Emeritus Professor John Willoughby

Emeritus Professor

College of Medicine and Public Health

place Flinders Medical Centre (5A:301)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

John Willoughby is in the final years of a career in Neurology and Neuroscience. He trained in neurology at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, the Royal Post-Graduate Medical School (UK) and the Montreal General Hospital (Canada). His training in Neuroscience was at McGill University in the Montreal General Hospital Research Institute.

He joined Flinders University as a senior lecturer and Flinders Medical Centre as a consultant neurologist in 1977. Initial research addressed hypothalamic regulation of growth hormone and prolactin secretion in animal models. From 1995, he undertook epilepsy studies in animal models leading, in collaboration with Electrical Engineer, Kenneth Pope, to studies in humans with neuropsychiatric disorders. The research led to the recognition that electrical signals from muscles prevent advanced analysis of EEG recordings because the muscle signals obscure brain signals. Current work addresses how this can be diminished and, because of some success in 'muscle pruning', studies of brain signals in people with psychiatric disorders have commenced.

He retired from his formal academic and clinical neurologist roles in 2006, but continued to undertake research and teaching in an honorary capacity until 2019.

Interests outside his academic roles are the environment (as a member of Doctors for the Environment Australia), voluntary assisted dying (as a Patron of the SA Voluntary Euthanasia Society) and meditation (as Patron of The Lifeflow Meditation Centre).


MBBS (Adelaide), PhD (McGill), FRACP

Honours, awards and grants

1967         William Gardner Scholar (Final Surgery Examination)

1974-1977     Fellow, Medical Research Council of Canada

1977         Dean’s Commendation for PhD, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University

1996         Thyne Reid Education Trust Fellowship for Epilepsy Research, Royal Australasian College of Physicians

1997         Eccles Lecturer, Australian Neuroscience Society and Neurosurgeons Association of Australasia

1999         ‘SA Great’ Award for Health

Key responsibilities

Currently involved as a co-supervisor of graduate students in CSE, as a collaborator of Assoc Prof KJ Pope and Dr TW Lewis.

Supervisory interests
Neuropsychiatric disorders
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: Electromyography, Signals Processing, Disease Classification, Parkinson Disease, Non-linear Analysis (1), Electroencephalography, Signals Processing, Buddhist Meditation (1), Electroencephalography, Signals Processing, Epilepsy Pathophysiology, Animal Model (1)
Associate supervisor: Electroencephalography, Signals Processing, Epilepsy Classification, Non-linear Analysis (1), Electroencephalography, Signals Processing, Epilepsy Pathophysiology, Animal Model (1)
Expert for media contact
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
Media expertise
  • Migraine
  • Neuroscience