Announced this week, Professor Nigel Laing AO, Perkins’ Head of Preventive Genetics and internationally renowned geneticist, has been nominated for WA Senior Australian of the Year!
In preparation for the big date, we caught up with the professor to talk about what motivates him in his career.
Prof Laing says,
“I hunt for disease genes because you can’t tell patient/family what genetic disease they have until you identify the gene and genetic variant causing the disease.
“I want to give every person with a genetic disease a DNA based diagnosis because identifying a disease gene brings affected families great relief. It provides them with closure, tells them what the inheritance pattern is, informs them of the prognosis, and gives them power of their genetic choices.
“I’m also driven to identify disease genes because very few genetic diseases have treatments, so by knowing which gene and genetic variant is causing a disease a couple can make choices to reduce the risk of having an affected baby if they want to.”
For 30 years Nigel has advocated for families affected by genetic disease and for reproductive genetic carrier screening. Since 2018 Nigel has been one of the three co-leads for Mackenzie’s Mission – a $20million federal government project researching how to make reproductive carrier screening available free to all Australians who want to use it. The project will give prospective parents information about their likelihood of having a child with a severe genetic condition.
Congratulations, Prof Laing – this is a remarkable achievement!
Thank you to everyone who nominated the Perkins’ Prof Nigel Laing AO internationally renowned geneticist for WA (senior) of the year. Celebrate the recipients! Watch WA Australian of the Year Awards on 4 November 2021 via australianoftheyear.org.au from 7pm (AWST).