Professor Clive May
BSc (Hons), PhD

Group Head

Parkville Campus
30 Royal Parade
Parkville Victoria 3052

Research group
Pre-clinical Critical Care Group

Headshot_Clive May


Professor Clive May was brought to The Florey by the founding Director, Professor Derek Denton. At The Florey, he founded the Preclinical Critical Care Unit, a world-leading, sophisticated experimental operative and critical care unit. This unit creates and supports clinically relevant large animal models of disease that enable exploration of the changes in organ function that occur in critical illness. In addition, these studies provide the opportunity to develop new drugs, biomarkers and devices for testing in critically ill patients. Such experimental studies are vitally important due to the difficulty of researching critically ill patients.

Current research is focused on the causes and treatment of damage to vital organs in septic shock, heart failure, cardiopulmonary bypass and myocardial infarction. In addition, Professor May has developed numerous clinical collaborations that have enhanced the translation of his findings to the clinic. This was recognised in 2022 by the Translation Award from the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance.

Outcomes include the research that led to the development of the first new drug to treat septic shock for 20 years, which has saved many lives, a new biomarker for the detection of acute kidney injury, the Stentrode, a novel brain-machine interface that has been implanted in four patients with motor neurone disease, and demonstration that megadose sodium ascorbate reverses the effects of sepsis. This major clinical problem accounts for 20% of world deaths. Based on his research, several clinical trials on sepsis and cardiopulmonary bypass are underway in Melbourne hospitals.

Clive has been continuously funded by NHMRC since 2003 and has received grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA, and the National Heart Foundation of Australia.

Career highlights

Current roles

  • Professor, Preclinical Critical Care, The Florey
  • Affiliate, Centre for Integrated Critical Care, University of Melbourne

Past roles

  • Chair, The Florey Animal Ethics Committee (2010-2019)
  • Co-Chair, University of Melbourne, Large Animal Research Facilities Working Group (2018-2020)
  • Treasurer, Executive High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia (2011-2016)

International ranking

  • In the top 0.0027% for studies on sheep; 0.085% for sepsis; 0.13% for sympathetic nervous system and 0.15% for acute kidney injury (

Journal editorial boards

  • Guest Editor for a special edition: New Therapeutic Targets in Acute Kidney Injury. Journal of Clinical Medicine (2020)
  • Editorial board member of the American Journal of Physiology Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology (2014)
  • Editorial board member, Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology (2008-2019)
  • Guest Editor for a special series: Neural, hormonal and renal interactions in cardiovascular control in Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology (2009)
  • Associate Editor, Frontiers in Integrative Physiology (2010-2017)
  • Contributing member of Faculty of 1000 (2010-2016)
  • Review editorial board member of Frontiers in Autonomic Neuroscience (2010-2016)
  • Member of F1000 Research’s Editorial Board (2012-2016)

National Heart Foundation Australia

  • 2012 — National Heart Foundation Grant-in-Aid (CIA). Mechanisms of Cardiac Protection by Synthetic Flavonols
  • 2009 — National Heart Foundation Grant-in-Aid (CIC). Protection of the heart after a heart attack
  • 2004 — National Heart Foundation Grant-in-Aid (CIC). Use of a flavonol to prevent reperfusion injury in conscious sheep
  • 2004 — National Heart Foundation Grant-in-Aid (CIA). Does a cardio-cardiac excitatory reflex selectively drive cardiac sympathetic nerve activity?
  • 2001 — National Heart Foundation Grant-in-Aid (CIB). Hypertension caused by perinatal omega-3 fatty acid deficiency
  • 1999 — National Heart Foundation Grant-in-Aid (CIA). Central mechanisms in aldosterone-induced hypertension
  • 1997 — National Heart Foundation Grant-in-Aid. (CIA). Neural control of the kidney by brain sodium

USAMRAA, Department of Defence

  • 2017-2020 — (CIF). Returning wounded soldiers: Direct brain control of wheelchairs and vehicles


  • 2009-2014 — NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, level B
  • 2005-2008 — NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, level B
  • 1999-2004 — NHMRC Research Fellow, level A
  • 1991-1998 — NHMRC Research Fellow


  • 2022 — MRFF (CIC). Translating novel mechanism-guided therapeutics to improve functional recovery of the brain and kidneys after open-heart surgery
  • 2022 — MRFF (CID) Treating the impact of seizures on cardiac function to reduce death
  • 2022 — MRFF (CIC). Necessary steps to advance a neural transplantation therapy to the clinic for stroke
  • 2021 — NHMRC Project Grant (CIC). Narcolepsy with cataplexy: a brain orexin replacement strategy.
  • 2020 — NHMRC Project Grant (AI). Critical consequences of neuro-immune crosstalk and its relevance to sepsis
  • 2020 — NHMRC Project Grant (CIB). Targeting renal hypoxia to avoid cardiac surgery-associated acute kidney injury
  • 2020 — NHMRC Project Grant (CIA). Reversing Renal Medullary Hypoxia and Acute Kidney Injury in Sepsis
  • 2019 — NHMRC Project Grant (AI). New therapies targeting the IGF1-PI3K pathway for the failing hear
  • 2019 — NHMRC Project Grant (AI). Minimally Invasive Endovascular Neural Stimulation
  • 2017 — NHMRC Project Grant (CIB). Towards Prevention of Acute Kidney Injury after Cardiac Surgery
  • 2017 — NHMRC Project Grant (CIA). The brain as a therapeutic target in heart failure
  • 2014 — NHMRC Project Grant (CIE). Next Generation Brain-Machine Interface: Minimally Invasive Endovascular Stent-Electrode Array for Robotic Limb Control
  • 2013 — NHMRC Project Grant (CIA). Role of the Area Postrema in Determining the Increased Cardiac Sympathetic Nerve Activity in Heart Failure
  • 2013 — NHMRC Project Grant (CIA). The pathophysiology of septic acute kidney injury
  • 2012 — NHMRC Project Grant (CIB). Mechanisms underlying increased cardiac and renal noradrenaline spillover during heart failure
  • 2011 — NHMRC Project Grant (CIB). Catheter-based renal denervation to improve outcomes in congestive heart failure
  • 2011 — NHMRC Project Grant (CIA). Is sympathetic activation beneficial or detrimental in septic shock?
  • 2008 — NHMRC Project Grant (CIA). What central mechanisms increase cardiac sympathetic nerve activity in heart failure
  • 2007 — NHMRC Project Grant (CIA). Understanding How Sepsis Causes Kidney Dysfunction
  • 2003 — NHMRC Project Grant (CIA). Cardiac sympathetic nerve activity: understanding normal control and the causes of the increase in heart failure
  • 2001-2002 — (CI) Neurobiology Group. Share of Transitional Institute Block Grant
  • 1997-2000 — (CI) Neurobiology and Cardiovascular Pharmacology Groups. Share of Institute Block Grant
  • 1992-1996 — (CI), Cardiovascular Physiology Group. Share of Institute Block Grant

Awards and achievements

  • 2022 — Translation Award, Australian Cardiovascular Alliance
  • 2020 — Visiting Professorial Fellowship, Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Bologna, Italy. Application rated 1st out of 44 applicants
  • 2019 — University of Melbourne. Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences and the Melbourne School of Engineering – Award for Excellence in Team-Based Research

Research publications


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