Robert Moir, Ph.D.

Dr. Moir completed his Ph.D. at the University of Melbourne in Australia under the mentorship of Prof Colin Masters, one of the founders of the modern field of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research. Dr. Moir immigrated to the US in 1994 and joined the Genetics and Aging Research Unit (GARU) shortly after the group’s formation. Dr. Moir now heads his own research lab within GARU and has been a faculty member of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital since 1998. Dr. Moir’s research focus is the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Distribution Form interaction of biomolecules involved in AD pathology. His more notable contributions include the first paper to identify the low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein as the cell surface receptor for the APP (the catabolic product of which is Aβ, the primary neurotoxic agent in AD), the first to demonstrate the efficacy of clioquinol in dissolving β-amyloid aggregates, the characterization of Aβ’s role in the formation of supranuclear cataracts in the lens of AD patients, and possible abnormalities in circulating Aβ autoantibodies in AD patients. In addition to Dr. Moir’s research into AD, his work also encompassed studies of other aspects of diabetes and cataracts. Dr. Moir’s most recent studies have identified the normal biological function of Aβ and of the insoluble β-amyloid deposits the peptide can generate- that of an antimicrobial peptide of the innate immune system that traps and kills pathogens invading the brain. This novel discovery suggests AD may be an inappropriate response to a real or falsely perceived infection in the brain. This finding may also shed light on the pathological mechanisms associated with other major amyloid-associated diseases, including diabetes and arteriolosclerosis.

Funded Research

These projects were made possible from Cure Alzheimer's Fund support.

Selected Publications

These published papers resulted from Cure Alzheimer’s Fund support.

William A. Eimer,1,2 Deepak Kumar Vijaya Kumar,1,2 Nanda Kumar Navalpur Shanmugam,Alex S. Rodriguez, Teryn Mitchell, Kevin J. Washicosky, Bence Gyorgy, Xandra O. Breakefield, Rudolph E. Tanzi, and Robert D. Moir Alzheimer’s Disease-Associated b-Amyloid Is Rapidly Seeded by Herpesviridae to Protect against Brain Infection, Neuron (Cell), July 11, 2018, Read More

Deepak Kumar Vijaya Kumar , William A Eimer , Rudolph E Tanzi and Robert D Moir Alzheimer’s disease: the potential therapeutic role of the natural antibiotic amyloid-β peptide, Neurodegenerative Disease Management, 6(5), 7 Sep 2016, 345–348, Read More

B.V. Hooli, PhD, G. Mohapatra, PhD, M. Mattheisen, MD, A.R. Parrado, PhD, J.T. Roehr, MS, Y. Shen, PhD, J.F. Gusella, PhD, R. Moir, PhD, A.J. Saunders, PhD, C. Lange, PhD, R.E. Tanzi, PhD and L. Bertram, MD Role of common and rare APP DNA sequence variants in Alzheimer disease, Neurology 78, 78/16, April 17, 2012, 1250-1257, Read More

Kim M, Suh J, Romano D, Truong MH, Mullin K, Hooli B, Norton D, Tesco G, Elliot K, Wagner SL, Moir RD, Becker KD, Tanzi RE. Potential late-onset Alzheimer’s disease-associated mutations in the ADAM10 gene attenuate alpha-secretase activity., Human Molecular Genetics, Vol 18, Oct 15, 2009, Read More

Dong Y, Zhang G, Zhang B, Moir RD, Xia W, Marcantonio ER, Culley DJ, Crosby G, Tanzi RE, Xie Z The Common Inhalational Anesthetic Sevoflurane Induces Apoptosis and Increases β-Amyloid Protein Levels, Archives of Neurology, Vol. 66 No. 5, May 2009, Read More

Xie Z, Culley DJ, Dong Y, Zhang G, Zhang B, Moir RD, Frosch MP, Crosby G, Tanzi RE.  The common inhalation anesthetic isoflurane induces caspase activation and increases Aβ level in vivo., Annals of Neurology, Volume 64, Dec 2008, Read More

Zhang B, Dong Y, Zhang G, Moir RD, Xia W, Yue Y, Tian M, Culley DJ, Crosby G, Tanzi RE, Xie Z The inhalation anesthetic desflurane induces caspase activation and increases amyloid-beta protein levels under hypoxic conditions., J Biol Chem., 2;283(18), May 2, 2008, 11866-75, Read More

Xie Z, Dong Y, Maeda U, Moir R, Xia W, Culley DJ, Crosby G, Tanzi RE. The Inhalation Anaesthetic Isoflurane Induces a Vicious Cycle of Apoptosis and Aβ Accumulation., J. Neurosci., 27, 2007, 1247-1254, Read More