Two PIs from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression at the College of Life Sciences have been elected Fellows of the Royal Society, the world’s oldest scientific academy in continuous existence.

Professors Ron Hay and Angus Lamond have been elected Fellows in recognition of their contribution to our understanding of cellular structures and functions. Theirs is a rare double election for the Centre and means the College of Life Sciences at Dundee is now home to nine Fellows of the Royal Society, one of the strongest concentrations of Fellows in the UK.

They are among 44 new Fellows joining the ranks of the UK and Commonwealth’s leading scientists as the Society celebrates its 350th Anniversary. The Royal Society is the national academy of science of the UK and the Commonwealth and is one of the world’s most prestigious institutions of science.

Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society said, “I am delighted to welcome these new Fellows to the Royal Society in what is a hugely important year for us. These scientists follow in the footsteps of early Fellows such as Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke. The new Fellows announced today embody the spirit of enquiry, dedicated to ‘the relief of man’s estate’ on which the Royal Society was founded. That spirit is as alive today as it was 350 years ago.”

Professor Lamond, who is Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression in the College of Life Sciences and Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Dundee, was elected in recognition of his seminal work on the structure and functional organisation of the nucleus of mammalian cells. His research explores the expression and function of human genes at a system-wide level. He was also recognized for this work by the award of the Novartis Prize and Medal of the Biochemical Society earlier this year.

Professor Hay also works in the Wellcome Trust Centre for Gene Expression and Regulation in the and is also an honorary member of the Protein Ubiquityltion Unit of the Scottish Institute for Cell Signalling (SCILLS), which is also based at Dundee. He has been recognised for his research into how cellular components are selected and destroyed in a controlled fashion and the regulation of basic cellular processes that, when disrupted, can result in diseases such as cancer, inflammation and neurodegeration.

Professor Mike Ferguson, Dean of Research at the College of Life Sciences, said, “This is a tremendous tribute to Life Sciences in Dundee. Having two senior scientists elected to the Royal Society in the same year is a first for us but well deserved for Angus and Ron, who have been elected by some of the most eminent scientists of the day.

“It is an honour which is hugely deserved for both and also reflects on the quality of the teams they have built around them in Dundee.”

Reacting to the news of his Fellowship, Professor Lamond said, “I was very surprised to be elected and am grateful to the colleagues who nominated me, among whom Philip Cohen has been particularly active in promoting life sciences research in Dundee, and the work of Ron and I in particular to the Royal Society. It is certainly good to have one’s work recognised by one’s peers and these two Fellowships reflect very positively on the achievements of the College of Life Sciences, and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression, to which Ron and I are both affiliated.

“I am certain that the quality and productivity of the research at the College of Life Sciences in Dundee, will mean that more of my colleagues will soon be elected to the Royal Society.”

Professor Hay said, “I consider it a great honour to follow in the footsteps of so many distinguished scientists and be elected to the Royal Society. Having our work recognised in this fashion is extremely gratifying and is a direct result of the talent and dedication shown by the colleagues who make up my research group.

“Dundee provides a wonderful environment in which to carry out science and I would also like to extend my thanks to Philip Cohen for his support.”

Both Professors Lamond and Hay are members of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO), and fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Professor Hay is also a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.