Brain Tumours and Epilepsy

Research Overview

Our lab focuses on brain tumours and epilepsy. We aim to understand the neurobiology of brain tumours, particularly glioma, the most common cancer of the brain. Our current major project is discovering new blood-based biomarkers for glioma diagnosis and monitoring using microRNA and DNA. We also focus on understanding the role of glioma stem cells and their underlying genotypes in progression of glioma and using stem cell organoid cultures as a basis for discovering new molecular-targeted treatments for glioma. We also work on the neuroscience behind how brain tumours cause epileptic seizures and have published on the role that the glutamate neurotransmitters play.

We collaborate closely with the neurosurgery and neuro-oncology services at the Royal Melbourne Hospital where we are involved in clinical trials in neuro-oncology patients. We have close researcher collaborations around the Parkville Precinct including the WEHI, VCCC/Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute and the Florey. We also work in collaboration with international experts in Israel, the UK and Toronto, Canada.

We have been grateful to be funded by the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, Brain Foundation Australia, NHMRC and the Royal Melbourne Hospital Neuroscience Foundation.

Human Glioma Stem Cells

Human Glioma Stem Cells growing in culture.


Dr Hong Nguyen

Dr Jordan Jones

Dr James Dimou

Research Publications

  1. Rodney Luwor, Andrew P. Morokoff, Stephanie Amiridis, Giovanna D’Abaco, Lucia Paradiso, Stanley S. Stylli, Hong P. T. Nguyen, Mark Tarleton, Kelly A. Young, Terence J. O’Brien, Phillip J. Robinson, Megan Chircop, Adam McCluskey & Nigel C. Jones (2019) Targeting Glioma Stem Cells by Functional Inhibition of Dynamin 2: A Novel Treatment Strategy for Glioblastoma, Cancer Investigation, DOI: 10.1080/07357907.2019.1582060
  2. Neal, A., B. A. Moffat, J. M. Stein, R. P. R. Nanga, P. Desmond, R. T. Shinohara, H. Hariharan, R. Glarin, K. Drummond, A. Morokoff, P. Kwan, R. Reddy, T. J. O'Brien and K. A. Davis (2019). "Glutamate weighted imaging contrast in gliomas with 7Tesla magnetic resonance imaging." Neuroimage Clin 22: 101694.
  3. Atkins, R. J., Stylli, S. S., Kurganovs, N., Mangiola, S., Nowell, C. J., Ware, T. M., N. M. Corcoran, D. V. Brown, A. H. Kaye, A. Morokoff, R. B. Luwor, C. M. Hovens and Mantamadiotis, T. (2019). Cell quiescence correlates with enhanced glioblastoma cell invasion and cytotoxic resistance. Experimental Cell Research, 374(2), 353-364 doi:10.1016/j.yexcr.2018.12.010
  4. Cahill V, Sinclair B, Malpas CB, McIntosh AM, Chen Z, Vivash LE, O'Shea MF, Wilson SJ, Desmond PM, Berlangieri SU, Hicks RJ, Rowe CC, Morokoff AP, King JA, Fabinyi GC, Kaye AH, Kwan P, Berkovic SF, O'Brien TJ. Metabolic patterns and seizure outcomes following anterior temporal lobectomy. Ann Neurol. 2019;85(2):241-50. Epub 2019/01/05. doi: 10.1002/ana.25405. PubMed PMID: 30609109.
  5. Nguyen, H. P. T., Morokoff, A. P., Stylli, S. S., Kaye, A. H., & Luwor, R. B. (2018). Peripheral biomarkers in glioblastoma patients—is it all just HOTAIR? Non-coding RNA Investigation, 2, 32-32. doi:10.21037/ncri.2018.05.05
  6. Whitehead, C. A., H. P. T. Nguyen, A. P. Morokoff, R. B. Luwor, L. Paradiso, A. H. Kaye, T. Mantamadiotis and S. S. Stylli (2018). Inhibition of Radiation and Temozolomide-Induced Invadopodia Activity in Glioma Cells Using FDA-Approved Drugs. Transl Oncol 11(6): 1406-1418. doi:10.1016/j.tranon.2018.08.012
  7. Vespa PM, Shrestha V, Abend N, et al. The epilepsy bioinformatics study for anti-epileptogenic therapy (EpiBioS4Rx) clinical biomarker: Study design and protocol. Neurobiol Dis. 2018.
  8. Tubiv MA, Lutkenhoff E, Blanco MB, et al. Early seizures and temporal lobe trauma predict post-traumatic epilepsy: A longitudinal study. Neurobiol Dis. 2018.
  9. Neal A, Kwan P, O'Brien TJ, Buckland ME, Gonzales M, Morokoff A (2018) IDH1 and IDH2 mutations in postoperative diffuse glioma-associated epilepsy. Epilepsy Behav 78: 30-36 doi:10.1016/j.yebeh.2017.10.027
  10. Ma C, Nguyen HPT, Luwor RB, Stylli SS, Gogos A, Paradiso L, Kaye AH, Morokoff AP (2018) A comprehensive meta-analysis of circulation miRNAs in glioma as potential diagnostic biomarker. PLoS One 13: e0189452 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0189452
  11. Mao, L., Whitehead, C. A., Paradiso, L., Kaye, A. H., Morokoff, A. P., Luwor, R. B., & Stylli, S. S. (2018). Enhancement of invadopodia activity in glioma cells by sublethal doses of irradiation and temozolomide. Journal of Neurosurgery, 129(3), 598-610. doi:10.3171/2017.5.JNS17845
  12. Neal A, Kwan P, Morokoff A, O’Brien TJ. Post-operative seizure prophylaxis in gliomas. Transl Cancer Res 2017;6(Suppl 6):S1006-S1009. doi: 10.21037/tcr.2017.06.51
  13. Whitehead C, Luwor R, Morokoff A, Kaye A, Stylli S. Cancer exosomes in cerebrospinal fluid. 2017 Translational Cancer Research 6, S1352-S1370. Doi: 10.21037/tcr.2017.08.31
  14. Brown, D. V., G. Filiz, P. M. Daniel, F. Hollande, S. Dworkin, S. Amiridis, N. Kountouri, W. Ng, A. P. Morokoff and T. Mantamadiotis (2017). "Expression of CD133 and CD44 in glioblastoma stem cells correlates with cell proliferation, phenotype stability and intra-tumor heterogeneity." PLoS One 12(2): e0172791. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0172791
  15. Gourlay J, Morokoff AP, Luwor RB, Zhu HJ, Kaye AH, Stylli SS. The emergent role of exosomes in glioma. J Clin Neurosci. Jan 2017; 35:13-23.
  16. Tully PA, Gogos AJ, Love C, Liew D, Drummond KJ, Morokoff AP. Reoperation for Recurrent Glioblastoma and Its Association with Survival Benefit. Neurosurgery. Nov 2016;79(5):678-689.
  17. Neal A, Morokoff A, O'Brien TJ, Kwan P. Postoperative seizure control in patients with tumor-associated epilepsy. Epilepsia. Nov 2016;57(11):1779-1788.
  18. Bennett IE, Field KM, Hovens CM, Morokoff AP et al. Early perfusion MRI predicts survival outcome in patients with recurrent glioblastoma treated with bevacizumab and carboplatin. (2017) J Neurooncol. 131(2):321-329. doi: 10.1007/s11060-016-2300-0. Epub 2016 Nov 28.
  19. Neal A, Yuen T, Bjorksten AR, Kwan P, O'Brien TJ, Morokoff A. Peritumoural glutamate correlates with post-operative seizures in supratentorial gliomas. J Neurooncol 2016 129(2):259-67. PMID: 27311724
  20. Areeb Z, Stylli SS, Ware TM, Harris NC, Shukla L, Shayan R, Paradiso L, Li B, Morokoff AP, Kaye AH, Luwor RB. Inhibition of glioblastoma cell proliferation, migration and invasion by the proteasome antagonist carfilzomib. Med Oncol. 2016 May;33(5):53. doi: 10.1007/s12032-016-0767-3. Epub 2016 Apr 20. PubMed PMID: 27098175.
  21. Siegal T, Charbit H, Paldor I, Zelikovitch B, Canello T, Benis A, Wong ML, Morokoff AP, Kaye AH, Lavon I (2016) Dynamics of circulating hypoxia-mediated miRNAs and tumor response in patients with high-grade glioma treated with bevacizumab. J Neurosurg 125: 1008-1015 doi:10.3171/2015.8.JNS15437
  22. Areeb Z, Stylli SS, Koldej R, Ritchie DS, Siegal T, Morokoff AP, Kaye AH, Luwor RB (2015) MicroRNA as potential biomarkers in Glioblastoma. J Neurooncol 125: 237-248 doi:10.1007/s11060-015-1912-0
  23. Bennett, I. E., Guo, H., Kountouri, N., D'Abaco G, M., Hovens, C. M., Moffat, B. A., Desmond, P., Drummond, K., Kaye, A. H., and Morokoff, A. P. (2015). Preoperative biomarkers of tumour vascularity are elevated in patients with glioblastoma multiforme. J Clin Neurosci 22, 1802-1808.

Research Projects

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Cancer in Medicine

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Associate Professor Andrew Morokoff

Department / Centre


Unit / Centre

Brain Tumours and Epilepsy

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