A well-recognized figure in the international research community, Martin is a pioneer in the field of HIV and AIDS research and attracts a high level of grant funding for the university and its teaching hospitals. He began research into AIDS before the first cases came to light in Canada , and before its viral nature was established. He is now a Canada Research Chair in HIV/AIDS and urban population, studying the mechanisms of disease susceptibility among marginalized, impoverished Canadians living in inner cities. His research has increased understanding of HIV transmission, leading to improved strategies for prevention.
Martin was co-founder of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, established in 1991, and was elected founding president of the Canadian Association for HIV Research in 1990. He has served on many panels and committees including the National Advisory Committee on AIDS, and the Management Committee of the Krever Commission of Inquiry on the Blood System in Canada . He held a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Senior Scientist Award until 2001. He was elected into the Canadian Institute of Academic Medicine in 1998. He is the 2002 recipient of the Science Council of BC Award for Excellence in Research and in the same year received the Queen's Jubilee Gold Medal. He was named to the Order of British Columbia in 1994.