Professor Ralph Martins
Professor Ralph Martins, Foundation Chair in Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease at Edith Cowan University, was appointed the Director of the Centre. He graduated from the University of Western Australia with a PhD in 1986, and in 1987 won a scholarship to Heidelberg University to work with Konrad Beyreuther. His collaborative seminal research involved isolating and characterising beta-amyloid and its precursor, the amyloid precursor protein (APP), which are now recognized as central to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease.
He was the first to propose and demonstrate that the Alzheimer brain was under oxidative stress, which is now widely recognized by the Alzheimer research community. In 1989 he joined Professor Masters at Melbourne University where he was the first to isolate and characterize the molecular components of the neuropathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. This led to an international patent and formation of a spin-off company, Alzhyme Pty Ltd. In 2001 he won a Media Fellowship with the ABC and was the first Media Fellow to have his work on the Science Show. In 2002 he won a Biotechnology Innovation Fund grant, which was matched by commercial funding. He established the Sir James McCusker Alzheimer’s Research Unit at Hollywood Hospital, whose research is directed at the cause(s), and development of diagnostics and treatments. He received the UWA “Excellence in Teaching Award – Post Graduate Research” for 2002 and in 2003 was appointed Senior Editor, for the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Editorial Board Member for Current Drug Targets CNS & Neurological Disease.
Edith Cowan University appointed him to the Inaugural Chair, Ageing and Alzheimer’s Disease in 2004. He has Adjunct Professorial positions and close ties with clinical academics with both the University of Western Australia and Thomas Jefferson University’s Farber Neurosciences Institute. He is instigator and director of the state government funded Centre of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease Research and Care composed of researchers from 4 universities, 3 hospitals and 2 healthcare providers.