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Personal profile


Professor Nigel Laing was born in Scotland and obtained both his BSc (Hons) in Pharmacology (1976) and PhD in Physiology (1979) from the University of Edinburgh. He spent one year as a Post-doc at the University of Oslo (1980) before coming to The University of Western Australia in January 1981.

His PhD and early career research was as a developmental neurobiologist investigating how motor neurons and muscles interact and determine each other's properties in the developing embryo. For a 12-month period, July 1987 to June 1988, Professor Laing re-trained in molecular genetics with Professor Teepu Siddique in Professor Allen Roses' Laboratory at Duke University North Carolina.

Returning to Western Australia in 1988, Professor Laing had the two tasks of developing molecular neurogenetic research and molecular neurogenetic diagnostics at The Australian Neuromuscular Research Institute and Royal Perth Hospital respectively.  He successfully investigated Australian families with mostly dominantly inherited diseases, playing a role in identifying mutations in SOD1 as a cause of familial motor neuron disease, mutations in tropomyosin as the first known cause of nemaline myopathy, mutations in actin as a major cause of severe congenital myopathies of various types and mutations in myosin as the cause of "Laing" myopathy.

In recent years, Professor Laing has moved the focus of his research to prevention genetics through three research themes:

1)       Reproductive carrier screening

2)       Development of improved diagnostics

3)       Development of treatments for genetic muscle diseases.

In 2015 Professor Laing was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in the General Division (AO).

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (FAHMS)

Award Date: 6 Oct 2015

Fellow of the Faculty of Science of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (FFSc (RCPA))

Award Date: 14 Dec 2010

Fellow of the Human Genetics Society of Australasia (FHGSA) (Molecular Genetics)

Award Date: 6 Aug 2002

Physiology, PhD, Muscle activity as a factor controlling motor neuron number in the chicken embryo, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 23 Dec 1979

Pharmacology, BSc Hons (First Class), University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 13 Jul 1976

External positions

Scientific Director, Neurogenetics Unit, Department of Diagnostic Genomics, PathWest Laboratory Medicine WA

Research expertise keywords

  • Neurogenetics
  • Neuromuscular diseases
  • Molecular genetics
  • Gene mapping
  • Gene discovery
  • Genetic therapy
  • carrier screening


Dive into the research topics where Nigel Laing is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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