University of Dundee

New Fellows elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences

01 May 2009

Three academics from the University of Dundee are among forty of the United Kingdom's leading doctors and medical researchers who have been recognised for excellence in medical science by their election to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Academy Fellows are elected for outstanding contributions to the advancement of medical science, for innovative application of scientific knowledge or for their conspicuous service to healthcare.

The new Fellows to be elected from Dundee are:

. Professor Irwin McLean, Professor of Human Genetics
. Professor Andrew Morris, Director, Biomedical Research Institute
. Professor Colin Watts, Professor of Immunobiology

Commenting on the new Fellowships, Professor Pete Downes, Acting Principal of the University of Dundee, said, "It is no surprise that three senior academic staff in the University who are renowned for their contributions to translational medicine have been honoured by being elected Fellows of the prestigious Academy of Medical Sciences in London.

"Professor Colin Watts of the Division of Cell Biology and Immunology in the College of Life Sciences has made major contributions to understanding mechanisms of antigen processing and how these processes may be manipulated to treat diseases of the adaptive immune system.

"Professor Irwin McLean is Head of the Division of Molecular Medicine which is the first joint research division linking the College of Life Sciences and the School of Medicine. He discovered defects in the filaggrin gene which contribute to the development of atopic eczema and associated allergic conditions including asthma and hay fever.

"Finally, Andrew Morris is Director of the Biomedical Research Institute and leads ground breaking research on the genetics of type 2 diabetes which is set to reach epidemic proportions in many parts of the developed and developing world in the very near future.

"All three new Fellows have therefore dedicated their careers to understanding the causes of major diseases and this most recent recognition of their achievements is richly deserved."

Professor Sir John Bell, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences said, 'Our new Fellows illustrate the wealth of experience and diversity of talent amongst the UK's research community. Changes in global financial markets, and the promise of medical research to deliver both benefits to health and economic growth, mean it is
more important than ever that these assets are recognised and supported. I look
forward to working with these skilled scientists to ensure their strengths across
academia and industry are used to promote basic science discoveries, innovative
healthcare and the rapid translation of research into patient benefits.'

The expertise of the new Fellows spans reproductive medicine, orthopaedic surgery, immunology, health economics, psychiatry, complementary and alternative medicine and mental health.