David Ames qualified MB BS from the University of Melbourne in December 1978 with honours in Medicine and Obstetrics & Gynaecology, winning the Upjohn prize for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. After internship and junior resident medical officer experience at the Royal Melbourne Hospital (1979-1981) he trained in Psychiatry at the Royal Melbourne (1982-1984), Friern and Royal Free Hospitals (London UK) (1984-1987) completing research for an MD on depression in residential homes for the elderly under the supervision of Anthony Mann and Nori Graham (1989). After his return to Australia David Ames co-founded Victoria's first memory clinic with Leon Flicker (1988) and was appointed senior lecturer in psychiatry of old age and consultant psychiatrist at Royal Park/Royal Melbourne Hospitals (1989). He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1995 and moved from Royal Park to Broadmeadows Health service in 1999. In April 2005 David Ames took up the chair of psychiatry of old age for the University of Melbourne at St Vincent's Health, St George's Hospital Kew. He moved to become director of the National Ageing Research Institute Parkville and University of Melbourne Professor of Ageing and Health in September 2007 but retains clinical and research links with the academic unit for psychiatry of old age at St George's Hospital.
David Ames was secretary of the section of old age psychiatry Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists 1990-1995, a member of the Board of directors of the International Psychogeriatric Association (IPA) 1995-2010, edited the IPA newsletter IPA Bulletin 1996-2002 and IPA's peer reviewed journal International Psychogeriatrics 2003-2011. He is a member of the medical and scientific advisory panel of Alzheimer's Disease International.
David Ames' main research and clinical interests are detection and management of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and new therapies for AD and the care of the depressed elderly. He has pub