M. Paul Murphy, MA, PhD

M. Paul Murphy has worked as a researcher in the areas of aging and neurodegenerative disease for more than 20 years His focus on AD began while he was a post-doctoral fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL. Since moving to the University of Kentucky in 2005, he has authored or co-authored 53 peer reviewed manuscripts, including notable recent publications in the Annals of Neurology and the American Journal of Pathology (2012).

During his career, Dr. Murphy has engaged in basic cell and molecular biology research, preclinical translational research, and early-stage human clinical trials. His lab at the University of Kentucky studies the production of the beta amyloid peptide, its regulation, and how the peptide ultimately forms pathologic structures in the brain. Disease models primarily include genetically modified mice, also higher-order mammals and cell cultures. His expertise extends to studying naturally deposited beta amyloid in several species (humans, dogs and cats).

A major focus area of Dr. Murphy’s research has been two enzymes, beta secretase 1 and gamma secretase, which convert a “raw material” known as amyloid precursor protein (APP), into beta amyloid that forms Alzheimer’s plaques. His discoveries contributed to our knowledge of how these enzymes recognize the APP substrate, and how they function. These advances led to several high-profile publications that were influential in the developing field of AD therapies and ultimately to one of the largest ever (to date) phase III clinical trials of an AD therapeutic, Flurizan, conducted by the University of Kentucky in partnership with Myriad Genetics. Although Flurizan itself was unsuccessful, the concept is still being pursued.

Since his early career, Dr. Murphy has involved in developing several of the mouse models that are now well known and widely used in the AD field.

As a teacher and leader in Alzheimer’s research, Dr. Murphy was honored by the National Institute of Health/National Center for RR, as the 2010 recipient of the Thomas Maciag Award for research excellence and innovation, and for the mentorship of new scientists; and by the University of Kentucky College of Medicine was t2013 recipient of its Abraham Flexner Master Educator Award for Outstanding Teaching and Mentorship. In four separate years, his name appeared on the University of Kentucky’s “Teachers Who Made A Difference” list. He has actively participated in training dozens of undergraduate and graduate students, as well as several postdoctoral scholars and fellows.