Vale, Emeritus Professor Byron Kakulas AO.

Your inspirational legacy endures.

A tribute to an inspirational leader who changed the landscape of neurology and neuroscience in Western Australia and influenced the direction of international research, particularly in the field of muscle wasting diseases.

All at the Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science are saddened by the recent passing of our Founding Director and extend our sincere condolences to his wife Valerie and family.

Throughout his distinguished career, Emeritus Professor Byron Kakulas AO, MD Hon Athens, MD WA, FRACP, FRCPath, FRCPA pursued his vision with dedication and passion that has resulted in discoveries that have been recognised internationally. He opened and charted new territory in neurological research and provided outstanding leadership.

Emeritus Professor Kakulas graduated in medicine from the University of Adelaide in 1956 and completed his residency training at Royal Perth Hospital, going on to specialise in clinical neurology.

He undertook further study to achieve a specialist qualification in pathology and his doctoral thesis on paralytic disease in the Rottnest Island quokka suggested the potential for therapies to achieve muscle regeneration in people with muscle wasting diseases.

This pioneering work was of momentous importance. It laid the foundation for subsequent research by Professors Steve Wilton AO and Sue Fletcher AO in Western Australia that resulted in the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved therapies for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Emeritus Professor Kakulas trained and mentored a generation of Australian neuropathologists and many from overseas. He was appointed Professor of Neuropathology at The University of Western Australia in 1971, Dean of Medicine in 1978 and an Emeritus Professor in 2006.

In 1967, he founded the Muscular Dystrophy Association of WA, and in 1982, the Australian Neuromuscular Research Institute which, in 2017, became the Perron Institute.

His close association with the late Mr Stan Perron AC and the Stan Perron Charitable Foundation and the support of Telethon in its early years, became the cornerstone of funding for the work of the Perron Institute.

The extensive research contributions of Emeritus Professor Kakulas are wide-ranging, and he received many honours and awards including Officer of the Order of Australia, an Honorary Doctorate of the University of Athens, the Gaetano Conte Prize of the Naples Conte Academy, and a Lifetime Achievement Award by the World Federation of Neurology. With an enduring commitment to serving the community, he was also a Paul Harris Fellow in Rotary.

Thank you, Byron, our dear colleague and friend. Your legacy of advancements in the neurosciences field endures. The example you have set and the advice you have provided for young researchers will continue to encourage and inspire.

Chairman, Board and Staff
Perron Institute

Read the media statement

Watch the 2017 interview of Prof Kakulas reflecting on his career