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

Emeritus Professor Byron A Kakulas AO, graduated in medicine from the University of Adelaide in 1956. After residency training at Royal Perth Hospital he specialised in clinical neurology. Being interested in research he soon realised that a thorough knowledge of pathology was essential in order to break new ground thus gaining a second specialist qualification in pathology.

In the interim he was confronted by a paralytic disease in a small marsupial the Rottnest Island Quokka which became the subject of his doctoral thesis. He found that the disorder was due to breakdown of muscle resulting from vitamin E deficiency thus discovering the hitherto unknown power of muscle to regenerate. This was a momentous breakthrough since it demonstrated the potential for all muscle diseases including muscular dystrophy to be curable. This had the effect of stimulating worldwide research in the field.

Combining this experience with an extensive study of human skeletal muscle affected by disease processes, he defined the factors which govern the reaction of muscle when diseased. These principles of myopathology have become the standard teaching worldwide. Having chosen the nervous system and muscle as a challenging area he pursued further expertise in neuropathology at Harvard Medical School. In 1967 he founded the Muscular Dystrophy Association of WA and soon after the Australian Neuromuscular Research Institute becoming the Medical Director of both, posts he held until 2010. In 1971 he was appointed Professor of Neuropathology, UWA, Dean of Medicine in 1978 and an Emeritus Professor in 2006.

Research Areas

  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Restorative Neurology
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Motor Neuron Disease




  • GE Rennie Memorial Lecturer & Bronze Medallist’, Royal Australasian College of Physicians, 1972
  • AO (Officer of the Order of Australia), awarded by the Queen in her inaugural Australian Honours list, July 1975
  • Ross Memorial Lecturer, Australian/New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science (ANZAAS) (WA Division), 1977
  • Didaktora (Honoris Causa) and Honorary Professor, Capodistrian University of Athens, 12th April 1979
  • Fellow of ANZAAS, 1987
  • “Citation of Honour” Rotary International District 946 WA, 1987
  • Advance Australia Award, 1988
  • “Hellenism Award”, Greek Australian Professional and Businessmen’s Association of WA, October 1989
  • “Paul Harris Fellow” Rotary International Foundation, 1990
  • Honorary Member, Hellenic Neurological Association, 1991
  • “ Castellorizian of the Year”, Castellorizian Association of Victoria, 1995
  • “Medicus Hippocraticus” prize awarded at the 1st International Medical Olympiad, 31st August 1996 in Kos, birthplace of Hippocrates
  • “Donald Munro Memorial Lecturer”, American Paraplegia Society Annual Conference, Las Vegas, 7-10 September 1998
  • “Hans Selye Lecture and Visiting Professorship”, Department of Pathology, VA Medical Centre Long Beach and University of California,Irvine,14 September 1998
  • “E Graeme Robertson Memorial Lecturer”, Australian Association of Neurologists Annual Scientific Meeting, Hobart, 25-27 May 1999
  • Gaetano Conte Prize 2000 and Gold Medal for “Clinical Research” awarded at the Fifth Congress of the Mediterranean Society of Myology, 1 October 2000
  • “Life-time Achievement Award” awarded at the Xth International Congress on Neuromuscular Diseases, World Federation of Neurology, Vancouver, Canada, 11 July 2002
  • “Honorary Professorship of the PLA General Hospital Postgraduate Medical College”presented by the Chinese Society of Neuromuscular Diseases at the 2nd Annual AOMC Conference, Beijing, 16-18 September 2002 and the 5th National Conference on Neuromuscular Diseases, Beijing, 16-17 September 2002
  • Centenary of Federation Medal Australia 2003
  • Sir Ludwig Guttmann Lecturer International Spinal Cord Society Athens 2004



  • National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NH&MRC) (Spinal and Muscle Research)
  • Australian Research Grants Committee (ARGC)
  • The University of Western Australia (UWA) Medical School Endowment Fund
  • Cancer Council of Western Australia
  • Telethon, Appealathon
  • Medical Research Foundation of W. Australia (MEDWA, R Sarich)
  • Royal Perth Hospital Medical Research Foundation
  • Muscular Dystrophy Association of America
  • Motor Neuron Disease Institute of NSW
  • International Spinal Research Trust (London)
  • National Institute of Ageing (USA)
  • International Institute for Research in Paraplegia (Zürich)
  • Neurotrauma Research Project (West Australian Govt)


Kakulas B. Molecular therapy for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) when should treatment begin? Pediatric dimensions. (2018) DOI: 10.15761/PD.1000161

B A Kakulas and Cahyono Kaelan.(2015) Neuropathological Foundations for the Restorative Neurology of Spinal Cord Injury.   Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery (Elsevier) 129 S1 7

Keith E Tansey William Barry McKay   Byron A Kakulas   Restorative Neurology: Consideration of the new anatomy and physiology of the injured nervous system,  Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery114 (2012) 436-440

Keith Tansey   BA Kakulas, Criteria for Biological Interventions for Spinal Cord Injury Repair , Restorative Neurology of Spinal Cord Injury Oxford University Press 2012

BA Kakulas Keith Tansey MR Dimitrijevic Neurophysiological Assessment of Residual Motor Functions Below the level of Spinal Cord Injury in Humans Restorative Neurology of SCI Oxford University Press 2012

Restorative Neurology of Spinal Cord Injury MR Dimitrijevic BA Kakulas W Barry McKay G Vrbova Eds, Oxford University Press New York 2012

Byron A Kakulas Neuropathology of Human Spinal Cord Injury; The Basis for New Treatments, American journal of Neuroprotection and Neurodegeneration Vol 1 p11-21 2009

Buss A Pech K Kakulas B A Martin D Schoenen J Noth J et al, NG2 and phosphacan are present in the astroglial scar after human traumatic spinal cord injury, BMC Neurol. 9:32