With around 350,000 Australians suffering from chronic migraine and little known about the mechanisms which cause them, one PhD Scholar funded by Australian Rotary Health has set out to find the answers.


Tiffani Mungoven from the University of Sydney is starting her PhD research this year on brain structural and functional changes in individuals with chronic migraine after being awarded a Joan E Swanson PhD Scholarship.

Tiffani said that despite the condition affecting the quality of life for so many individuals in the community, currently very little is known about the underlying neural mechanisms responsible for this disorder.

“The current project aims to use ultra-high field Magnetic Resonance Imaging to explore brain function in individuals with chronic migraine compared with migraine-free controls,” Tiffani said.

“By understanding the underlying neural mechanisms, we aim to develop treatment strategies directed at reversing or eliminating the transformation of episodic migraine into chronic migraine, and thus to relieve individuals from the burden of chronic migraine.”

Currently, most treatments for migraine are aimed at blunting the migraine attack once it has begun, but Tiffani is interested in looking at how these attacks can be prevented.

“Consequently, determining the underlying mechanisms responsible for migraine itself, particularly the mechanisms involved in the transformation of episodic migraine into chronic migraine, is essential to develop more effective prophylactic treatment regimens for migraine.”

“A greater understanding about the underlying mechanisms responsible for chronic migraine can lead to the development of treatment strategies to prevent the facilitation of attacks and alleviate pain.”

Tiffani first became aware of the limited knowledge surrounding migraine pathophysiology during her honours year of a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Neuroscience.

“I am extremely passionate about my research and I am hoping to establish a successful career in the field of Neuroscience and migraine research with the intention of finding effective therapeutics for migraine sufferers.”

We wish Tiffani all the best with her PhD research and future career.