Martin Lewis

Dr, PhD, BSc (Hons)

  • 757 Citations
  • 14 h-Index
1993 …2019

Research output per year

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Personal profile

Public Profile

PhD training included classical biochemical assays, protein purification, and proteomic analysis in the field of lysosomal storage disorders.  Subsequent postdoctoral cell biology research on the tumour suppressor protein VHL examined the molecular mechanisms by which this E3 ubiquitin ligase functioned in a protein complex required for degradation of the hypoxic inducible factors.  A lecturing position in Pharmaceutical Biotecnology ensued for eighteen months.

Joining an ARC centre for the Molecular Genetics of Development, and then the Stroke Research Programme, research focused on the neuronal transcription factor Npas4.  This brain specific gene regulator is induced following traumas including seizure or cerebral ischaemia. Studies investigating this gene involved several models: morpholino injections into zebrafish embryos; neuronal differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells; and an Npas4 knockout mouse.  These models enabled data on morphological and gene expression changes, and behavioural consequences of reduced Npas4 expression following stress.

Characterisation of depression-like behaviour in Npas4 null mice lead to research in pre-clinical models of depression.  In 2014, Martin Lewis joined the Mind & Brain Theme at the South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute.

Research Interests

Understanding the biology and mechanisms by which chronic psychological stress leads to Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). 

Investigation of biomarkers identified in human gene-wide associations studies (GWAS) and pre-clinical models of chronic stress.  We aim to identify the roles played by these genes, proteins and molecules in depression and related illnesses.

Spinal injury lags far behind, heart attack and stroke in terms of prognostic and diagnostic tools. We aim for more informative imaging methods using novel tracers to further our understanding of both acute and chronic spinal injuries.  New knowledge will better inform the timing and type of therapeutic interventions.

The pathophysiology of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is currently unclear.  We aim to characterise the biological changes that have occurred to explain and better treat this condition.

Enhancing Recovery Following Stroke Through Npas4 Activation.  Npas4 is a neuronal transcription factor involved in neural development and cellular differentiation of stems cells into neurons.  Npas4 also plays a role in response to cerebral insults such as stroke or seizure.


Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor's Degree (Honours), Flinders University

PhD, University of Adelaide

External positions

Affiliate Senior Lecturer, College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University

2014 → …

Affiliate Senior Lecturer, School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, The University of Adelaide

2014 → …


  • Neuroscience
  • Neuronal disorders
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology
  • Proteomics
  • Mental Health
  • Chronic Stress
  • Major Depression
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Spinal Injury
  • Ischaemic stroke

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output

Chronic stress induces hypersensitivity of murine gastric vagal afferents

Li, H., Buisman-Pijlman, F. T. A., Nunez-Salces, M., Christie, S., Frisby, C. L., Inserra, A., Hatzinikolas, G., Lewis, M., Kritas, S., Wong, M. L. & Page, A., 26 Jun 2019, In : Neurogastroenterology and Motility. 31, 12, e13669.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Lack of CASP1, IFNGR and NOS2 Genes Alter Depressive-, Anxiety-Like Behavior and Gut Microbiota

Wong, M-L., Inserra, A., Choo, J., Lewis, M., Rogers, G. & Licinio, J., 15 May 2019, In : Biological Psychiatry. 85, 10, Supplement, p. S174-S175 T118.

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstract

Mice lacking Casp1, Ifngr and Nos2 genes exhibit altered depressive- and anxiety-like behaviour, and gut microbiome composition

Inserra, A., Choo, J., Lewis, M., Rogers, G., Wong, M. L. & Licinio, J., 1 Dec 2019, In : Scientific Reports. 9, 1, p. 1-12 12 p., 6456.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
2 Citations (Scopus)

Short-term antidepressant treatment has long-lasting effects, and reverses stress-induced decreases in bone features in rats

Lee, S. H., Mastronardi, C. A., Li, R. W., Paz-Filho, G., Dutcher, E. G., Lewis, M., Vincent, A. D., Smith, P. N., Bornstein, S. R., Licinio, J. & Wong, M. L., 1 Dec 2019, In : Translational Psychiatry. 9, 1, 10.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

18-kDa translocator protein radioligand [18F]GE-180 as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker following spinal cord injury

O'Hare Doig, R., Lewis, M., Keller, M., Clark, J., Jones, C. & Freeman, B. J. C., 2018.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster