Associate Professor John O'Sullivan

Principal Research Fellow

UQ Centre for Clinical Research
Faculty of Medicine
+61 7 334 65025


After completing neurology training at the Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital(RBWH) in 1995, A/Prof O’Sullivan completed Fellowships in Movement Disorders at the Austin & Repatriation Medical Centre, Melbourne then the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, and Middlesex Hospital in London, UK. He was awarded a doctorate in Medicine from Melbourne University in 2000 for studies into surgery for Parkinson’s disease. He returned to the RBWH in 2001 and set up the Movement Disorders Clinical Service including botulinum toxin and later Friedreich's ataxia clinics, and co-ordinating the Huntington's disease multidisciplinary clinic. Through these clinics he has established collaborations with local, interstate and international researchers in the fields of Parkinson's disease, and other movement disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. He is currently Associate Professor of Medicine and Principal Research Fellow at UQ Centre for Clinical Research, previously Royal Brisbane and Uniting Care Health Clinical Units in UQ School of Clinical Medicine. A/Prof O'Sullivan past President of the Movement Disorders Society of Australia and New Zealand (MDSANZ), having previously served as Chair of the MDSANZ Clinical Trials and Research Group. He is on the Council of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Neurolgists (ANZAN) and previously chaired the ANZAN Scientific Program Committee

Research Interests

  • Non-motor features of Parkinson's disease
    This research involves studies into depression, anxiety and cognitive function in Parkinson's disease in collaboration with Dr Nadeeka Dissanayaka, Dr Robert Adam, Prof Gerard Byrne, Dr Nancy Pachana & Dr Rodney Marsh
  • Novel compounds and clinical trials in neurodegenerative diseases
    Research involves novel compounds and repurposed drugs for treatment and disease-modification in Parkinson's, Huntington's disease, Friedreich's Ataxia, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy and motor neurone diseases in collaboration with Dr Richard Gordon, A/Prof Trent Woodruff, A/Prof Rob Henderson, Prof Pam McCombe, Dr Robert Adam and Wesley Medical Research.
  • Exercise in Parkinson's disease
    In collaboration with Prof Sandy Brauer, Dr Robyn Lamont, and Wesley Medical Research, studies exploring maintenance of exercise, gait and boxing in Parkinson's disease.
  • Sleep in neurodegenerative diseases
    These studies in collaboration with Dr Simon Smith, Dr Jane Nikles and Wesley Medical Research explore novel aspects involving sleep in Parkinson's, Huntington's and motor neurone diseases and Friedreich's ataxia

Research Impacts

A/Prof O’Sullivan’s novel investigator-initiated clinical trial in Parkinson’s disease (PD) (Mov Dis 2007; 22:1543-9) is cited in the American Academy of Neurology Practice Parameters and MDS Evidence Based Medicine Review of Management of Non-motor symptoms in PD. The initial description of syndrome of Dopamine Dysregulation in PD (JNNP 2000; 68:423-428) complicating dopamine replacement therapy in some patients with Parkinson’s disease has led to widespread recognition of the syndrome, and this paper has had more than 400 citations. The Movement Disorders Society revision of the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (MDS–UPDRS) includes a section to address features of the dopamine dysregulation syndrome as a result of this. This research has also contributed to debate about addiction in general (Addiction. 2012;107(2):253).


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Journal Article

Conference Publication

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors: