Dr Carlos Opazo Martinez

Senior Research Fellow

Parkville Campus
30 Royal Parade
Parkville Victoria 3052

Research group
Oxidation Biology Group

Dr Carlos Opazo


Dr Carlos Opazo is a Chilean neuroscientist and translational medical researcher, having trained at the Catholic University of Chile (1997–2002), Harvard Medical School (2000/2001) and the University of Melbourne (2002–2004). He has served in senior academic roles that have been instrumental for the education and training of undergraduate and graduate students. He has contributed to understand the role of copper in cell biology and pathology, raising continuous funding from Chilean and Australian agencies.

He described for the first time that Aβ peptide, implicated in Alzheimer’s disease, forms a metallo-catalyst when it binds copper, which may explain the oxidative stress detected in AD brains. Based on this article, in vitro assays were developed that identified new candidate anti-AD drugs, which progressed to human clinical trials.

At The Florey, Dr Opazo has been the first to identify a conserved allosteric cysteine domain in ubiquitin conjugating enzymes that is sensitive to copper, which triggers ubiquitination of the p53 tumor suppressor protein. This finding has implications for cancer and neurodegeneration. Recently, his laboratory has found that iron is accumulated in the prefrontal cortex of individuals with schizophrenia, which opens new avenues to diagnose, monitor and treat this mental disorder.

Key collaborators:

  • The Florey – Professor Ashley Bush, Dr Thibault Renoir, Dr Zhiguang Xiao
  • Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne – Professor Christos Pantelis
  • Monash University – Dr Richard Burke
  • Department of Microbiology and Immunology – Associate Professor Theo Mantamadiotis
  • Hadassah University Medical Center, Israel – Dr Amit Lotan
  • University of Concepción, Chile – Dr Patricio Castro, Professor Jorge Fuentealba, Professor José Becerra

Career highlights

Current roles

  • Editorial Board Member Neurochemical Research
  • Editorial Board Member Journal of Clinical Medicine
  • Associate Editor Frontiers in Molecular Psychiatry
  • Review Editor Frontiers in Neurodegeneration
  • Review Editor Frontiers in Aging Psychiatry
  • Honorary Senior Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne
  • Visiting Professor at the University of Concepción, Chile
  • Advisory committee member Center of Advanced Microscopy at the University of Concepción
  • Research grants reviewer
  • Chair and assessor of undergraduate and graduate thesis and projects

Past roles

  • Associate Professor at the Department of Physiology, University of Concepción, Chile
  • Director of the PhD Program in Biological Sciences, University of Concepción, Chile
  • Executive director of Center of Advanced Microscopy at the University of Concepción

Awards and achievements

  • 2015 –Pierce Armstrong Foundation (PI)
  • 2013 – Pierce Armstrong Foundation (PI)
  • 2011–2012 – CMA Bío Bío (Executive Director)
  • 2009 – Outstanding Academic qualification, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Concepción, Chile
  • 2008–2010 – University Academic Award, Universidad de Concepción, Chile
  • 2007 – Travel Fellowship, The International Society for Neurochemistry – Protein Misfolding & Neurological Disorders Meeting, Dunk Island, Australia
  • 2006–2011 – Honorary Research Fellow, MHRI, Melbourne, Australia
  • 2005–2007 – Fundación Andes Fellowship for Young Researchers (C-14060-77; PI, Chile)
  • 2004 – Travel Award from Alzheimer´s Association, The 9th International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  • 1998–2002 – CONICYT Fellowship, Chilean Government
  • 1987–1995 – President Republic Fellowship, Chilean Government


  • 2023–2026 – FONDECYT 1231038 (International collaborator)
  • 2023–2025 – ARC DP 23 0101031 (Research Associate)
  • 2019–2021 – ARC DP 190102573 (CI)
  • 2016–2018 – ARC DP 160100325 (CI)
  • 2010–2012 – FONDECYT Grant 1100502 (Co-PI, Chile)
  • 2007–2009 – Anillo-PBCT Grant ACT-04 (Main Researcher, Chile)
  • 2006–2007 – FONDECYT Grant 1060368 (Co-PI, Chile)
  • 1999–2001 – FONDECYT Grant 2990087 (PI. PhD Thesis, Chile)

Research publications


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