Research Overview

The Department of Neurosurgery at the Royal Melbourne Hospital is the busiest neurosurgical unit in Australia, sitting in the heart of the Parkville Biomedical precinct, and provides a comprehensive inpatient service for patients with neurosurgical diseases, with a clinical and referral service for patients with intracranial, spinal and peripheral nerve disorders requiring neurosurgical assessment and treatment.

Our lab focuses on brain tumours and epilepsy. We aim to understand the neurobiology of brain tumours, particularly glioma. 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.

The Department is one of the few genuinely academic Neurosurgery Departments in Australasia. It has active clinical and laboratory research programs that augment each of the clinical specialised programs undertaken by the Department alone and in conjunction with the Departments of Neurology, Radiology and Oncology. Data and tissue collection are central to the work of the Department. Most clinical programs are involved with national and international clinical trials. The specialised clinical programs include: Brain Tumours, Cerebrovascular Surgery, Spinal Disorders, Neurotrauma, Neuro-endocrinology, Epilepsy and Functional and Pain Neurosurgery. The Department has an active research, fellowship and teaching program at both an undergraduate and postgraduate level for medical, nursing and allied health staff. Enquiries for fellowships in Neuro-Oncology and Spinal Surgery are welcomed as are enquiries for PhD supervision.

The particular areas of research include:

Brain Tumours
Associate Professor Andrew Morokoff, Mr James Dimou, Professor Kate Drummond

  • Establishing circulating micro-RNA as a biomarker in glioma
  • Understanding and overcoming tumour resistance in glioma
  • Molecular mechanisms of brain tumour associated epilepsy
  • Understanding and improving the health-related quality of life in brain tumours
  • Phase 0 or "window of opportunity" clinical trials in glioma
  • Organoids to investigate novel glioma therapies

Cerebrovascular Diseases
Associate Professor John Laidlaw, Mr Alex Adamides

  • Brain oxygen neuromonitoring in severe head injury (NHMRC funded BONANZA trial)
  • Post-traumatic epilepsy (International multicentre Epibio Study)

Mr Alex Adamides, Associate Professor Andrew Morokoff, Professor Kate Drummond

  • Brain oxygen neuromonitoring in severe head injury (NHMRC funded BONANZA trial)
  • Post-traumatic epilepsy (International multicentre Epibio Study)

Professor Kate Drummond

  • Centre for Research Excellence in Neuroimaging awarded 2019

Skull Base Surgery
Mr Nicholas Hall, Associate Professor Andrew Morokoff

  • Investigating how low stimulus facial nerve monitoring thresholds predict outcome following acoustic neuroma surgery.

Functional Neurosurgery
Mr Girish Nair

  • World-first trial of stereotactic stem cell injection for Parkinson’s disease.

Research Publications

View Professor Kate Drummond's latest PubMed publications here

  1. Intracranial multiple myeloma with intraparenchymal involvement: Case report and literature review. Jun BK, Ho B, Yuen T.J Clin Neurosci. 2019 Jan;59:335-337.
  2. Familial intracranial ependymoma mimicking an extra-lesion: A case report and review of the literature. Chen BY, Praeger A, Christie M, Yuen T.J Clin Neurosci. 2020 Apr;74:250-253.
  3. Is establishing a specialist back pain assessment and management service in primary care a safe and effective model? Twelve-month results from the Back pain Assessment Clinic (BAC) prospective cohort pilot study. Moi JHY, Phan U, de Gruchy A, Liew D, Yuen TI, Cunningham JE, Wicks IP.BMJ Open. 2018 Oct 10;8(10):e019275.

Research Projects

This Research Group doesn't currently have any projects

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Cancer in Medicine

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Professor Kate Drummond

Department / Centre


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