Professor Michael O'Sullivan


UQ Centre for Clinical Research
Faculty of Medicine
+61 7 334 65503



Professor Michael O’Sullivan is a neuroscientist and neurologist with a special interest in mechanisms of resilience and recovery of the brain after injury. He is also interested in networks in the brain that support memory and cognitive control. He is a professor and member of the Executive of the UQ Centre for Clinical Research and a Staff Specialist in Neurology at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital. Through this joint appointment he is forging a shared interdisciplinary research agenda in clinical neuroscience between UQ, Metro North/ Queensland Health and cutting-edge imaging technology in Brisbane. He is the Principal Investigator of STRATEGIC, a large observational study of cognitive function after stroke and a co-investigator of the cognitive substudy of TRIDENT, a trial of blood pressure lowering after acute haemorrhage. Prior to moving to Australia, Professor O’Sullivan was the strategic lead for stroke at King’s Health Partners, an Academic Health Sciences Centre connecting the University and three major NHS Foundation Trusts in South London and a member of the Vascular Experimental Medicine Group of the UK Dementias Platform. His group has substantial experience in the application of diffusion MRI, tractography and functional MRI to understand the interaction between focal damage and other processes involved in ageing and early cognitive decline, viewed from a network perspective.


Professor O’Sullivan supervises PhD projects across multiple research areas, including clinical science, cognitive neuroscience, animal models and computational neuroscience (such as machine learning and deep learning algorithms for diagnosis and prediction of prognosis). Expressions of interest from potential PhD and honours students are welcome.

Research Impacts

With significant clinical experience, Professor O’Sullivan’s research focus is translational in nature, promoting the restoration of function. His previous work has been aimed at identifying mechanisms of resilience and restoration of function that can be targeted by therapies that promote recovery; the STRATEGIC study targets such mechanistic insights in stroke. Professor O’Sullivan has consulted in numerous UK clinics and hospitals with a focus on hyperacute stroke services, microvascular disease and genetic forms, and post-stroke cognitive impairment and dementia.


  • Evans, Tavia E., Adams, Hieab H. H., Licher, Silvan, Wolters, Frank J., van der Lugt, Aad, Ikram, M. Kamran, O'Sullivan, Michael J., Vernooij, Meike W. and Ikram, M. Arfan (2018) Subregional volumes of the hippocampus in relation to cognitive function and risk of dementia. NeuroImage, 178 129-135. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.05.041

  • Horsburgh, Karen, Wardlaw, Joanna M., van Agtmael, Tom, Allan, Stuart M., Ashford, Mike L.J., Bath, Philip M., Brown, Rosalind, Berwick, Jason, Cader, M. Zameel, Carare, Roxana O., Davis, John B., Duncombe, Jessica, Farr, Tracy D., Fowler, Jill H., Goense, Jozien, Granata, Alessandra, Hall, Catherine N., Hainsworth, Atticus H., Harvey, Adam, Hawkes, Cheryl A., Joutel, Anne, Kalaria, Rajesh N., Kehoe, Patrick G., Lawrence, Catherine B., Lockhart, Andy, Love, Seth, Macleod, Malcolm R., Macrae, I. Mhairi, Markus, Hugh S., McCabe, Chris, McColl, Barry W., Meakin, Paul J., Miller, Alyson, Nedergaard, Maiken, O'Sullivan, Michael, Quinn, Terry J., Rajani, Rikesh, Saksida, Lisa M., Smith, Colin, Smith, Kenneth J., Touyz, Rhian M., Trueman, Rebecca C., Wang, Tao, Williams, Anna, Williams, Steven C.R. and Work, Lorraine M. (2018) Small vessels, dementia and chronic diseases - molecular mechanisms and pathophysiology. Clinical Science, 132 8: 851-868. doi:10.1042/CS20171620

  • Evans, T., O'Sullivan, M., Niessen, W., Ikram, M. A. and Vernooij, M. (2018). Lacunar infarct burden within white matter tracts and cognitive function. In: World Stroke Congress Abstracts. World Stroke Congress 2018, , (57-57). .

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  • Doctor Philosophy

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Journal Article

Conference Publication

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor