About Dr Sudarshini Ramanathan

Dr Darshi Ramanathan is an adult neurologist and clinician-scientist. She has a subspecialty interest in neuroimmunology, and is focused on clinical and laboratory research related to antibody-mediated neurological disorders, including demyelination and autoimmune encephalitis; as well as the management of patients with multiple sclerosis. She is a clinical neurologist and neuroimmunologist, and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney. She completed her PhD at the University of Sydney, and undertook a two year postdoctoral fellowship with the Autoimmune Neurology Group at the University of Oxford. Her clinical expertise includes demyelination including neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders, and autoimmune encephalitis.

Autoimmune central nervous system neurology is a recently identified subspecialty with a rapidly evolving landscape. The identification of novel biomarkers and the understanding of disease pathogenesis in a host of neurological presentations have permitted early diagnosis and effective treatment and recovery of patients who would otherwise remain undiagnosed and disabled. Dr Darshi Ramanathan is a neurologist and clinician scientist subspecialising in neuroimmunology. She has worked in some of the leading international centres in the field, and has experience in basic science methodology with respect to autoantibody detection and methodology, antigen discovery, and B and T cell biology; as well as clinical expertise with patient diagnosis, clinical phenotyping, and therapeutics.

Dr Ramanathan completed her PhD on the clinical and immunological characterisation of myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) antibody-associated demyelination. Some of her primary research input has included the clinical, radiological, and immunophenotypic characterisation; and therapeutic responses of a novel syndrome in adults - Myelin Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein (MOG) antibody-associated demyelination. These publications have expedited the diagnosis of what was previously an unknown but potentially treatable cause of blindness and paralysis, and assisted with the earlier commencement of immunotherapy thereby translating directly into improved patient outcomes. In 2016, she established and is the lead investigator of the Australasian and New Zealand MOG Study Group. This is a unique collaborative platform of over 150 adult and paediatric neurologists from over 45 centres throughout Australasia, with the goal of better understanding and treating antibody-associated demyelination, and forms the platform for a number of ongoing and planned research projects. She heads this collaboration, and works closely with Professor Russell Dale (paediatric neurologist) and Associate Professor Fabienne Brilot (scientist) at the Kids Neuroscience Centre on these patients. This research team is now responsible for one of the largest international cohorts of close to 500 adult and paediatric patients with MOG antibody-associated demyelination, and have led a number of important publications for the field.
Dr Ramanathan has been the recipient of multiple Young Investigator Awards, has been chief investigator of national grants, and secured continuous National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding spanning ten years. She was awarded the NHMRC Neil Hamilton Fairley Early Career Fellowship and undertook a two year postdoctoral fellowship in Oxford with the Autoimmune Neurology Group at the John Radcliffe Hospital and University of Oxford. Her research focus during this time included exploring antigenic targets in seronegative patients with suspected antibody-associated demyelination, and mechanisms of disease pathogenesis and treatment responses in subgroups of patients with antibody-associated demyelination and autoimmune encephalitis.

Selected publications

1. Ramanathan S, Fraser C, Curnow, SR, Ghaly M, Leventer RJ, Lechner-Scott J, Henderson A, Reddel SW, Dale RC, Brilot F. Uveitis and optic perineuritis in the context of MOG antibody seropositivity. European Journal of Neurology 2019 Aug;26(8):1137-e75. doi: 10.1111/ene.13932. Epub 2019 Mar 5.
2. Ramanathan S, O'Grady GL, Malone S, Spooner CG, Brown DA, Gill D, Brilot F, Dale RC. Isolated seizures during the first episode of relapsing myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody-associated demyelination in children. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 2019; 61(5):610-614.
3. Ramanathan S, Mohammad S, Tantsis E, Nguyen T, Merheb V, Fung VSC, White O, Broadley S, Lechner-Scott J, Vucic S, Henderson A, Barnett M, Reddel S, Brilot F, Dale RC on behalf of the Australasian and New Zealand MOG Study Group. The clinical course, therapeutic responses, and outcomes in relapsing MOG antibody-associated demyelination. Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 2018; 89(2):127-137.
4. Dale RC, Ramanathan S. Cell surface antibody-associated neurodegeneration: the case of anti-IgLOn5 antibodies. Neurology 2017;88(18):1688-1690.
5. Ramanathan S, Dale RC, Brilot F. Anti-MOG antibody: The history, clinical phenotype, and pathogenicity of a serum biomarker for demyelination. Autoimmunity Reviews 2016; 15(4): 307-24.
6. Ramanathan S, Prelog K, Barnes E, Tantsis E, Reddel SW, Henderson A, Vucic S, Gorman MP, Benson L, Alper G, Riney C, Barnett M, Parratt JDE, Hardy T, Leventer R, Merheb V, Nosadini M, Fung VSC, Brilot F, Dale RC. Radiological differentiation of optic neuritis with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibodies, aquaporin-4 antibodies, and multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis 2016; 22(4):470-482.
7. Ramanathan S, Sato S, Matsushita T, Masaki K, Yamasaki R, Dale RC, Kira JI, Brilot F. Antibodies to myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein are uncommon in Japanese opticospinal multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis 2016; 22(1):127-128.
8. Ramanathan S, Langguth D, Hardy TA, Garg N, Bundell C, Rojana-Udomsart A, Dale RC, Robertson T, Mammen AL, Reddel SW. Clinical course and treatment of anti-HMGCR antibody-associated necrotising autoimmune myopathy. Neurology: Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflammation 2015;2(3):e96.
9. Ramanathan S, Reddel SW, Henderson A, Parratt JD, Barnett M, Gatt PN, Merheb V, Kumaran RY, Pathmanandavel K, Sinmaz N, Ghadiri M, Yiannikas C, Vucic S, Stewart G, Bleasel AF, Booth D, Fung VS, Dale RC, Brilot F. Antibodies to myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein in bilateral and recurrent optic neuritis. Neurology: Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflammation 2014;1(4):e40.
10. Ramanathan S, Mohammad SS, Brilot F, Dale RC. Autoimmune encephalitis: recent updates and emerging challenges. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience 2014;21(5):722-730.