Dr Martin Lewis

Academic Status

College of Medicine and Public Health

place Flinders Medical Centre
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Neuropsychiatric Laboratory

Project #1. Precision Medicine in Mental Health. To improve genetic testing for personalised treatments. Pharmacogenetics is used to guide the selection of medicines and recommended doses most suited to particular genotypes. Long-read sequencing technologies can better genotype highly similar genes. The research team including psychiatrists, genetics and clinical pharmacologists are working to accelerate the optimisation of treatments for mental health.

Project #2. Epigenetics and Major Depression. Chronic psychological stress often manifests itself as Major Depressive Disorder. Sustained stress can alter corticotrophin releasing hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone and cortisol disrupting the homeostasis of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis due to maladaptive changes. A regulator of gene expression, PHF21B is associated with major depression. PHF21B belongs to a class of proteins that read epigenetic modifications on histones and respond by facilitating specific changes to gene expression. We aim to understand what cell signals regulate PHF21B and determine the gene set changes mediated by this epigenetic reader.

Project #3. Discovery of MECFS Biomarkers. Myalgic encephalomyelitis chronic fatigue syndrome (MECFS) often develops following a viral infection and can disrupt usual life activities including sleep. Suffers of this long-term illness can develop depression in time, although MECFS is distinctly different from depression. While exercise may exacerbate fatigue in MECSF suffers, those with depression often report exercise can improved mood. Similarly, antidepressants are not likely to give symptom relief for those with MECSF. In collaboration with Dr Michael Musker our research investigates potential genetic and inflammatory biomarkers in MECFS suffers.

Previous research

Neural stem cell proliferation and differentiation following stroke, or more specifically cerebral ischaemia. The roles and regulation of a brain specific transcription factor (Npas4) in the maturation of neural progentior cells into neurons was discoverd.

The cell biology of why mutations in the VHL gene cause renal cell carcinoma.


BSc (Hons). Flinders University. School of Biological Sciences

PhD. University of Adelaide. School of Medicine.

Supervisory interests
Anti-psychotic drugs
Genetic testing of humans
Neuropsychiatric disorders
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: The role of Npas4 in neural differentiation (2)
Associate supervisor: Chronic stress and Major Depressive Disorder (2), Neurophysiology and Electrophysiology of Dental Pulp Stem Cells (1), Biomarkers of Transient Ischaemic Attach (1), Stem Cell and Molecular Investigations Following Focal Cerebral Ischemia (1)