Paediatric Neurologist

Clinical Interests

Professor Scheffer is a paediatric neurologist helping to transform the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy. She is a world renown thought leader in the science around diagnosing and treating neurological conditions, with epilepsy being her primary focus. She has described several new forms of epilepsy and her research group was the first to uncover a gene for epilepsy and subsequently, many of the genes now known to be implicated.

These revolutionary findings, which have already improved diagnosis and treatments for many patients and may lead to the development of new therapies, can also be used for genetic counselling.

Background and Experience

Professor Scheffer is a senior principal Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne and Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health. She is also Director of Paediatrics at Austin Health, Chair of Paediatric Neurology Research at The University of Melbourne and a founding fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (currently its Vice-President). She has served the International League Against Epilepsy in many capacities and held the Chair of the ILAE Commission for Classification and Terminology from 2009 until 2013.

Professor Scheffer has received several awards in recognition for her work in the field of epilepsy. In 2012, she was awarded the L’Oréal-UNESCO Laureate for Women in Science for the Asia-Pacific Region and also received the 2007 American Epilepsy Society Research Recognition Award and the 2009 Eric Susman Prize from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

More recently The ILAE presented her with the Ambassador for Epilepsy award in 2013 and in the same year, she received the Emil Becker Award for an outstanding contribution to child neurology, the Australian Neuroscience Medallion and the prestigious national prize, the GlaxoSmithKline Award for Research Excellence.

In 2014 Professor Scheffer and Professor Samuel Berkovic were together awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science for their long-standing partnership on cracking the genetics of epilepsy. Professor Scheffer was also elected a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List of 2014.

Practice Philosophy

Despite a long list of letters after her name and many illustrious awards, Professor Scheffer’s goal remains simple. She wishes to ‘make a major difference to patients and families through science’. She has a steely determination to discover as much as possible about this debilitating condition, diagnosed in over 50 million people worldwide.