Professor Ashley Bush

2014 Victoria Prize for Science & Innovation

Professor Bush is a recipient of the 2014 Victoria Prize for Science & Innovation for his outstanding body of work on translational neuroscience. This includes new findings on the cause of Alzheimer’s disease and the importance of metal biology in degenerative brain diseases.

Professor Bush’s research addresses how the interaction of key proteins and metals in the brain contributes to the development of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.

With neither a modifying treatment for Alzheimer’s, nor a predictive diagnostic test currently available, this research is urgent. Professor Bush is actively working to develop disease-modifying drugs as well as blood tests to help diagnose and monitor disease progression.

Degenerative brain disease research is of critical importance given the proportion of Australians aged over 65 is projected to reach more than 27% by 2051.

Professor Bush’s approach has championed an alternative to mainstream research by using an innovative target to develop a class of novel drugs (represented by PBT2) that has shown promise in not only treating Alzheimer’s disease and other brain diseases, but in potentially preventing the progression of age-related cognitive decline. The mechanism of this class of drug involves restoring the uptake of trapped physiological metals to trigger biochemical and anatomical changes to rescue brain function.

The extremely promising results - in animals and humans - have been published in scientific journals, and the drug class is now moving through testing with the aim of delivering an effective treatment to market for degenerative brain diseases.

Professor Bush is the Director of the Oxidation Biology Unit at The Florey Institute, an NHMRC Australia Fellow, Co-Director of Biomarker Discovery for the Australian Imaging Biomarker and Lifestyle Flagship Study of Ageing, Chief Scientific Officer of the Cooperative Research Centre for Mental Health, and holds an academic appointment at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Potamkin Prize for Alzheimer’s research.