Richard Wade-Martins obtained his first degree at the University of Cambridge in Natural Sciences, taking Part II Genetics and graduating in 1995. In 1995 Richard was awarded a Wellcome Trust Prize Studentship to study for a doctorate at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at the University of Oxford. In 1998 he completed his D.Phil. and was awarded a Wellcome Trust Prize Fellowship to continue his work in Oxford. From 2000-2003 Richard worked at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School as an Instructor and a Wellcome Trust Travelling Research Fellow. Then, in 2004 Richard was awarded a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellowship and established his own research group back in Oxford at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics. In October 2006 Richard joined the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics as a University Lecturer and also as Tutor for Medicine at Christ Church.
Richard heads up the Molecular Neurodegeneration and Gene Therapy Research Group and his work consequently has two main interests. First, his laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. The work on neurodegeneration focuses in two areas; specifically, the study of gene expression in post-mortem patient brain tissue, and the study of cellular and molecular functions of key proteins in cell culture and in vivo models of neurodegeneration. Examples of the genes the laboratory studies include microtubule associated protein tau (MAPT), alpha-synuclein (SNCA) and leucine rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2). Neurodegenerative disease and dementia are set to become increasingly important in the aging populations of the Western world and understanding the molecular mechanisms will be the key to developing improved therapies.
The second interest of the Wade-Martins laboratory is in the field of gene therapy, specifically in developing novel viral gene expression vectors based on herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). The laboratory has developed a unique HSV-1 based vector system for the delivery and expression of complete genomic DNA loci named the infectious bacterial artificial chromosome, or iBAC, vector. Current projects are developing the iBAC vector system to treat the cellular and biochemical deficiencies associated with the genetic diseases familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) and Friedreich's ataxia (FA).
Further information can be found at Wade-Martins Research