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Prof Nigel Laing

The Academic Details listed below present information collected by the University up to the end of 2013 and thus may not represent the full academic record.

Email: nigel.laing@uwa.edu.au  Home Page

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. Professor Laing 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.

Professor Laing continues to hunt human disease genes, while now working towards developing possible treatments for some of the diseases he has identified.


1976 BSc (Hons, first class) - Pharmacology, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
1979 PhD - Department of Physiology, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Thesis Title: "Muscle activity as a factor controlling motor neuron number in the chicken embryo"
2002 FHGSA (Molecular Genetics) - Fellow of the Human Genetics Society of Australasia

Research Interests

  • Identification of disease genes for genetic muscle and neurological disorders.
  • Development of treatments for genetic muscle diseases.

Scientific Involvement

  • European Neuromuscular Centre (ENMC) International Consortium on Nemaline Myopathy and Related Disorders - Co-convenor 1996 onwards.
  • World Muscle Society - Member of Executive Board 1997 to 1999 and 2004 onwards.
  • "Neuromuscular Disorders" - Member of Editorial Board 1999 onwards.
  • World Federation of Neurology Research Group on Neuromuscular Diseases - Executive Committee Member 2002 onwards.
  • Human Genetics Society of Australasia - President of the Western Australian Branch 2003 to 2007; Member of National Council 2003 to 2007.
  • National Association of Research Fellows of the NHMRC (NARF) - West Australian State Representative 1997 to 2002.


Ravenscroft, G., Davis, M., Lamont, P., Forrest, A., Laing, N. 2017, 'New era in genetics of early-onset muscle disease: Breakthroughs and challenges', SEMINARS IN CELL & DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY, 64, pp. 160-170. Detail

Lassuthova, P., Rebelo, A., Ravenscroft, G., Lamont, P., Baxter, M., Ong, R., Davis, M., Manganelli, F., Tao, F., Saghira, C., Abreu, L., Bai, Y., Isom, D., Laing, N., B-O, C., Seeman, P., Shy, M., Santoro, L., Zuchner, S. 2017, 'ATP1A1 REPRESENTS A SIGNIFICANT NOVEL DOMINANT CMT2 GENE', JOURNAL OF THE PERIPHERAL NERVOUS SYSTEM, 22, 3, pp. 325-325. Detail

Boutilier, J., Taylor, R., Mann, T., McNamara, E., Hoffman, G., Kenny, J., Dilley, R., Henry, P., Morahan, G., Laing, N., Nowak, K. 2017, 'Gene Expression Networks in the Murine Pulmonary Myocardium Provide Insight into the Pathobiology of Atrial Fibrillation', G3-Genes Genomes Genetics, 7, 9, pp. 2999-3017. Detail

Boutilier, J., Taylor, R., Ram, R., McNamara, E., Nguyen, Q., GoullĂ©e, H., Chandler, D., Mehta, M., Balmer, L., Laing, N., Morahan, G., Nowak, K. 2017, 'Variable cardiac a-actin (Actc1) expression in early adult skeletal muscle correlates with promoter methylation', BIOCHIMICA ET BIOPHYSICA ACTA-REVIEWS ON CANCER, 1860, 10, pp. 1025-1036. Detail

Beecroft, S., McLean, C., Delatycki, M., Koshy, K., Yiu, E., Haliloglu, G., Orhan, D., Lamont, P., Davis, M., Laing, N., Ravenscroft, G. 2017, 'Expanding the phenotypic spectrum associated with mutations of DYNC1H1', NEUROMUSCULAR DISORDERS,  Detail

More Publications...


Professor Nigel Laing, Dr Kristen Nowak, Mrs Rhonda Taylor 2017, 'Evaluating gene therapy for McArdle's disease using a mouse model', Muscular Dystrophy Association of America.

Professor Nigel Laing 2017, 'Improving outcomes for individuals and families affected by genetic disease', UWA Fellowship Support Scheme.

Professor Nigel Laing 2016, 'Improving outcomes for individuals and families affected by genetic disease', NHMRC Research Fellowships.

Professor Nigel Laing, Professor Peter Leedman, Professor Michael Millward, Professor David Mackey, Associate Professor Aleksandra Filipovska 2016, 'Preparing Australia for Genomic Medicine: A proposal by the Australian Genomics Health Alliance', Murdoch Childrens Research Institute ex NHMRC Genomics Targeted Call for Research TCR.

Dr Kristen Nowak, Professor Nigel Laing, Dr Gianina Ravenscroft 2015, 'ACTA1 Congenital Myopathies: Evaluating Viral and Gene Therapy', Association Francaise contre les Myopathies (AFM).

More Grants...


2016 PhD. Dr Boutilier. Supervised by: Dr Nowak, Prof Morahan, Prof Laing

2015 PhD. Dr Yau. Supervised by: Prof Lamont, Prof Laing, Dr Nowak, Mr Davis

2015 PhD. Dr Todd. Supervised by: Dr Duff, Dr Nowak, Prof Laing, Dr Ravenscroft

2010 PhD. Dr Wallefeld. Supervised by: Prof Leedman, A/Prof Ingley, Dr Nowak, Prof Laing

2009 PhD. Dr Ravenscroft. Supervised by: Dr Bakker, Dr Nowak, Prof Laing

More Students...

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CRICOS Code: 00126G