WANRI Medical Research

WANRI, the Western Australian Neuroscience Research Institute, is a medical research institute focusing on neurological conditions. It brings together a dedicated group of researchers and clinicians, many pre-eminent in their fields.

WANRI – or the Australian Neuromuscular Research Institute (ANRI) as it was formerly called – has a long tradition spread over more than 30 years of scientific innovation and discovery. This has led to major breakthroughs in our understanding of the origins of neurological disorders and provided insights into the diagnosis and treatment of this debilitating group of diseases. WANRI continues to inspire, training the next generation of researchers though the supervision of graduate and postgraduate students.

WANRI’s research is grouped into the following themes; Genetics, Neurobiology - which includes Stroke and Brain Cancer, Clinical Research, Restorative Neurology and Neuropathology.

Key Research Groups


Research on the molecular genetics of inherited neurological and neuromuscular disorders, and on new therapeutic approaches.

Research Group:

Molecular Genetics Therapies

WANRI’s Molecular Therapies Laboratory (MTL) led by Professor Steve Wilton and Professor Sue Fletcher has a long history of cutting-edge research on novel genetic therapies for neuromuscular disorders, particularly Duchenne muscular dystrophy. More

Neurobiology - Stroke and Brain Cancer

Cellular and molecular research on the causes, diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders.… .. … ……….. ………… …………………………..

Research Groups:

Stroke Research Group

The objective of WANRI’s Stroke Research Group led by Adjunct Associate Professor Bruno Meloni and Clinical Professor Neville Knuckey is to develop treatments to minimise brain damage after stroke and cerebral ischaemia. Stroke is Australia’s second biggest killer after coronary heart disease and a leading cause of disability. One in six people will suffer from a stroke during their lifetime with over 400,000 Australians currently living with the debilitating aftereffects of the disorder. By 2032, it is estimated that over 700,000 Australian will be living with the effects of stroke. More

Brain Inflammation and Cancer Group

WANRI’s Brain Inflammation and Cancer Group led by Dr Sherif Boulos is exploring the molecular processes involved in neurological disorders, including the complex processes underlying neuro-inflammation.

Even after more than 50 years of research and despite the advent of new techniques in molecular and cell biology, we continue to have only a limited understanding of the complexity of the molecular processes underlying normal brain function and the way these are impaired in neurological disorders. More

Clinical Research

Clinical research on neurological disorders.… .. … ……….. ………… ….

Research Groups:


WANRI’s specialist clinics provide diagnosis, management and treatment for patients with complex neurological and neuromuscular diseases. Such conditions include Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders such as Essential Tremor and dystonia, Multiple Sclerosis, Inflammatory Muscle Diseases including Inclusion Body Myositis and polymyositis as well as a variety of unusual and rare muscle and nerve diseases. Currently recruiting for MS and stroke trials and the Australian Parkinson’s Disease Registry (APDR). More

Demyelinating Diseases Research Group

The Demyelinating Diseases Research Group, led by Clinical Professor Allan Kermode, is dedicated to investigating the causes of multiple sclerosis (MS) and improving the treatment and management of those suffering from MS and related diseases. More

Myositis Research Group

The Myositis Research Group has a longstanding interest in the investigation of clinical, genetic and immunological aspects of the inflammatory myopathies (IBM), with a particular focus on inclusion body myositis, the most common muscle disease associated with aging. The inflammatory myopathies are a rare group of diseases that involve chronic muscle inflammation (myositis), accompanied by muscle weakness. Chronic inflammatory myopathies are autoimmune disorders, in which the body’s white blood cells (that normally fight disease) attack normal muscle fibres, and other tissues. More

Restorative Neurology

Research to improve functional recovery after neurological disease or injury.

Research Groups:

Brain Plasticity

WANRI’s Brain Plasticity Research, which includes non-invasive brain stimulation, has been in operation for 25 years and is now being led by Clinical Professor Soumya Ghosh. More

Clinical Psychology

Research in clinical psychology is a developing field of importance to a range of neurological diseases. With research interests in neuroplasticity, neurorehabilitation and the use of holistic biopsychosocial individual and group therapeutic programs, the Clinical Psychology Research Unit led by Associate Professor Michelle Byrnes undertakes research on individuals with a range of neurological disorders, including stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. More

Centre for Restorative Neurology

The Centre for Restorative Neurology is a new initiative focusing on research to improve functional recovery of patients after neurological illness or injury (including stroke, head injury, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis). Led by Clinical Professor Soumya Ghosh, this research is multidisciplinary and uses state-of-the-art methodologies, including robotic arm therapy, balance assessment and therapy, cognitive assessment and therapy and non-invasive brain stimulation. More



Emeritus Professor Byron Kakulas AO continues his neuropathological research in the areas of restorative neurology of spinal cord injuries, Alzheimer’s disease and ALS (motor neurone disease).

Full Biography