Our lab’s vision is to develop an interdisciplinary approach to dementia research and care. Dementia is a complex condition that crosses a number of clinical and scientific disciplines. We understand that a strong, multifaceted approach is required to make a significant impact in dementia research.
This includes having a long-term coordinated approach to research.
The focus of our lab is to:
Australia, Monash University, MBBS
England, Newcastle University, PhD
Royal Melbourne Hospital
2012, Career Investigator Award, Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine
2012, Junior Investigator Award, International College of Geriatric Psychneuropharmacology
2011, Junior Research Award, International Psychogeriatric Association
2020-2025, Collaborative Research Grant – Combining memantine and cholinesterase inhibitors in Lewy body dementia treatment trial (COBALT), NHMRC-NIHR.
Member, Dementia Australia Research Foundation Scientific Panel (DARF), 2017-2021
Member, Geriatric Medicine Education and Training (GMET), Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine (ANZSGM), 2016-current
1. Chin KS, Gajamange S, Desmond P, Villemange VV, Rowe C, Churilov L, Yassi N, Watson R. Association between amyloid-beta deposition and cortical thickness in dementia with Lewy bodies. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. PMID: please insert
2. Hijazi Z, Yassi N, O’Brien, JT, Watson R. 2021 The influence of cerebrovascular disease in dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease dementia. European Journal of Neurology. 2021. PMID: please insert
3. Chin KS, Yassi N, Churilov L, Masters CL, Watson R. Prevalence and clinical associations of tau in Lewy body dementias: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Parkinsonism & Related Disorders. 2020. 80:184-193 PMID: 33260030
4. Yassi N, Hilal S, Xia Y, Lim YY, Watson R, Kuijf H, et al. Influence of Comorbidity of Cerebrovascular Disease and Amyloid-beta on Alzheimer’s Disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2020;73(3):897-907. PMID: please insert
5. Colloby SJ*, Watson R*, Blamire A.M, O’Brien JT, Taylor JP. Cortical thinning in dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson disease dementia. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 2020. 54(6):633-643. PMID: Please insert *Joint first author
6. Chin KS, Teodorczuk A and Watson R. Dementia with Lewy bodies: challenges in the diagnosis and management. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 2019. 53(4):291-303 PMID: 30848660
7. Watson R, Colloby SJ, Blamire AM, O’Brien JT. Subcortical volume changes in dementia with Lewy bodies and Alzheimer’s disease. A comparison with healthy aging. International Psychogeriatrics. 2016. 28(4):529-36. PMID: please insert
8. LoGiudice D and Watson R. Dementia in Older People: An Update. Internal Medicine Journal. 2014. 44(11):1066-73. PMID: please insert
9. Watson R, Blamire AM, Colloby SJ, Wood JS, Barber R, He J, O’Brien JT. Characterizing dementia with Lewy bodies by means of diffusion tensor imaging. Neurology. 2012. 79(9):906-14. PMID: please insert
The SIMOA-HDX technology is a highly sensitive and automated biomarker platform which allows for the detection of proteins associated with dementia pathology in blood and other body fluids (e.g. spinal fluid). The detection of blood biomarkers such as neurofilament light chain, amyloid-ß and tau represents a major potential advance in the field of dementia, opening up the possibility of a blood test for dementia diagnosis. The SIMOA platform is also available for research collaborations in other neurological and non-neurological diseases.
Learn more about the SIMOA HD-X Service
Lucy Bradbury, SIMOA scientist
Associate Professor Nawaf Yassi
Associate Professor Rosie Watson – Lesley Vidaurre
S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe) is a natural compound which plays a key role in the homocysteine cycle. It is also a key substrate for multiple biochemical methylation pathways, including DNA methylation and methylation of PP2a, the primary tau phosphatase enzyme. Reduced methylation of PP2a has been shown to be associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease pathology (particularly p-tau), and SAMe has been shown to attenuate this process in preclinical models. We are conducting a phase 2 trial using oral SAMe in patients will mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease to investigate its effect on levels of p-tau in the disorder. SAMe could represent a simple, cheap and safe intervention for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other tauopathies.
Assoc Prof Nawaf Yassi
Assoc Prof Rosie Watson
Dr Sarah Holper
Dr Paula Loveland
Dr Oneil Bhalala
Dr Jenny Yu
Dementia diagnosis is challenging. In Australia, the average time taken from the beginning of symptoms to a diagnosis of dementia is over 3 years, and this is longer in people living in regional or rural areas, or people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Even when a diagnosis is made, there are cases where the diagnosis may be inaccurate due to overlap of clinical symptoms between different dementias, and due to a number of other medical and psychological conditions that can mimic dementia.
Brain scans and spinal fluid analysis can help improve diagnosis but are costly, limited in terms of access, and invasive in some cases. The possibility of a blood test supporting dementia diagnosis would revolutionise diagnosis and care for patients with or at risk of the condition.
In this study, we are implementing a blood-based diagnostic test for patients being assessed for dementia at the Royal Melbourne Hospital Cognitive, Dementia and Memory Service (CDAMS) Clinic. We will investigate the diagnostic accuracy of these blood tests, and their impact on clinician diagnostic confidence.