2015 – CSL Florey Medallist – Prof Perry Bartlett
When Perry started exploring the brain in 1977, the mature brain was regarded as static and unchangeable. He challenged this dogma and his work has led to a transformation in our understanding of the brain.
In 1982 Perry predicted that there were stem cells in the brain. In 1992 he found them in mouse embryos then in adult mice. A decade later, he isolated them from the forebrain. His next big project was building up the Queensland Brain Institute from ten people to 500 in little more than a decade. Subsequently, the Institute has unleashed a new generation of neuroscientists whose discoveries range from using ultrasound to treat Alzheimer’s disease, to finding stem cells associated with mood, spatial learning and more.
Today, Perry is focusing on taking his latest discovery from mice to the clinic. He and the research team he mentors are preparing to start human trials to determine if exercise really can slow down or reverse dementia in humans. Dementia affects more than 300,000 Australians and many more cases are expected as our population ages. It’s a devastating condition and the direct cost to the community is more than $5 billion a year. The impact on families is beyond measure.
Perry receives the 2015 CSL Florey Medal for his revolutionary discoveries that have transformed our understanding of the brain and for his leadership of neuroscience in Australia.