Gerald Muench



Professor of Pharmacology, School of Medicine,  Western Sydney University

Gerald Muench started work at the University of Würzburg, Germany in 1995 and was then appointed Lecturer in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in 1999. In 2000, he joined the Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research at the University of Leipzig. He left in 2004 to take up a position as Senior Lecturer at James Cook University in Townsville. In May 2008 Gerald was appointed as Associate Professor of Pharmacology in the School of Medicine at the University of Western Sydney, and he was promoted to Professor with effect from 1 January 2012.

His major project focus is on Alzheimer's disease with a special emphasis on oxidant and carbonyl stress, and he is also looking at brain inflammation as a major progression factor in Alzheimer's disease. He investigates the  functional implications of glial activation on neuronal functions, particularly in relation to local inflammatory processes in Alzheimer's disease, and has highlighted the potential suitability of activated astrocytes and microglia as drug targets in Alzheimer's disease. He is also looking to discover and identify novel anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective compounds from traditional Chinese and Indian medicines as well as tropical rainforest plants.

Areas of Research / Teaching Expertise

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Cell Biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Pharmacology

Awards and Recognition

  • Rene Schubert Prize of the "German Society for Aging Research" (Dt. Gesellschaft für Alternsforschung), 2003
  • Best Biomedical Project in the Business Plan Competition of the Bavarian State Government & McKinsey for Northern Bavaria, 1999
  • Senior Scientist Visiting Fellowship (Australian Academy of Science / DFG), Host: Prof. Robin Holliday, Division of Biomolecular Engineering, CSIRO; North Ryde, NSW, 1998
  • Prize for Brain Research in Gerontology, Universität Witten-Herdecke, Germany, 1997
  • University Prize of the "Jubilumsstiftung der Universität", University of Würzburg, Germany, 1996
  • Stifterverband der dt. Wissenschaft (German Association of Private Foundations) Research Associate Fellowship, 1995
  • DFG (German Research Council) Postdoctoral Fellowship (Garvan Institute, Sydney: Host: Professor J. Shine), 1993
  • University prize for the best PhD thesis of the faculty, 1991

Grants / Projects

Professor Muench's research has been supported by numerous external funding agencies including NHMRC, state and federal government as well as local and international industry. Over the last five years he has attracted eight external research grants totalling $950,000.

See a full list of past and current projects (opens in a new window)


Journal Articles

Gunawardena D, Bennett L, Shanmugam K, King K, Williams R, Zabaras D, et al. Anti-inflammatory effects of five commercially available mushroom species determined in lipopolysaccharide and interferon-c activated murine macrophages. Food Chemistry. 2013;148(2014):92-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.10.015.

Steele ML, Truong J, Govindaraghavan S, Ooi L, Sucher NJ, Muench G. Cytoprotective properties of traditional Chinese medicinal herbal extracts in hydrogen peroxide challenged human U373 astroglia cells. Neurochem Int. 2013;62(5):522–9. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuint.2012.08.018

Steele M, Fuller S, Maczurek A, Kersaitis C, Ooi L, Müench G. Chronic inflammation alters production and release of glutathione and related thiols in human U373 astroglial cells. Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology. 2013 2013/01/01;33(1):19-30. DOI: 10.1007/s10571-012-9867-6.

Srikanth V, Westcott B, Forbes J, Phan TG, Beare R, Venn A, et al. Methylglyoxal, cognitive function and cerebral atrophy in older people. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2013 January 1, 2013;68(1):68-73. DOI: 10.1093/gerona/gls100.

Gunawardena D, Shanmugam K, Low M, Bennett L, Govindaraghavan S, Head R, et al. Determination of anti-inflammatory activities of standardised preparations of plant and mushroom-based foods. Eur J Nutr. 2013.

Wild R, Ooi L, Srikanth V, Müench G. A quick, convenient and economical method for the reliable determination of methylglyoxal in millimolar concentrations: the N-acetyl-l-cysteine assay. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. 2012. 2012/07/01;403(9):2577-81. DOI: 10.1007/s00216-012-6086-4.

Steele ML, Fuller S, Patel M, Kersaitis C, Ooi L, Münch G. Effect of Nrf2 activators on release of glutathione, cysteinylglycine and homocysteine by human U373 astroglial cells. Redox Biology. 2013;1(1):441-5. DOI: 10.1016/j.redox.2013.08.006.

Bennett L, Kersaitis C, Macaulay L, Münch G, Niedermayer G, Nigro J, et al. Vitamin D2-enriched button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) improve memory in both wild type and Alzheimer's Disease APPswe/PS1dE9 transgenic mice. PLOS ONE. 2013; 8(10).

Moran C, Phan TG, Chen J, Blizzard L, Beare R, Venn A, et al. Brain atrophy in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus - regional distribution and influence on cognition. Diabetes Care. 2013;36:4036-42

Jayasena T, Poljak A, Smythe G, Braidy N, Münch G, Sachdev P. The role of polyphenols in the modulation of sirtuins and other pathways involved in Alzheimer's disease. Ageing Res Rev. 2013;12(4):867-83. DOI: 10.1016/j.arr.2013.06.003.

Nguyen NTQ, Ooi L, Piller SC, Münch G. Pro-energetic effects of resveratrol in the murine neuronal cell line Neuro2a. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2013;57:1901-7

Maczurek AE, Wild R, Laurenti D, Steele ML, Ooi L, Münch G. Generation of hydrogen peroxide-resistant murine neuroblastoma cells: a target discovery platform for novel neuroprotective genes. Journal of Neural Transmission. 2013 2013/08/01;120(8):1171-8. DOI: 10.1007/s00702-013-0995-z.

Rahman SZ, Basilakis J, Rahmadi A, Lukic S, Musgrave I, Jorm L, et al. Use of antidepressants (SSRIs, SNRIs and St John Wort) in a middle aged and elderly population - data from the 45 and Up database. Australas Psychiatry. 2013;21:262-6.

Sauer T, Raithel M, Kressel J, Münch G, Pischetsrieder M. Activation of the transcription factor Nrf2 in macrophages, Caco-2 cells and intact human gut tissue by Maillard reaction products and coffee. Amino Acids. 2013 2013/06/01;44(6):1427-39. DOI: 10.1007/s00726-012-1222-1.

Ooi L, Sidhu K, Poljak A, Sutherland G, O'Connor MD, Sachdev P, et al. Induced pluripotent stem cells as tools for disease modelling and drug discovery in Alzheimer's disease. Journal of Neural Transmission. 2013 2013/01/01;120(1):103-11. DOI: 10.1007/s00702-012-0839-2.

Gunawardena D, Bennett L, Shanmugam K, King K, Williams R, Zabaras D, et al. Anti-inflammatory effects of five commercially available mushroom species determined in lipopolysaccharide and interferon-c activated murine macrophages. Food Chem. 2013;148(2014):92-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.10.015.

Steele ML, Ooi L, Müench G. Development of a high-performance liquid chromatography method for the simultaneous quantitation of glutathione and related thiols. Anal Biochem. 2012;429(1):45-52. DOI: 10.1016/j.ab.2012.06.023.

Ravipati AS, Zhang L, Koyyalamudi SR, Jeong SC, Reddy N, Bartlett J, et al. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of selected Chinese medicinal plants and their relation with antioxidant content. BMC Complem Altern M. 2012;12:173-88. DOI: 10.1186/1472-6882-12-173.

Muench G, Westcott B, Menini T, Gugliucci A. Advanced glycation endproducts and their pathogenic roles in neurological disorders. Amino Acids. 2012 2012/04/01;42(4):1221-36. DOI: 10.1007/s00726-010-0777-y.

Zhang L, Ravipati AS, Koyyalamudi SR, Jeong SC, Reddy N, Smith PT, et al. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of selected medicinal plants containing phenolic and flavonoid compounds. J Agric Food Chem. 2011;59:12361-7. DOI: 10.1021/jf203146e.

Vallotton P, Sun C, Lovell D, Savelsbergh M, Payne M, Muench G. Identifying weak linear features with the "coalescing shortest path image transform". Microsc Microanal. 2011;17(6):911-4. DOI: 10.1017/S1431927611012128.

Srikanth V, Maczurek A, Phan T, Steele M, Westcott B, Juskiw D, et al. Advanced glycation endproducts and their receptor RAGE in Alzheimer's disease. Neurolbiol Aging. 2011;32(5):763-77. DOI:

Sauer T, Raithe lM, Kressel J, Muscat S, Muench G, Pischetsrieder M. Nuclear translocation of NF-KB in intact human gut tissue upon stimulation with coffee and roasting products. Food Funct. 2011;2:529-40. DOI: 10.1039/C1FO10055F

Rahmadi A, Steiner N, Muench G. Advanced glycation endproducts as gerontotoxins and biomarkers for carbonyl-based degenerative processes in Alzheimer's disease. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2011;49:385-91. DOI: 10.1515/CCLM.2011.079

Krautwald M, Leech D, Horne S, Steele ML, Forbes J, Rahmadi A, et al. The advanced glycation end product-lowering agent ALT-711 is a low-affinity inhibitor of thiamine diphosphokinase. Rejuv Res. 2011;14(4):383-91. DOI: 10.1089/rej.2010.1143.

Stuchbury G, Muench G. Optimizing the generation of stable neuronal cell lines via pre-transfection restriction enzyme digestion of plasmid DNA. Cytotechnology. 2010 2010/06/01;62(3):189-94. DOI: 10.1007/s10616-010-9273-1.

Chandler D, Woldu A, Rahmadi A, Shanmugam K, Steiner N, Wright E, et al. Effects of plant-derived polyphenols on TNF-α and nitric oxide production induced by advanced glycation endproducts. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2010;54(S2):S141-S50. DOI: 10.1002/mnfr.200900504.

ller S, Steele M, Muench G. Activated astrocytes - a therapeutic target in Alzheimer's disease? Expert Rev Neurotherapeutics. 2009;9(11):1585-94. DOI: 10.1586/ern.09.111

Krautwald M, Maxwell P, Stuchbury G, Holtum J, Burnell J, Muench G. The thiamine analogue and advanced glycation endproducts crosslink breaker ALT-711 does not interfere with transketolase activity. Open Longevity Science. 2009;3:11-5.

Hegele J, Muench G, Pischetsrieder M. Identification of hydrogen peroxide as a major cytotoxic component in Maillard reaction mixtures and coffee. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2009;53(6):760-9. DOI: 10.1002/mnfr.200800221.