An interdisciplinary researcher who developed our understanding of normal and abnormal muscle function
As a newly independent investigator in 1969, Dr MacLennan embarked on the isolation and characterization of a Ca2+ ATPase from a then obscure membrane system, the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). He went on to describe the mechanism of action of the Ca2+ pump, the structure and function of many other muscle proteins involved in Ca2+ signalling in muscle, the genes encoding these proteins, and the genetic basis for muscle diseases caused by mutations in these genes.
These earlier studies allowed Dr. MacLennan to identify patients who are susceptible to malignant hyperthermia (MH) or to exercise-induced sudden cardiac death. MH Patients are at risk of fatal reactions to anaesthetics – if identified, they can be treated with safe anaesthetics.