Professor Steven Petrou appointed Director of the Florey

A world leading PhD trained neuroscientist has been appointed Director of the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health following an extensive and rigorous six month worldwide search by the international recruitment firm, Odgers Berndston.

Professor Steven Petrou, whose research focuses on the biology of disease and therapy development in neurogenetic disorders, will also head the Florey Department at the University of Melbourne and lead neuroscience within the Parkville Precinct.

“In my new role as Director of the Florey I will work with the many talented people across the Institute and University to expand our quest to improve the lives of patients with brain disorders through world class research and translation into better patient outcomes” – Professor Steven Petrou.

The Florey is home to more than 600 staff and students who are dedicated to solving some of the most intractable diseases and disorders of the brain including epilepsy, dementia, stroke and mental illnesses.

A Deputy Director at the Florey since 2012 and the head of a successful laboratory which has earned continuous funding for the past 20 years, Professor Petrou’s rigorous approach to research and ability to translate this research into commercial outcomes is the result of his focus on interdisciplinary research.

Successfully amalgamating physics, engineering, computation, cell and molecular biology, genetics, neurobiology and clinical research, Professor Petrou’s research seeks to improve the lives of patients with neurogenetic diseases. As a leader in the area of precision medicine in epilepsy, he has published key papers that not only describe novel disease mechanisms but also identify a number of treatment modalities including repurposing of existing drugs, novel small molecule development and gene therapy. Collaborating nationally and internationally with leading clinicians and scientists, Professor Petrou has co-founded two biotech companies to commercially develop new treatments for patients with epilepsy and related disorders.

Globally recognised, he sits on major committees for the world’s two peak bodies in epilepsy and is an editorial board member for key international journals. Professor Petrou’s election as a Fellow of the Academy of Health and Medical Sciences in 2015 demonstrates the regard in which he is held by his peers.

Professor Petrou takes over from stroke neurologist Professor Geoffrey Donnan AO who has led the Florey for the past 11 years. Professor Petrou will build on the legacy of Florey Directors before him including Professors Derek Denton, John Coghlan and Frederick Mendelsohn as he leads the Institute into a new era of local and international collaboration, and excellence on the world stage.