Press release

University staff among new Fellows of RSE

Published on 1 March 2019

Academics from the University of Dundee are among leading figures named today as new Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland’s National Academy

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The new Fellows from the University are:

  • Professor Geoff Barton, Professor of Bioinformatics and Head of the Division of Computational Biology in the School of Life Sciences
  • Professor Victoria Cowling, Professor of Biology and Deputy Head of the Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression in the School of Life Sciences
  • Professor Karl Leydecker, Vice-Principal (Learning & Teaching)

They join an existing Fellowship of over 1600 individuals who give their time and expertise for free to support the RSE in delivering its mission of ‘knowledge made useful’.

Professor Geoff Barton’s research focuses on the application of computational methods including machine learning in biology. A major theme of his research is the analysis of data from human genome sequencing to understand genetic effects on protein function and disease. Software tools developed by his group are in daily use by tens of thousands of scientists, teachers and students world-wide in fields ranging from clinical genetics and drug discovery to plant and animal science.

Professor Barton said, “I’m delighted to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. This award offers a strong indication that the relatively `young’ field of Computational Biology that I work in is now recognised by the wider community as a key scientific discipline.”

Professor Victoria Cowling investigates how genes are regulated in human health and disease. Her research group strives to identify novel therapeutic approaches which utilise gene expression pathways for the treatment of cancers and immune disorders.

Professor Cowling said, “I am delighted to be joining the Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.  This award recognises the collective efforts of my team over the last ten years. I look forward to working with the RSE to tackle some of the major issues facing scientific progress today.”

Professor Karl Leydecker has been Vice-Principal (Learning & Teaching) of the University since 2013, responsible for all aspects of learning, teaching and the wider student experience. He is also Professor of German and Comparative Literature.

Professor Leydecker said, “I am delighted to have been elected a Fellow of the RSE in recognition of my track record of educational leadership. While a great personal honour, it is also recognition of the exceptional progress of the University of Dundee in learning, teaching, student experience, employability and widening access over the past five years, which has been a great collective effort of staff and students at the University.”

Professor Leydecker is taking up the post of Senior Vice-Principal at the University of Aberdeen on 1 March.

Commenting on the new Fellows, President of the RSE, Professor Dame Anne Glover, said, “The calibre of our Fellows never ceases to amaze me and this year is no different. For such a small country we surpass ourselves with the talent and expertise that exists across our academic, cultural and business landscape. All of our Fellows are assets, not just to the RSE but to Scotland and the rest of the world, and I look forward to welcoming and working with them.”

The new Fellows will be inducted in May 2019. 

As Scotland’s National Academy, the RSE’s strength lies in the breadth of disciplines represented by its Fellowship. This range of expertise enables the RSE to take part in a host of activities such as providing independent and expert advice to Government and Parliament, supporting aspiring entrepreneurs through mentorship, facilitating education programmes for young people and engaging the general public through educational events.

The scope of the Fellowship, numbering over 1600 individuals from Scotland, the UK and abroad, enables the RSE to provide a wide range of leadership and expertise.

Notes to editors

The RSE is an educational charity, registered in Scotland, operating on a wholly independent and non-party-political basis and providing public benefit throughout Scotland.

It was established in 1783 and since then has drawn upon the considerable strengths and varied expertise of its Fellows, of which there are currently around 1600, based in Scotland, the rest of the UK and beyond.


Press Office, University of Dundee
Story category Awards and accolades