PROF Colin Masters

PROF Colin Masters


  • Neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer's disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, etc...)



  • In 1984, Beyreuther and Masters purified and sequenced the amyloid constituent of the plaque in Alzheimer’s disease, and three years later, their group used this sequence to clone the gene encoding the Aβ amyloid peptide located on chromosome 21. These studies demonstrated that the Aβ amyloid was derived by proteolytic cleavage of a neuronal transmembrane receptor. Subsequent studies by many groups has shown that a variety of Aβ-amyloid oligomers lie at the centre of AD pathogenesis, and these are now the validated primary targets for both diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. Masters and Beyreuther therefore defined the principal molecular and genetic pathways leading to the current Aβ amyloid theory of causation of Alzheimer’s disease.
    More recent studies from Masters and colleagues have also demonstrated the time-course over which the Aβ accumulates in the evolution of Alzheimer’s disease, using molecular PET- Aβ imaging, allowing the preclinical and prodromal stages to be identified during life. They have also identified some of the genetic determinants which affect the rates of cognitive decline. These insights into the natural history of Alzheimer’s disease will have a major impact on clinical trial design and provide prognostic information for subjects at risk.   


Member of

  • Korean Brain Research Institute. International Scientific Advisory Board 2013 -
  • NHMRC Research Translation Faculty. Steering group 2013 -
  • Eli Lilly Company. Global Advisory 2012 -
  • Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network (DIAN). Steering Committee 2011 -
  • Alzheimer's Disease International. Medical and Scientific Advisory Panel 2010 -
  • Directors Coordination Forum. Melbourne Neuroscience Project 2008 -
  • Prana Biotechnology. Scientific Advisory Board 2007 -
  • Australian Imaging Biomarkers and Lifestyle (AIBL) study. Management Committee 2006 -
  • International Conference on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease.. Scientific Advisory Board 2005 -
  • World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP). Task Force on Dementia 2004 -
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Registry Advisory Group, Commonwealth Department of Health and Aging. Chair 2003 -
  • Communicable Diseases Network Australia New Zealand. Infection Control Steering Committee 2000 -
  • International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders. International Scientific Advisory Committee 2000 -
  • Van Cleef/Roet Centre for Nervous Diseases, Monash University. Advisory Board 2000 -
  • World Federation of Neurology Research Group on Dementia. Executive Committee 2000 -
  • Australian National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Case Registry. Co-Director 1993 -


Selected publications


Investigator on


Education and training

  • BMedSc, The University of Western Australia
  • BS, The University of Western Australia
  • MD, The University of Western Australia

Awards and honors

  • CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement, 2011
  • Leach Lecture and Medal, Lorne Conference on Protein Structure and Function, 2009
  • Honorary Doctor of Letters, The University of Western Australia, 2008
  • Victoria Prize from the Minister for Innovation, State Government of Victoria and the Smorgon Foundation, 2007
  • Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, 2007
  • Grand Hamdan International Award for Medical Sciences in the field of Molecular and Cellular Pathology of Neurological Disorders (Dubai), 2006
  • Lifetime Achievement Award in Alzheimer's Disease Research (Alzheimer's Association), 2006
  • Lennox K.Black Prize, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, 2006
  • Honorary Chief-Elect, Ikoro II of Ogborland, Ogbor Autonomous Community, Ihitteafoukwu, Ahiazu Mbaisc, Imo State, (Nigeria), 2006
  • Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, 1999
  • Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia, 1989
  • Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists, Australia, 1986