research

Melbourne Brain Centre at Royal Melbourne Hospital (MBC-RMH)

Royal Melbourne Hospital
Grattan Street

Parkville, Victoria 3052,

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