Monif group

Neuroimmunology, Neuroinflammation and Neurological Diseases Laboratory

Key terms

Neurology, Neuroimmunology, Neuroinflammation, Multiple Sclerosis, Autoimmune Encephalitis, Gliomas, Microglia, Purinergic Receptors, vitamin D

The group

2021 Monif group L-R top row - Paul Sanfilippo, Nabil Seery, Katrina Kan, Robb Wesselingh, William O'Brien, Tiffany Rushen. L-R bottom row:  Mastura Monif (Group Leader),  Tracie Tan,  Sher Chim Ting, Sarah Griffith,  Andrea Muscat.

Research Goal

To understand how neuroinflammation can lead to neurological diseases.

Research Overview

Our research goals are to understand the neuroinflammatory and neuroimmunological processes in a number of neurological conditions. Our research is transitional in nature involving bed (hospital) to bench (laboratory) neuroscience approaches. The key disease states that we focus on are Multiple Sclerosis, Autoimmune Encephalitis, and Human Gliomas. We also collaborate with many other groups focusing on a number of other neurological and neuroinflammatory illnesses.

Meet the team

Group leaderResearch staffStudents

Dr Mastura Monif (BBiomedSc, BSc(Hons), MBBS, PhD, FRACP Neurology)

Honours and postgraduate research projects

Research Coordinator

  • Ms Tiffany Rushen

Senior Research Assistant

  • Ms Andrea Muscat

Biostatistician / Applied statistician

  • Dr Paul Sanfilippo

Clinical researchers

  • Dr Claire Meaton
  • Dr Hannah Ford
  • Dr Chloe Mutimer

PhD students

  • Dr Robb Wesselingh
  • Mr James Broadly
  • Mr William O’Brien
  • Ms Katrina Kan
  • Ms Sarah Griffith
  • Mr Matthew Drill
  • Ms Tracie Tan
  • Mr Nabil Seery

Medical students

  • Ms Sinali Seneviratne
  • Ms Sher Chim Ting
  • Mr Ivan Chan


Current Project Funding

  • NHMRC - Medical Research Future Fund (CIA; $2,092,824.80)
  • MS Research Australia (CIA; $220,000, 2020-2023)
  • Merk Industry Investigator Initiated Grant  (CIA; $359,665; 2019-2022)
  • Bethlehem Griffith Foundation (CIA; $46,000; 2020)
  • Magpix NHMRC Faculty Equipment Grant (CIA; $90,000; 2020)
  • Ku Luven Project Grant (CIC; $357,000; 2020-2022)
  • Charles and Sylvia Viertel Investigator Iniated Grant (CIA; $85,000, 2019)


See recent publications for Mastura Monif at Pubmed search [Monif M], the Monash feed below, and a select list below the feed window.


  1. Seery N, Sharmin S, Li V, Nguyen AL, Meaton C, Atvars R, Taylor N, Tunnell K, Carey J, Marriott MP, Buzzard KA, Roos I, Dwyer C, Baker J, Taylor L, Spriggs K, Kilpatrick TJ, Kalincik T, Monif M, Predicting Infection Risk in Multiple Sclerosis Patients Treated with Ocrelizumab: A Retrospective Cohort Study. CNS Drugs. 2021 Apr 13:1-12
  2. V Voo, H Butzkueven, J Stankovich, T J O’Brien, M Monif, The development impact of cladribine on lymphoid and myeloid cells in multiple sclerosis, MS and Related Disorders, 2021, VOLUME 52, 102962,
  3. E L. Hill-Yardin, A Grabrucker, A E. Franks, R A Luna, and M Monif, Interactions of the Nervous System With Bacteria, Front. Neurosci., 2021, 682744
  4. O'Brien WT, Pham L, Brady RD, Bain J, Yamakawa GR, Sun M, Mychasiuk R, O'Brien TJ, Monif M, Shultz SR, McDonald SJ. Temporal profile and utility of serum neurofilament light in a rat model of mild traumatic brain injury, Exp Neurol. 2021 Mar 13;341:113698.
  5. Drill M, Jones NC, Hunn M, O'Brien TJ, Monif M, Antagonism of the ATP-gated P2X7 receptor: a potential therapeutic strategy for cancer. Purinergic Signal. 2021 Mar 17. Online ahead of print
  6. C Nesbitt, L Rath, AC Cheng, H Butzkueven, R Wesselingh, O Skibina1,2, M Monif, WZ Yeh, JML Brotherton, S Reddel, Vaccinations in patients with multiple sclerosis: review and recommendations, Medical Journal of Australia, April 2021,
  7. James Broadley, Robb Wesselingh, Udaya Seneviratne, Chris Kyndt, Paul Beech, Katherine Buzzard, Cassie Nesbitt, Wendyl D’Souza, Amy Brodtmann, Richrd Macdonell, Tomas Kalincik, Helmut Butzkueven, Terence O’Brien, Mastura Monif, on behalf of the Australian Autoimmune Encephalitis Consortium, Prognostic value of acute cerebrospinal fluid abnormalities in antibody-positive autoimmune encephalitis. Journal of Neuroimmunology, Jan 2021
  8. Suyi Ooi, Tomas Kalincik, Piero Perucca, Mastura Monif, The prevalence of epileptic seizures in multiple sclerosis in a large tertiary hospital in Australia, Multiple Sclerosis Journal: Experimental, Translational and Clinical, 10.1177/2055217321989767
  9. Louise Rath, Minh Viet Bui, Julian Ellis, John Carey, Josephine Baker, Lisa Taylor, Hasini Fernando, Nicola Taylor, Poppy Savage, Janene Richards, Michael Zhong, Tomas Kalincik, Olga Skibina, Robb Wesselingh,  Ai Lan Nguyen, Mastura Monif, Helmut Butzkueven, Annekevan der Walt, Fast and safe: Optimising multiple sclerosis infusions during COVID-19 pandemic. MS and Related Disorders, Volume 47, January 2021, 102642
  10. William T O'Brien, Georgia F Symons, Jesse Bain, Brendan P. Major, Daniel M. Costello, Mujun Sun, Joshua S. Kimpton, Zhibin Chen, Rhys D Brady, Richelle Mychasiuk, Terence J. O'Brien, Mastura Monif, Sandy R Shultz, Stuart John McDonald. Elevated serum interleukin-1β levels in male, but not female, collision sport athletes with a concussion history. Journal of Neurotrauma, 2020, 24 Feb 2021
  11. James Broadley,  Robb Wesselingh, Udaya Seneviratne,, Chris Kyndt, Paul Beech, Katherine Buzzard, Cassie Nesbitt, Wendyl D’Souza, Amy Brodtmann, Tomas Kalincik, Helmut Butzkueven, Terence J. O’Brien, Mastura Monif, on behalf of the Australian Autoimmune Encephalitis Consortium, Peripheral immune cell ratios and clinical outcomes in seropositive  autoimmune encephalitis: a study by the Australian Autoimmune  Encephalitis Consortium, Frontiers in Immunology, Dec 2020
  12. Tracie Tan, Piero Perruca, Terence O’Brien, Patrick Kwan, Mastura Monif. Inflammation, Ictogenesis adn Epileptogenesis: An exploration through human disease. Epilepsia. 14th Dec 2020
  13. Louise Rath, Pia Campagna, Jim Stankovich, Julian Ellis, Vilija Jokubaitis, Denise McCarthy, Cassie Nesbitt, Wei Zhen Yeh, Michael Zhong, Robb Wesselingh, Mastura Monif, Janene Richards, Viet Bui Minh, Olga Skibina, Helmut Butzkueven, Anneke van der WaltAssessing Patient Preference: Preferred time and location of infusible therapies. International MS Care, Dec 31st, 2020
  14. Simon Rinaldi.., Mastura Monif,. Sudarshini Ramanathan, Overlapping central and peripheral nervous system syndromes in MOG antibody-associated disorders. Accepted 20th Oct, Neurology, Neuroimmunology, Neuroinflammation
  15. Matthew Drill, Kim L. Powell, Liyen Katrina Kan, Nigel C. Jones, Terence J. O’Brien, John A. Hamilton & Mastura Monif, Inhibition of purinergic P2X receptor 7 (P2X7R) decreases granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) expression in U251 glioblastoma cells, Scientific Reports volume 10, Article number: 14844 (2020)
  16. LK Kan, S Seneviratne, KJ Drummond, DA Williams, TJ O’Brien, M Monif, P2X7 receptor antagonism inhibits tumour growth in human high-grade gliomas. Purinergic Signalling, 1-10
  17. LK Kan, K Drummond, M Hunn, D Williams, TJ O'Brien, M Monif, Potential biomarkers and challenges in glioma diagnosis, therapy and prognosis, BMJ Neurology Open 2 (2), e000069
  18. THL Tan, RJ Stark, JA Waterston, O White, D Thyagarajan, M Monif, Genetic prion disease: D178N with 129MV disease modifying polymorphism—a clinical phenotype. BMJ Neurology Open 2 (2), e000074
  19. N Seery, V Li, AL Nguyen, I Roos, KA Buzzard, R Atvars, N Taylor, Monif, M, Evaluating the perspective of patients with MS and related conditions on their DMT in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic in one MS centre in Australia. Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, 2020 Nov; 46: 102516.
  20. M Monif, M Christie, M Marriott, KJ Drummond, L Chee, A Case Report of Primary CNS Lymphoma of Choroid Plexus, Clin Case Rep Int. 2020; 4 (1)1171
  21. Cassie Nesbitt, LouiseRath, Wei Zhen Yeh, Michael Zhong, Robb Wesselingh, Mastura Monif, Janene Richards, Viet Bui Minh, Vilija G. Jokubaitis, Olga Skibina, Helmut Butzkueven, Anneke van der Walt, MSCOVID19: using social media to achieve rapid dissemination of health information. Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorder, Volume 45, October 2020, 102338
  22. Sarah P. Griffith, Charles B. Malpas, Rubina Alpitsis, Terence J. O'Brien, Mastura Monif (2020), The neuropsychological spectrum of anti-LGI1 antibody mediated autoimmune encephalitis, Journal of Neuroimmunology, Volume 345, 15 August 2020, 577271
  23. Wesselingh R, Butzkueven H, Buzzard K, Tarlinton D, O'Brien TJ, Monif M., 2020, Seizures in autoimmune encephalitis: Kindling the fire. Epilepsia. Volume61, Issue6

    June 2020, Pages 1033-1044

  24. O'Brien WT, Pham L, Symons GF, Monif M, Shultz SR, McDonald SJ.J The NLRP3 inflammasome in traumatic brain injury: potential as a biomarker and therapeutic target. J Neuroinflammation. 2020 Apr 6;17(1):104. doi: 10.1186/s12974-020-01778-5.PMID: 32252777
  25. Veronica Tsin Fong Voo, Jim Stankovich, Terence J O’Brien, Helmut Butzkueven, Mastura Monif (2020),  Vitamin D status in an Australian patient population: a large retrospective case series focusing on factors associated with variations in serum 25(OH)D. BMJ Open, 10:e032567. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-032567
  26. Veronica Voo, Helmut Butzkueven, Terence O’Brien, Mastura Monif. 2019, The role of vitamin D and P2X7R in multiple sclerosis. Journal of Neuroimmunology. Volume 330, Pages 159-169
  27. Kan LKDrummond KJHunn M, Williams DA O'Brien TJMastura Monif, A Simple and Reliable Protocol for the Preparation and Culturing of Fresh Surgically Resected Human Glioblastoma Tissue. Methods Protoc. 2020 Jan 22;3(1). pii: E11. doi: 10.3390/mps3010011.
  28. Sinali O. Seneviratne, Katherine A. Buzzard, Belinda Cruse Monif M (2020). Cerebellar Ataxia Followed by Stiff Person Syndrome in a Patient with Anti-GAD Antibodies. Case Reports Immunol. 2020; 2020: 8454532.
  29. Robb Wesselingh, Helmut ButzkuevenKatherine Buzzard, David Tarlinton , Terence J. O'BrienMastura Monif (2019), Innate Immunity in the Central Nervous System: A Missing Piece of the Autoimmune Encephalitis Puzzle? Frontiers in Immunology, Volume10, pages 2066
  30. Kan LKWilliams DDrummond K, O'Brien T Monif M. The role of microglia and P2X7 receptors in gliomas. J Neuroimmunol. 2019 Jul 15;332:138-146. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2019.04.010. Epub 2019 Apr 20.
  31. Veronica Tsien Voo, Helmut Butzkueven, Terence O’Brien, Mastura Monif, A Simple and Efficient Monocyte Isolation Protocol from Human Peripheral Blood, Journal of Clinical & Experimental Neuroimmunology, 2019, 4:1, 1000115
  32. James Broadley, Udaya Seneviratne, Paul Beech, Katherine Buzzard, Helmut Butzkueven, Terence O’Brien, Mastura Monif (2019). Prognosticating autoimmune encephalitis: a systematic review. Autoimmune Reviews. Volume 96, Pages 24-34
  33. James Broadley, Udaya Seneviratne, Paul Beech, Katherine Buzzard, Helmut Butzkueven, Terence O’Brien, Mastura Monif (2018).  Prognosis in autoimmune encephalitis: Database. Data in Brief. Volume 21, Pages 2694-2703
  34. Wesselingh R., Mastura Monif, Status Epilepticus Complicating Anti-Ma2 Antibody Associated Paraneoplastic Autoimmune Encephalitis (2019), Neurological Disorders & Epilepsy Journal. 2(1):121.
  35. Sun MMcDonald SJBrady RD, Collins-Praino L Yamakawa GRMonif MO'Brien TJ, Cloud GC Sobey CGMychasiuk RLoane DJ, Shultz SR (2020).The need to incorporate aged animals into the preclinical modeling of neurological conditions. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2020 Feb;109:114-128. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2019.12.027. Epub 2019 Dec 23.
  36. Saadi MKarkhah APourabdolhossein F, Ataie A Monif MNouri HR. Involvement of NLRC4 inflammasome through caspase-1 and IL-1β augments neuroinflammation and contributes to memory impairment in an experimental model of Alzheimer's like disease. Brain Res Bull. 2020 Jan;154:81-90. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2019.10.010. Epub 2019 Nov 9.
  37. Tea FLopez JARamanathan S, Merheb V Lee FXZZou APilli D, Patrick E van der Walt AMonif M, Tantsis EM Yiu EMVucic SHenderson APD, Fok A Fraser CL Lechner-Scott JReddel SW Broadley S Barnett MHBrown DALunemann JD, Dale RC , Brilot F Australasian and New Zealand MOG Study Group. Characterization of the human myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody response in demyelination. Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2019 Sep 3;7(1):145. doi: 10.1186/s40478-019-0786-3.
  38. Broadley J, Monif M, Case reports of unexplained weight loss in autoimmune central neurological syndromes with anti-GAD antibodies (2018), Journal of Clinical Case Reports and Reviews. 1(4):23
  39. Monif M, Udaya Seneviratne U., (2017) Clinical factors associated with the yield of routine outpatient scalp electroencephalogram: A retrospective analysis from a tertiary hospital. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience. 45:110
  40. Monif M., Reid CA, Powell K L, Drummond KL, O’Brien TJ, Williams DA (2016) Interleukin-1β is a key player mediating P2X7 receptor dependent microglial activation and proliferation. Journal Of Neuroinflammation 13: 173
  41. Monif M, O’Brien TJ, Drummond KJ, Reid CA, Luibinas SV, Williams DA (2014) P2X7 Receptors are a potential novel target for anti-glioma therapies. Journal of Inflammation, 11:25
  42. Monif M, Huq A., Chee L., Kilpatrick T., MonoMac Syndrome with associated neurological deficits and longitudinally extensive cord lesion. BMJ Case reports,. doi:10.1136/bcr-2017-222872
  43. Jessica Taylor, Davide Bondavalli, Monif M, Lee Mei Yap, Ingrid Winship (2014). Mal de Meleda in Indonesia – mutations in the SLURP1 gene appear to be ubiquitous. Australasian Journal of Dermatology. 57:1 (11-13)
  44. Monif M., Reid CA, Powell K L, Smart ML, Williams DA (2009). The P2X7 receptor drives microglial activation and proliferation: a trophic role for P2X7R pore. J Neuroscience.
  45. Monif M, Burnstock G, Williams DA (2010). Microglia: Proliferation and activation driven by the P2X7 receptor. International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology (Cells in Focus).42:1753-6
  46. Monif M., Powell K L, Reid CA, Williams DA (2004) Development of low-affinity, membrane-targeted Ca2+ sensors suitable for measuring presynaptic Ca2+. Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology. 31:885-889
  47. Williams DA, Monif M, Richardson, K (2012). Compartmentalizing Genetically-Encoded Calcium Sensors.  Calcium Signaling Protocols. Series: Methods in Molecular Biology. Volume 937, 3rd edition, ISBN:978-1-62703-086-1
  48. Monif M., Williams DA (2011). Neuroinflammatory processes in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. Neuroinflammation: Pathogenesis, Mechanisms and Management. Nova Science Publishers, 2011, Chapter 2, ISBN: 978-1-61942-462-3