Associate Professor Michael Valenzuela is dedicated to improving brain health globally. He believes that keeping the brain active after retirement can significantly decrease chances of developing degenerative neurological diseases. He is at the forefront of current medical research aimed at understanding and preventing the onset of such diseases. Valenzuela is the leader of the Regenerative Neuroscience Group at the Brain and Mind Research Institute at the University of Sydney. He has a background in psychology, clinical medicine and neuroscience research.
Valenzuela believes that brain health is a critical problem for modern society and is committed to communicating healthy brain ideas to the public. His current research is aimed at further understanding the competing forces of neuroplasticity and degeneration in the human brain, and how these can either lead to or help prevent dementia. He examines how we can harness brain plasticity and use it to improve the long-term health of our brains. His research includes studies with stem cells, animal models, brain tissue, human clinical trials and large multinational population-based samples.
Valenzuela’s Ph.D. focused on brain reserve: specifically how complex mental activity affects the development and expression of dementia. He was awarded the prestigious Eureka Prize for Medical Research for his work in 2006. More recently, he received an NHMRC Excellence Award and the top-ranked Clinical Career Development Award in 2010.