Our People

Nick Martin

Professor | Senior Scientist

Genetic Epidemiology

+61 7 3362 0278




Professor Nick Martin graduated with honours in Genetics from the University of Adelaide in 1972 and obtained his PhD in genetics at the University of Birmingham. In 1978 he returned to a Research Fellowship at the Australian National University where he founded the Australian Twin Registry. After 3 years in the US, he returned in 1986 to the QIMR Berghofer where he heads the Genetic Epidemiology Laboratory and continues longitudinal studies with twins of a wide range of complex traits of medical and behavioural interest. Professor Martin is involved in several large studies of cognition and brain imaging (EEG and MRI). His research over recent years has moved to genome wide association studies (GWAS) to locate genes influencing complex traits including anxiety, alcoholism, and dizygotic twinning. He developed methods for multivariate analyses and the analysis of gene-environment interactions. Most recently Professor Martin has initiated projects to recruit large patient samples for GWAS of anorexia, depression and other psychiatric disorders. He has published over 1200 papers and is a fellow of the Australian academies of Science, Social Science, and Health and Medical Science.




  • Senior Scientist and Senior Principal Research Fellow, QIMR Berghofer
  • Honorary Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Queensland
  • Honorary Professor, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, University of Queensland



1992-2012: Senior Principal Research Fellow, QIMR Berghofer

1988-1992: Principal Research Fellow, QIMR

1986-1988: Senior Research Fellow, QIMR

1983-1986: Assistant Professor, Department of Human Genetics, Medical College of Virginia

1978-1983: Research Fellow, Department of Population Biology, Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University

1976-1978: Research Fellow, Department of Genetics, University of Birmingham






Professor Nick Martin is a human geneticist and founded the Australian Twin Registry with over 30 000 pairs enrolled nationwide. Professor Martin’s expertise is in the execution and statistical genetic analysis of large twin studies of behavioural and other phenotypes.

Professor Martin now focuses on recruiting large patient collections for genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and has recently recruited over 3000 anorexia cases and over 20,000 depression cases. New projects are planned for stuttering and bipolar.

More specific information on these studies can be found at the ‘Genetic Epidemiology, Translational Neurogenomics, Psychiatric Genetics and Statistical Genetics’ website.



  • developed and first published many of the statistical genetic techniques in structural equation modelling now widely applied
  • the first to perform power calculations showing the huge number of twins needed to obtain reliable results, and in 1978 this was a prime stimulus for foundation of the Australian Twin Registry
  • founded the Australian Twin Registry, which has been a valuable resource for dozens of research projects across a wide range of biomedical disciplines
  • substantive contributions to the genetics of anxiety and depression, alcoholism, melanoma, and a number of other diseases



  • Australian Academy of Science (Fellow)
  • Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA) (Fellow)
  • Australian Academy of Health and Medical Science (Fellow)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (Fellow)



2005-current: Advisory Board Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry

2008-2010: Associate editor of the American Journal of Human Genetics

2008: Australian Academy of Science (AAS) (Fellow)

2005: Behavior Genetics Association, Dobzhansky Award for Outstanding Contributions to Behavior Genetics

2004: QIMR Berghofer Ralph Doherty Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Medical Research

2003: Australian Academy of Social Sciences (AASS) (Fellow)

2000-current: Editor in Chief of Twin Research and Human Genetics

1993-current: Editorial Board of American Journal of Medical Genetics (Neuropsychiatric Genetics)

2003: Fulker award for best paper in Behavior Genetics (with N. Gillespie and others)

2003: Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences

1999: Fulker award for best paper in Behavior Genetics (with M. Neale and others)

1998-2002: Editorial Board of Journal of Studies on Alcohol

1996-1998: President, Behavior Genetics Association

1987-1990: Executive Committee, Behavior Genetics Association

1986-2001: Executive Committee, International Society of Twin Studies

1986: International Society of Twin Studies (ISTS), James Shields Award for outstanding contributions to Twin Research

1986-1992: Associate Editor of Behavior Genetics

1978: Established Australian Twin Registry (with J.D. Mathews)



  • 1977: Doctor of Philosophy (Genetics), University of Birmingham
  • 1972: Bachelor of Science (Genetics), University of Adelaide, First class Honours