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Associate Professor Simon Laws

Genomic Leader/Deputy CSO (CRC-MH)

Contact Information Telephone: +61 8 6304 5128, Mobile: 0408 789 680, Email:, Campus: Joondalup, Room: JO17.210
Staff Member Details
Telephone: +61 8 6304 5128
Mobile: 0408 789 680
Campus: Joondalup  
Room: JO17.210  


Simon is an Associate Professor in the School of Medical and Health Sciences where he leads the Collaborative Genomics Group. Simon is also currently the Deputy Chief Scientific Officer of the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Mental Health.


  • Nov 2011 – present: Associate Professor, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia
  • Nov 2011 – present: Deputy Chief Scientific Officer, Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Mental Health
  • April 2009 – Nov 2011: Research Fellow, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia        
  • Nov 2007 – Mar 2009: Research Fellow, Department of Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Neurogenetics Laboratory, Technische Universität München, Germany     
  • Jan 2005 – Oct 2007: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Department of Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Neurogenetics Laboratory, Technische Universität München, Germany       
  • Mar 2004 – Dec 2004: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, McCusker Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, Perth, Australia     
  • Jul 2003 – Mar 2004: Research Associate, Alzhyme Pty Ltd, Perth, Australia                                                                                                                                                              

Professional Associations

  • 2014 – present: Australasian Neuroscience Society (ANS)
  • 2013 – present: Alzheimer’s Association International Society to Advance Alzheimer's Research and Treatment (ISTAART) – including membership of the Blood-based Biomarker Professional Interest Area (PIA)
  • 2012 – present: Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)
  • 2011 – present: Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR)

Research Areas and Interests

Associate Professor Laws currently leads The Collaborative Genomics Group, within the Centre of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease Research and Care part of ECU’s School of Medical and Health Sciences. His research primarily focuses on understanding the genetic and epigenetic architecture of Alzheimer’s Disease and related phenotypes, such as changes in memory performance and pathognomonic features. His group utilizes an integrative “omic” approach to Alzheimer’s Disease research through combining genetic, epigenetic and comprehensive longitudinal phenotype data. With the following primary research foci:

Understanding the Genomic Architecture of Rates of Change in AD-related Phenotypes

  • Develop genetic/epigenetic risk profiles for rates of change
  • Determine if peripheral methylation patterns track with AD phenotypes

The interaction of genomics and modifiable lifestyle factors and the impact on rates of change in AD-related phenotypes

  • Understanding the genetic basis of differential effects of lifestyle patterns/choices
  • Determine the impact of positive lifestyle choices on peripheral methylation patterns

Associate Professor Laws also undertakes broader genetic and epigenetic collaborative research with scientists in the Australian research community.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Western Australia, 2003.
  • Bachelor of Science, Curtin University of Technology, 1999.


Recent Research Grants

  • Genetic Linkages to mTOR pathway dysregulation and development of Alzheimers Disease,  CRC For Mental Health,  WES Study,  2015 - 2018,  $524,000.
  • Biomarkers and Early Intervention for Neurodegeneration,  CRC For Mental Health,  CRC Grant,  2011 - 2018,  $542,192.
  • 4.1 Biomarkers for Early Diagnosis of AD and PD,  CRC For Mental Health,  CRC Grant,  2011 - 2018,  $6,524,765.
  • Impact of genetics on the effect that modifiable lifestyle factors have on rates of change in Alzheimers Disease,  Equity Trustees Limited,  Mason Foundation National Medical Program (funded by the J. J. Mason & H.S. Williams Memorial Foundation),  2016 - 2017,  $55,370.
  • Development and refinement of methods for early and specific diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, quantification of rates of change in the pathological processes and determination of the resultant effects on cognition.,  Fil Foundation,  Grant,  2015 - 2017,  $417,506.
  • CRC for Mental Health - Neurogenerative disease: Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) study ,  CRC For Mental Health,  GWAS Study,  2014 - 2016,  $395,000.
  • In vitro functional analysis of Alzheimer?s disease associated genetic variants,  Department of Health WA,  Near Miss Merit Awards,  2015 - 2016,  $75,000.
  • Validation of genetic variants and their functional implications in Alzheimers Disease,  ANZ Executors and Trustee Company Limited,  Judith Jane Mason and Harold Stannett Williams Memorial Foundation - National Medical & Scientific Grants,  2014 - 2015,  $40,000.
  • Western Australian Zebrafish Facility,  Australian Research Council,  Grant - Linkage (Infrastructure),  2014,  $682,000.
  • Discovery and Validation of Alzheimer's disease biomarkers in human plasma,  National Health and Medical Research Council,  Project Grants,  2011 - 2014,  $352,524.
  • AIBL: Imaging and genetic study add-ons (ECU project: Genomic Studies - Candidate Gene Validation Stream),  Confidential,  Confidential,  2011 - 2012,  $95,238.
  • NEW INDEPENDENT RESEARCHER INFRASTRUCTURE SUPPORT (NIRIS) AWARDS 2011,  Medical and Health Research Infrastructure Council WA,  New Independent Researcher Infrastructure Support (NIRIS),  2011 - 2012,  $10,000.
  • Neon Transfection System and Biomedical Research Grade -30oC Freezer for Alzheimer?s and Melanoma Research,  National Health and Medical Research Council,  Equipment Grant 2011,  2011 - 2012,  $10,927.
  • Molecular & neuropsychological predictive markers of cognitive decline,  National Health and Medical Research Council,  Grant,  2005 - 2007,  $423,750.

Recent Publications (within the last five years)

Journal Articles

  • Brown, B., Rainey-Smith, S., Villemagne, V., Weinborn, M., Bucks, R., Sohrabi, H., Laws, S., Taddei, K., Macaulay, SL., Ames, D., Fowler, C., Maruff, P., Masters, C., Rowe, C., Martins, R., (2016), The relationship between sleep quality and brain amyloid burden. Sleep, 39(5), 1063-1068, Westchester, USA, DOI: 10.5665/sleep.5756.
  • Porter, T., Bharadwaj, P., Groth, D., Paxman, A., Laws, S., Martins, R., Verdile, G., (2016), The Effects of Latrepirdine on Amyloid-? Aggregation and Toxicity. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 50(3), 895-905, Netherlands, DOI: 10.3233/JAD-150790.
  • Burnham, S., Bourgeat, P., Dore, V., Savage, G., Brown, B., Laws, S., Maruff, P., Salvado, O., Ames, D., Martins, R., Masters, C., Rowe, C., Villemagne, V., (2016), Clinical and cognitive trajectories in cognitively healthy elderly individuals with suspected non-Alzheimer's disease pathophysiology (SNAP) or Alzheimer's disease pathology: a longitudinal study. Lancet Neurology, 15(10), 1044-1053, London, UK, DOI: 10.1016/S1474-4422(16)30125-9.
  • Lim, Y., Laws, S., Villemagne, V., Pietrzak, R., Porter, T., Ames, D., Fowler, C., Rainey-Smith, S., Snyder, P., Martins, R., Salvado, O., Bourgeat, P., Rowe, C., Masters, C., Maruff, P., (2016), A?-related memory decline in APOE ?4 non-carriers: Implications for Alzheimer?s disease. Neurology, 86(17), 1635-1642, DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000002604.
  • Gardener, S., Sohrabi, H., Shen, K., Rainey-Smith, S., Weinborn, M., Bates, K., Shah, T., Foster, J., Lenzo, N., Salvado, O., Laske, C., Laws, S., Taddei, K., Martins, R., (2016), Cerebral Glucose Metabolism is Associated with Verbal but not Visual Memory Performance in Community-Dwelling Older Adults. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 52(2), 661-672, Netherlands, DOI: 10.3233/JAD-151084.
  • Gupta, V., Doecke, J., Hone, E., Pedrini, S., Laws, S., Thambisetty, M., Bush, A., Rowe, C., Villemagne, V., Ames, D., Masters, C., Macaulay, SL., Rembach, A., Rainey-Smith, S., Martins, R., (2016), Plasma apolipoprotein J as a potential biomarker for Alzheimer's disease: Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle study of aging. Alzheimers and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring, 3(2016), 18-26, DOI: 10.1016/j.dadm.2015.12.001.
  • Burnham, S., Rowe, C., Baker, D., Bush, A., Doecke, JD., Faux, N., Laws, S., Martins, R., Maruff, P., Macaulay, S., Rainey-Smith, S., Savage, G., Ames, D., Masters, C., Wilson, W., Villemagne, V., (2016), Predicting Alzheimer disease from a blood-based biomarker profile. Neurology, 87(11), 1093-1101, DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000003094.
  • Pietrzak, RH., Lim, YY., Ames, D., Harrington, K., Restrepo, C., Martins, R., Rembach, A., Laws, S., Masters, CL., Villemagne, VL., Rowe, CC., Maruff, P., (2015), Trajectories of memory decline in preclinical Alzheimer's disease: Results from the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle Flagship Study of Ageing. Neurobiology of Aging, 36(3), 1231-1238, United States, DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.12.015.
  • Sohrabi, H., Bates, K., Weinborn, M., Bucks, R., Rainey-Smith, S., Rodrigues, M., Bird, S., Brown, B., Beilby, J., Howard, M., Criddle, A., Wraith, M., Taddei, K., Martins, G., Paton, A., Shah, T., Dhaliwal, S., Mehta, P., Foster, J., Martins, I., Lautenschlager, N., Mastaglia, F., Laws, S., Martins, R., (2015), Bone mineral density, adiposity, and cognitive functions. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 7(FEB), Article no. 16, Lausanne, Switzerland, DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2015.00016.
  • Li, Q., Villemagne, V., Doecke, J., Rembach, A., Sarros, S., Varghese, S., McGlade, A., Laughton, K., Pertile, K., Fowler, C., Rumble, R., Trounson, B., Taddei, K., Rainey-Smith, S., Laws, S., Robertson, J., Evered, L., Silbert, B., Ellis, K., Rowe, C., Macaulay, S., Darby, D., Martins, R., Ames, D., Masters, C., Collins, S., (2015), Alzheimer?s Disease Normative Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarkers Validated in PET Amyloid-? Characterized Subjects from the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle (AIBL) study. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 48(1), 175-187, Amsterdam, Netherlands, DOI: 10.3233/JAD-150247.
  • Rembach, A., Evered, L., Li, Q., Nash, T., Vidaurre, L., Fowler, CJ., Pertile, KK., Rumble, RL., Trounson, BO., Maher, S., Mooney, F., Farrow, M., Taddei, K., Rainey-Smith, S., Laws, S., Macaulay, SL., Wilson, W., Darby, DG., Martins, R., Ames, D., Collins, S., Silbert, B., Masters, CL., Doecke, JD., Aibl Research Group, .., (2015), Alzheimer's Disease cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers are not influenced by gravity drip or aspiration extraction methodology. Alzheimer's Research and Therapy, 7(2015), Article number 71, London, United Kingdom, DOI: 10.1186/s13195-015-0157-7.
  • Thai, C., Lim, YY., Villemagne, VL., Laws, S., Ames, D., Ellis, KA., Rainey-Smith, S., Martins, R., Masters, CL., Rowe, CC., Maruff, P., Aibl Research Group, .., (2015), Amyloid-Related Memory Decline in Preclinical Alzheimer?s Disease is Dependent on APOE ?4 and is Detectable over 18-Months. PLoS One, 10(10), Article number e0139082, San Francisco, California, United States, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0139082.
  • Gupta, V., Wilson, A., Burnham, S., Hone, E., Pedrini, S., Laws, S., Lim, F., Rembach, A., Rainey-Smith, S., Ames, D., Cobiac, L., Macaulay, SL., Masters, C., Rowe, C., Bush, A., Martins, R., (2015), Follow-up plasma apolipoprotein E levels in the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle Flagship Study of Ageing (AIBL) cohort. Alzheimer's Research and Therapy, 7(1), Article no.16, United Kingdom, DOI: 10.1186/s13195-015-0105-6.
  • Gu, B., Field, J., Duterte, S., Ou, A., Kilpatrick, T., Lechner-Scott, J., Scott, R., Lea, R., Taylor, B., Stankovich, J., Butzkueven, H., Gresle, M., Laws, S., Petrou, S., Hoffjan, S., Akkad, D., Graham, C., Hawkins, S., Glaser, A., Bedri, S., Hillert, J., Matute, C., Antiguedad, A., Consortium, A., Wiley, J., (2015), A rare P2X7 variant Arg307Gln with absent pore formation function protects against neuroinflammation in multiple sclerosis. Human Molecular Genetics, 24(19), 5644-54, Oxford, United Kingdom, DOI: 10.1093/hmg/ddv278.
  • Lim, YY., Villemagne, VL., Laws, S., Pietrzak, RH., Snyder, PJ., Ames, D., Ellis, KA., Harrington, K., Rembach, A., Martins, R., Rowe, CC., Masters, CL., Maruff, P., (2014), APOE and BDNF polymorphisms moderate amyloid ?-related cognitive decline in preclinical Alzheimer's disease. Molecular Psychiatry, online first(online first), 1-7, United Kingdom, DOI: 10.1038/mp.2014.123.
  • Rembach, A., Faux, N., Watt, A., Pertile, K., Rumble, R., Trounson, B., Fowler, C., Roberts, B., Perez, K., Li, Q., Laws, S., Taddei, K., Rainey-Smith, S., Robertson, J., Vandijck, M., Vanderstichele, H., Barnham, K., Ellis, K., Szoeke, C., Macaulay, L., Rowe, C., Villemagne, V., Ames, D., Martins, R., Bush, A., Masters, C., Aibl Research Group, T., (2014), Changes in plasma amyloid beta in a longitudinal study of aging and Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's and Dementia, 10(1), 53-61, United States, DOI: 10.1016/j.jalz.2012.12.006.
  • Brown, B., Bourgeat, P., Peiffer, J., Burnham, S., Laws, S., Rainey-Smith, S., Bartres-Faz, D., Villemagne, V., Taddei, K., Rembach, A., Bush, A., Ellis, K., Macaulay, SL., Rowe, C., Ames, D., Masters, C., Maruff, P., Martins, R., (2014), Influence of BDNF Val66Met on the relationship between physical activity and brain volume. Neurology, 83(15), 1345-52, DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000000867.
  • Kanyenda, L., Verdile, G., Martins, R., Meloni, B., Chieng, J., Mastaglia, F., Laws, S., Anderton, R., Boulos, S., (2014), Is cholesterol and amyloid-? stress induced CD147 expression a protective response? Evidence that extracellular cyclophilin a mediated neuroprotection is reliant on CD147. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 39(3), 545-546, Netherlands, DOI: 10.3233/JAD-131442.
  • Lim, YY., Villemagne, V., Laws, S., Ames, D., Pietrzak, R., Ellis, K., Harrington, K., Bourgeat, P., Bush, A., Martins, R., Masters, C., Rowe, C., Maruff, P., (2014), Effect of BDNF Val66Met on memory decline and hippocampal atrophy in prodromal Alzheimer?s disease: A preliminary study. PLoS One, 9(1), Article no. e86498, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086498.
  • Villemagne, V., Dore, V., Yates, P., Brown, B., Mulligan, R., Bourgeat, P., Veljanoski, R., Rainey-Smith, S., Ong, K., Rembach, A., Williams, R., Burnham, S., Laws, S., Salvado, O., Taddei, K., Macaulay, SL., Martins, R., Ames, D., Masters, C., Rowe, C., (2014), En Attendant Centiloid. Advances in Research, 2(12), 723-729, Online, DOI: 10.9734/AIR/2014/11599.
  • Burnham, S., Faux, N., Wilson, W., Laws, S., Ames, D., Bedo, J., Bush, A., Doecke, J., Ellis, K., Head, R., Jones, G., Kiiveri, H., Martins, R., Rembach, A., Rowe, C., Salvado, O., Macaulay, SL., Masters, C., Villemagne, V., (2013), A blood-based predictor for neocortical A-beta burden in Alzheimer's disease: results from the AIBL study. Molecular Psychiatry, 19(2014), 519-526, United Kingdom.
  • Lim, YY., Villemagne, V., Laws, S., Ames, D., Pietrzak, R., Ellis, K., Harrington, K., Bourgeat, P., Salvado, O., Darby, D., Snyder, P., Bush, A., Martins, R., Masters, C., Rowe, C., Nathan, P., Maruff, P., (2013), BDNF Val66Met, Abeta amyloid, and cognitive decline in preclinical Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiology of Aging, 34(11), 2457-2464, United States.
  • Martins, I., Lim, F., Wilson, A., Laws, S., Martins, R., (2013), The acceleration of aging and Alzheimer?s disease through the biological mechanisms behind obesity and type II diabetes. Health, 5(5), 913-920, United States of America, DOI: 10.4236/health.2013.55121.
  • Sharman, M., Moussavi Nik, S., Chen, M., Ong, D., Wijaya, L., Laws, S., Taddei, K., Newman, M., Lardelli, M., Martins, R., Verdile, G., (2013), The Guinea Pig as a Model for Sporadic Alzheimer's Disease (AD): The Impact of Cholesterol Intake on Expression of AD-Related Genes. PLoS One, 8(6), e66235.
  • Sohrabi, H., Bates, K., Weinborn, M., Johnston, A., Bahramian, A., Taddei, K., Laws, S., Rodrigues, M., Morici, M., Howard, M., Martins, G., Mackay-Sim, A., Gandy, S., Martins, R., (2012), Olfactory discrimination predicts cognitive decline amongst community-dwelling older adults. Translational Psychiatry , 2(2012), art. no. e118 , DOI: 10.1038/tp.2012.43.
  • Martins, I., Wilson, A., Lim, F., Laws, S., Fuller, S., Martins, R., (2012), Sirtuin-1 mediates the obesity induced risk of common degenerative diseases: Alzheimer?s disease, coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes. Health, 4(12A), 1448-1456, United States, DOI: 10.4236/health.2012.412A209.
  • Guo, LH., Westerteicher, C., Wang, X., Kratzer, M., Tsolakidou, A., Jiang, M., Grimmer, T., Laws, S., Alexopoulos, P., Bujo, H., Kurz, A., Perneczky, R., (2012), SORL1 genetic variants and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 262(6), 529-534, DOI: 10.1007/s00406-012-0295-x.
  • Brown, B., Peiffer, J., Taddei, K., Lui, J., Laws, S., Gupta, V., Taddei, T., Ward, V., Rodrigues, M., Burnham, S., Rainey-Smith, S., Villemagne, V., Bush, A., Ellis, K., Masters, C., Ames, D., Macaulay, L., Szoeke, C., Rowe, C., Martins, R., (2012), Physical activity and amyloid-? plasma and brain levels: results from the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle Study of Ageing. Molecular Psychiatry, 18(8), 875-881, United Kingdom.
  • Doecke, J., Laws, S., Faux, N., Wilson, W., Burnham, S., Lam, P., Mondal, A., Bedo, J., Bush, A., Brown, B., De Ruyck, K., Ellis, K., Fowler, C., Gupta, V., Head, R., Macaulay, SL., Pertile, K., Rowe, C., Rembach, A., Rodrigues, M., Rumble, R., Szoeke, C., Taddei, K., Taddei, T., Trounson, B., Ames, D., Masters, C., Martins, R., (2012), Blood-Based Protein Biomarkers for Diagnosis of Alzheimer Disease. Archives of Neurology, 69(10), 1318-1325, United States, DOI: 10.1001/archneurol.2012.1282.
  • Verdile, G., Laws, S., Henley, D., Ames, D., Bush, A., Ellis, K., Faux, N., Gupta, V., Li, Q., Masters, C., Pike, K., Rowe, C., Szoeke, C., Taddei, K., Villemagne, V., Martins, R., (2012), Associations between gonadotropins, testosterone and ? amyloid in men at risk of Alzheimer's disease. Molecular Psychiatry, 19(1), 69-75, United Kingdom, DOI: 10.1038/mp.2012.147.
  • Lau, S., Bates, K., Sohrabi, H., Rodrigues, M., Martins, G., Dhaliwal, S., Taddei, K., Laws, S., Martins, I., Mastaglia, F., Foster, J., Phillips, J., Martins, R., (2012), Functional effects of genetic polymorphism in inflammatory genes in subjective memory complainers. Neurobiology of Aging, 33(6), 1054-1056, United States, DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2010.09.003.
  • Laws, S., Eckart, K., Freidrich, P., Kurz, A., Forstl, H., Riemenschneider, M., (2011), Lack of evidence to support the association of polymorphisms within the ? and ? secretase genes (ADAM10/BACE1) with Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiology of Aging, 32(3), 541-543, United States, DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2009.02.023.
  • Lambert, J., Dallongeville, J., Ellis, KA., Schraen-Maschke, S., Lui, J., Laws, S., Dumont, J., Richard, F., Cottel, D., Berr, C., Ames, D., Masters, CL., Rowe, CC., Szoeke, C., Tzourio, C., Dartigues, J., Buee, L., Martins, R., Amouyel, P., (2011), Association of plasma A? peptides with blood pressure in the elderly. PLoS One, 6(4), e18536, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018536.
  • Faux, NG., Ellis, KA., Porter, L., Fowler, CJ., Laws, S., Martins, R., Pertile, K., Rembach, A., Rowe, CC., Rumble, RL., Szoeke, C., Taddei, K., Taddei, T., Trounson, BO., Villemagne, VL., Ward, V., Ames, D., Masters, CL., Bush, A., (2011), Homocysteine, Vitamin B12, and Folic Acid Levels in Alzheimer's Disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and Healthy Elderly: Baseline Characteristics in Subjects of the Australian Imaging Biomarker Lifestyle Study. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 27(4), 909-922 , Netherlands, DOI: 10.3233/JAD-2011-I10752.
  • Gupta, V., Laws, S., Villemagne, V., Ames, D., Bush, A., Ellis, K., Lui, J., Masters, C., Rowe, C., Szoeke, C., Taddei, K., Martins, R., (2011), Plasma apolipoprotein e and Alzheimer disease risk: The AIBL study of aging. Neurology, 76(12), 1091-1098, DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e318211c352.
  • Pike, K., Ellis, KA., Villemagne, VL., Good, N., Chetelat, G., Ames, D., Szoeke, C., Laws, S., Verdile, G., Martins, R., Masters, CL., Rowe, CC., (2011), Cognition and beta-amyloid in preclinical Alzheimer's disease: Data from the AIBL study. Neuropsychologia, 49(9), 2384-2390, DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.04.012.
  • Freidrich, P., Feulner, T., Laws, S., Eckart, K., Perneczky, R., Kurz, A., Forstl, H., Riemenschneider, M., (2011), No association of Tachykinin receptor 2 (TACR2) polymorphisms with Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiology of Aging, 32(3), 544-545, United States, DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2009.03.007.
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