Ralph Martins

Professor Ralph Martins AO

AO, KSJ, BSc (Hons), PhD, FRSM, CitWA, MAICD, Western Australian of the Year (2010), Foundation Chair in Ageing and Alzheimer's



My research career in the field of Ageing and Alzheimer's disease has spanned the past 30 years. Recognition of my tireless pursuit of research excellence, but most importantly functional and clinical outcomes, has come in the form of:

  • Over 260 peer-reviewed publications, published in prestigious high impact journals, such as the Journal of the American Medical Association, Molecular Psychiatry, Nature Publishing Group Journals, Annals of Neurology, and Neurology, and cited over 9,200 times since 1996;
  • Numerous keynote presentation invitations;
  • A stupendous testimony of securing research funding;
  • Considerable community engagement and industry collaboration; and
  • The generation of commercially and clinically valuable intellectual property, with eight patents leading to successful commercialisation outcomes.

I hold Adjunct Professorial appointments with esteemed universities around the world. I was instrumental in establishing the McCusker Alzheimer's Research Foundation in 2001 and hold the role of Director of Research. Dr. Malcolm McCusker AC CVO QC, the former Western Australian Governor is the patron of the Foundation.

In 2004 I was appointed by ECU to the Inaugural Chair in Ageing and Alzheimer's. I am the instigator and director of the Western Australian government-funded Centre of Excellence for Alzheimer's Disease Research and Care.

I have successfully built a substantial world-class research and clinical capacity in Western Australia, with active links to international peers at the forefront of the battle against Alzheimer's disease.

Recognising collaboration and teamwork on a global scale as key to solving this enormous scientific and medical challenge of Alzheimer's disease, I have led innumerable global collaborations facilitating international knowledge transfer. In the process, I have established not only Western Australia but Australia as a world leader in Alzheimer's research.

My research team has a well-established and outstanding track record and is a globally-recognised leader for Alzheimer's research. We are unique in traversing both clinical and laboratory-based research to facilitate the translation of research findings into improved diagnosis and care for people with Alzheimer's disease.

We have successfully identified specific proteins and genetic mutations that contribute to Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis. This notable finding of beta amyloid protein and oxidative stress as key features of Alzheimer's disease has instigated a series of proof-of-concept studies and made these features potential key targets for drug discovery and development.

In addition to research publications, research outputs have been epitomised by the establishment of sustained, user-driven and collaborative research centres with critical mass and expertise, including the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre, Cooperative Research Centre for Mental Health and the Centre of Excellence for Alzheimer's Disease Research and Care. These Centres have emphasised the importance of collaborative arrangements to maximise the benefits of research and to achieve high levels of outcomes in adoption, knowledge transfer and commercialisation.

This has generated commercially and clinically valuable intellectual property, with significant patents leading to successful outcomes.

Recognising collaboration and teamwork on a global scale as key to solving scientific and medical challenges in Alzheimer's disease, innumerable global collaborations have been led to facilitate international knowledge transfer. The Australian Imaging Biomarkers and Lifestyle study of Ageing has been acknowledged as one of the best characterised and leading Alzheimer's disease cohorts in the world.

A substantial contribution has been made to the development of skills relevant to industry needs through research training, professional development and quality mentorship for a high number of postgraduate research students and post-doctoral researchers.

My neuroscience research team at ECU is well placed to achieve further success through its ever-expanding multidisciplinary network for which I have spent the last two decades creating the foundation and influencing the direction of international research on all these fronts.

Significant opportunities exist to strengthen and expand research capacity in this vital area and to place ECU strategically as the hub of national and international collaboration for these pivotal activities resulting in world-class research outputs.

ECU provides the ideal learning environment for people who want to reach their potential. Just 25km north of Perth lies the Joondalup Learning Precinct, the only educational facility in the world incorporating a university, police academy and technical and further education college.

At ECU, research staff and students aim to make a difference through innovative research that contributes to policy development, improving professional practice, improved health outcomes and quality of life, and influencing communities and culture and the arts, as well as expanding the world's body of knowledge.

I strongly encourage you to learn more about ECU's cutting-edge research and to foster creativity and collaboration. Meanwhile, I sincerely welcome you to join me in pursuing research excellence.