Press release

RSE honour for Dundee academics

Published on 2 March 2020

Four University of Dundee academics who are helping transform lives with their work on major diseases have been elected Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE).

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Four University of Dundee academics who are helping transform lives with their work on major diseases including cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s and neglected tropical diseases such as malaria have been elected Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE).

The RSE is Scotland’s national academy, focused on delivering its mission of `knowledge made useful’. Fellows are elected in recognition of their impact in improving the world around them.

The new Fellows from the University of Dundee are:

  • Professor Annie Anderson, Professor of Public Health Nutrition, in the School of Medicine
  • Professor Ian Gilbert, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Head of the Division of Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery, School of Life Sciences
  • Professor Rory McCrimmon, Dean of Medicine, Professor of Experimental Diabetes and Metabolism and Honorary Consultant
  • Professor Miratul Muqit, Professor of Experimental Neurology, School of Life Sciences

Professor John Rowan, Vice-Principal (Research, Knowledge Exchange and Wider Impact), said, “The election of our four new Fellows to the RSE is recognition of the outstanding work they have done in tackling some of the major diseases which affect society around the world.

“Our mission is to transform lives, and Professors Anderson, Gilbert, McCrimmon and Muqit have made a great impact in doing exactly that.”

Professor Annie Anderson is a Public Health Nutritionist and dietitian. She is co-director of the Scottish Cancer Prevention Network, President of the UK Society for Behavioural Medicine (UKSBM) and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (Edinburgh). Her research interests lie in understanding factors that influence lifestyle change (principally diet and obesity) and the impact of theory-based, behaviourally-focused dietary and obesity interventions in relation to cancer and other chronic disease risk reduction.

Professor Ian Gilbert is Head of Chemistry in the Drug Discovery Unit, which he helped set up in the School of Life Sciences at Dundee. As a medicinal chemist, Ian’s research interests are primarily in the design and synthesis of potential drugs with a particular focus on infectious diseases which affect Low and Middle Income Countries such as malaria and visceral leishmaniasis. He is also interested in novel approaches to drug discovery and studies to understand the mode of action of biologically active compounds.

Professor Ian Gilbert

Professor Rory McCrimmon is Dean of the School of Medicine at Dundee. The primary focus of his research programme has been to define the fundamental mechanisms by which the brain detects low glucose levels (hypoglycaemia) and how these mechanisms are disrupted in type 1 diabetes in response to repeated episodes of hypoglycaemia.  He was awarded the RD Lawrence Lecture in 2015 from Diabetes UK in recognition of his contribution to this field. He is also actively involved in a number of clinical trials in diabetes and was appointed by the Chief Scientist Office Scotland as Lead Clinician for the Scottish Diabetes Research Network (SDRN).

Professor Rory McCrimmon

Professor Miratul Muqit is a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow in the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit in the School of Life Sciences at Dundee and an Honorary Consultant Neurologist at Ninewells Hospital. His research is focused on dissecting cell signalling pathways linked to Parkinson's disease and has led to fundamental insights into the mechanisms of the disease. He has won a number of awards including the European Molecular Biology Organisation Young Investigator Programme Award, the Francis Crick Medal and Lecture by the Royal Society, the Graham Bull Prize in Clinical Science and the Goulstonian Lecture of the Royal College of Physicians.

Miratul Muqit

The four Dundee academics are among a new intake of 64 fellows for the RSE, joining the current roll of around 1,600, representing the full range of physical and life sciences, arts, humanities, social sciences, education, professions, industry, business and public life. Those who are nominated, and then invited to join, have undergone rigorous assessment of their achievements, professional standing and societal contribution.  Fellows, who give of their time freely, play a fundamental role in enabling the RSE to deliver its mission ‘Knowledge Made Useful’, contributing to the cultural, economic and social well-being of Scotland and the wider world.

Professor Dame Anne Glover, President of the RSE, said, “The diverse expertise and experience of our fellows, means that, as an organisation, we are well-placed to respond to the issues of the day with clear informed thinking free from commercial or political influence. Our new fellows, who we look forward to welcoming, not only hold vast knowledge but also deep experience, keen judgement, boundless enthusiasm and a passion for promoting societal development and change. By using their talents as a collective, we can often unlock or inspire new potential and unearth fresh solutions to some of the most complex issues Scotland’s society faces today.”

Notes to editors

Becoming a fellow of the RSE

All candidates for fellowship must be nominated by an existing fellow, and supported by a further two.  Nominations then go through a five-stage selection process, to ensure that those elected are leading lights in their respective fields.  The over-riding requirement for selection is excellence, measured against three criteria: outstanding achievement, professional standing and societal contribution.  Only when all three are satisfied is a candidate endorsed as a fellow by The RSE. 

The RSE, and by association its fellows, delivers its mission by:

  • Inspiring and supporting young talent through a wide-ranging programme of research grants and awards
  • engaging the public across Scotland on key contemporary issues through its outreach programme RSE@ and a wide-ranging programme of public events
  • providing impartial advice and expertise to inform policy and practice through in-depth examination of major issues and providing expert comment on topical matters
  • promoting Scotland’s interests overseas through building relationships with sister academies across the world and facilitating research collaborations.

The RSE was established in 1783 for “the advancement of learning and useful knowledge”. 

New Fellows are following in the footsteps of Benjamin Franklin, Sir Walter Scott, and Professor Charlotte Auerbach, and more recently Professor Peter Higgs, Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Sir John Curtice, James MacMillan, Caroline Gardner and Ben Thompson.


Roddy Isles

Head of Corporate Communication

+44 (0)1382 384910