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.
Awards and achievements
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
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
BMedSc, The University of Western Australia
BS, The University of Western Australia
MD, The University of Western Australia
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