A Meeting of minds
10 May 2007
Daniel Macarthur, a final year PhD student in the Faculty’s Discipline of Paediatrics & Child Health has been selected by the Australian Academy of Sciences to attend the 57th Meeting of Nobel Laureates in Lindau, Germany in July.
More than 500 young researchers from around the world, including seven young Australian researchers, will interact with 18 Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine. The Meeting, held every year since 1951 on the shores of Lake Constance, will include presentations by the Laureates, lively round-table discussions and specially organised discussions in which students will interact in small groups with a designated Laureate. It will be an excellent opportunity for Daniel to gain an insight into the careers of truly inspirational researchers, and to discuss his own research in an international setting.
Daniel's PhD research, carried out at the Neurogenetics Research Unit (NRU) of the Children's Hospital at Westmead, focused on the function and evolutionary history of a common variant in the ACTN3 gene, associated with elite athletic performance. Daniel and other members of the NRU have recently shown that this genetic variant provided an advantage for the ancestors of modern Europeans and Asians, resulting in a rapid increase in the frequency of this variant over the last 15-30,000 years through positive natural selection. They have also demonstrated, using a mouse model, that the genetic variant results in an increased efficiency of muscle metabolism that may explain its selective benefit to our ancestors.