An ambitious researcher, Dr. Matthew Farrer has made several influential discoveries in neurogenetics, and is critically acclaimed for his work on the genetics of Parkinson’s disease. Before accepting his position as Canada Excellence Research Chair in Neurogenetics and Translational Neuroscience at UBC, Farrer was a professor of molecular neuroscience and Director of the Division of Neurogenetics, the Transgenic Core Facility, and several neurogenetics laboratories at Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida.
In 2008, he was named a Mayo Clinic Distinguished Investigator, the Clinic’s highest award for research excellence, for his outstanding contributions to neurogenetics and translational neuroscience. At the Clinic, he worked on innovating new treatments for patients suffering from neurologic disease by refining diagnosis and identifying biomarkers of early and progressive disease. Farrer’s studies on model development and characterization have helped define the biologic systems perturbed by genetic mutations, and have laid the foundation for new and effective therapies. As a scientist, Farrer is currently cited as having made the greatest impact on the field of Parkinson’s disease research in the past decade.
Farrer holds a PhD in human genetics from Imperial College London, United Kingdom, and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from King’s College London, UK. His thesis studies focused on brain disorders, namely age-associated cognitive dysfunction in Down syndrome, and the complex trait genetics of trisomy 21. He was also a postdoctoral fellow in medical and community genetics at the Kennedy-Galton Centre of Medical and Community Genetics, St. Mark’s Hospital, Harrow, UK.
His current research interests are age-related neurodegenerative disorders, with a focus on the molecular genetics and functional modeling of movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia.