Stroke Research Group

Research Overview

Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability and the second most common cause of death in adults in the developed world.  1 in 6 people worldwide will suffer a stroke during their lifetime. Clinicians usually distinguish two different types of stroke, ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked. This causes part of the brain that is supplied by that vessel to stop functioning, as the brain depends on adequate supply of blood and oxygen in order for it to function normally. Depending on the part of the brain that is involved, this may cause different symptoms such as weakness, loss of sensation, loss of balance, loss of vision, or speech difficulty. If blood flow is not restored urgently, the part of the brain that is threatened may be permanently damaged, a process known as infarction. In a hemorrhagic stroke, the wall of a blood vessel in the brain becomes fragile and leaky allowing blood to escape from the circulation and into the brain tissue. This causes damage to the surrounding brain.

Research Focus

The stroke research group works to improve acute stroke management and secondary stroke prevention through a variety of research projects, as well as improving the rehabilitation and recovery from stroke. Our research focus over the next 5 years encompasses:

  1. PRE-HOSPITAL INTERVENTIONS: “THE GOLDEN HOUR”. Using the paradigm that “time is brain”, we will utilize technological advances in the pre-hospital setting to test current and novel interventions likely to lead to improved clinical outcomes.
  2. ACUTE HOSPITAL INTERVENTIONS: THE NEXT FRONTIER. To expand our current strategy using advanced brain imaging to identify treatment responders in ischemic stroke. This will include validating a new IV lytic (TNK), direct endovascular intervention, and increasing the population for current strategies (IV tPA 4.5-9 hours and wake-up stroke).
  3. BRAIN RECOVERY: DRUG INTERVENTIONS AND BIOMARKERS. To determine which imaging and blood-based biomarkers will predict a favourable response to treatment with fluoxetine on functional outcome after stroke.
  4. CHANGING PRACTICE: IMPLEMENTATION TO IMPROVE OUTCOMES. To identify optimal strategies for triage and management of patients by utilizing reperfusion therapies. These are aimed at increasing uptake of tPA and endovascular thrombectomy in Australia.


  • A/Prof Peter Hand, co-head of Stroke Unit at RMH
  • A/Prof Bruce Campbell, Head of Hyperacute Stroke at RMH
  • A/Prof Bernard Yan, Neurointerventionalist
  • Dr Nawaf Yassi, Consultant neurologist
  • Dr Teddy Wu, Stroke fellow
  • Dr Darshan Shah, Stroke fellow
  • Dr Henry Zhao, Stroke Fellow
  • Amy McDonald, Stroke Research Coordinator
  • Lauren Pasavento, Stroke Liaison Nurse
  • David Jackson, Stroke Research Nurse
  • Rafael Smith, Stroke Research Nurse


National Collaborations:

  • The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
  • Ambulance Victoria
  • RMH Neurointervention Service
  • NHMRC CRE in rehabilitation and Brain Recovery
  • Monash University/Florey Institute
  • Translational Public Health, Stroke and Ageing Research Group, Monash University
  • The Alfred Hospital
  • University of Tasmania

International Collaborations:

  • PRESTO group
  • Stanford University
  • The George Institute
  • University of Heidelberg
  • University of Helsinki
  • Oxford University
  • Beijing Tiantan Hospital


Funding received over the last 5 years include:

  • Davis SM, Donnan GA, Hankey G, Parsons M, Levi C, Campbell B. NHMRC Program Grant, Saving Brain and Changing Practice. $13.7M over 5 years 2017-2021.
  • Davis SM, O’Brien T, Kilpatrick T, Masters C, Desmond P, Butzkueven H, Donnan GA, Brand C. NHMRC Centre For Research Excellence in Translational Neuroscience: A modular platform fortranslating discovery into health outcomes. GNT1001216, $2,500,000 over 5 years, 2011-2015.
  • Donnan G, Davis S, Hankey G, Parsons M. NHMRC Program Grant: Improving stroke outcomes: Attenuating progression and recurrence. GNT1013612, $8,707,355 over 5 years, 2012-2016.
  • Oxley T, Burkitt A, Davis S, Grayden D, May C, Mitchell P, Horne M, Opie N. NHMRC Project Grant. GNT1062532, $1,651,666 over 5 years, 2014-2018.

Research Publications

Research Projects

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Psychiatry

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Group Leader Professor Stephen Davis

Department / Centre


Unit / Centre

Stroke Research Group

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