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Professor Simon Hawke

Prion Disease Group, University of Sydney

Professor Hawke is a Clinical Neurologist practising in the Central West and Sydney. He is a Visiting Medical Officer at the new Orange Hospital.

He trained in medicine at the University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Clinical School, graduating in 1982. He spent the next seven years at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (including postings to Orange and Bathurst Base Hospitals as a Resident Medical Officer), the last three years as Neurology registrar.

In 1989-90, he was appointed to the Australian Association of Neurologists’ registrar position at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London, and then undertook full time research in the laboratory of Professor John Newsom-Davis studying immunological mechanisms underlying the neuromuscular disease, myasthenia gravis. He was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) from the University of Oxford in 1994 then undertook ground breaking work on the immunological control of virus infections in the central nervous system at the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.

In 1997, he was the recruited by Imperial College London and was appointed Clinical Senior Lecturer and Consultant Neurologist, Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust based at Charing Cross Hospital in London, posts he held until moving to Orange in 2004. In 2001, he was also appointed Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Neurology, Queen Square and Consultant to the MRC Prion Unit. During his time at Imperial, his group made major breakthroughs in controlling experimental Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, work that was published in the scientific journal, Nature.

After establishing his neurological practice in Orange in 2004, he was appointed to the staff of the University of Sydney in February 2005 as the Jessie and Isobel Alberti Senior Principal Research Fellow and then to a personal Chair in 2006.

Prof Hawke established a Laboratory at the Brain and Mind Research Institute at Sydney University where he was until 2011 also National Director of the MS Research Australia Brain Bank. In 2012 he moved his research group into the laboratory of Professor Georges Grau, Vascular Immunology Unit, Sydney Medical School and is undertaking fundamental research into the blood-brain barrier and how disorders of the BBB might influence brain function, particularly in diseases such as MS. With Professor Grau he and colleagues are developing biomarkers for identifying treatment responses in MS.

Professor Hawke although a general neurologist, has a particular interest in neuroinflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis and in neurodegenerative disorders such Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease. Professor Hawke serves on the CJD International Support Alliance (CJDISA) – Friends and Advisory Group.