Prof Hillston, who is a computer scientist, was given the Lord Kelvin Medal for her work in an area called quantitative analysis of systems, which has found a wide range of applications, including the study of natural systems. She is a professor of Quantitative Modelling at the University of Edinburgh and has since 2018 been Head of their School of Informatics. The RSE called her work ‘pioneering’ and the medal follows previous awards, such as the 2004 Roger Needham Award and the 2018 Suffrage Science Award for Computer Science.
Dr Welburn was awarded the Patrick Neill Medal for her work on human cell division. Her laboratory investigates how special proteins direct and organise the microtubules, which are polymer filaments that give cells shape, especially when the cells are splitting in two. This system is important to understand because it has potential to be a great target of anti-cancer drugs. Dr Welburn is also based the at the University of Edinburg, in the Wellcome Centre for Cell Biology. She is both a Wellcome Senior Fellow and an EMBO Young Investigator.
All recipients of the RSE Medals generally have some connection to Scotland. Prof Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, the interim President of the RSE and herself an AcademiaNet member, said of the winners in a press release: “Through a mixture of curiosity, determination and brilliance, their work not only makes a difference to society but continues to put research carried out in this country on the world map.”