Glasgow Caledonian University cancer expert Dr Mark Williams and PhD research student Mohamed Elsharkasi have joined the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) Young Academy of Scotland.

Dr Williams and Mohamed are delighted to be elected as members of the Academy which brings together entrepreneurs, academics, business leaders and other professionals to work collaboratively on projects that benefit Scotland and the world.

Both are based in the Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences and are researchers in the Molecular Mechanisms of Long-Term Conditions Research Group, in the Research Centre for Health (ReaCH). They were offered membership following a competitive process and will serve for five years.

Professor Linda Scobie, Deputy Head of Department and Research Group Lead, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for both individuals and will allow them to tap in to the expertise available in many multidisciplinary areas and contribute to their developing leadership skills within a strong community.”

Dr Williams, who is fast becoming a recognised name in the field of blood cancer and therapy resistance, is investigating new targeted treatments for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) and Multiple Myeloma.

The Cell and Molecular Biology Lecturer is also guest editor for the highly-respected British Journal of Pharmacology and the Frontiers in Pharmacology Journals.

Dr Williams said: “I am very grateful and honoured to be elected as a member of RSE Young Academy of Scotland. Being part a dedicated professional network with cross-sector experience will provide me with a unique opportunity to have a real impact both at home in Scotland and further afield, and to strive towards a shared objective.

“The RSE Young Academy of Scotland’s work in finding ways to improve the future of tertiary education is an area of particular interest to me and I feel I will have a lot to contribute.

“I’m really motivated to understand the barriers that exist in transition pathways between post-secondary and vocational education to lifelong learning in further and higher education settings. This is probably because I took unconventional path in my own career, taking me from a technician role to establishing my own research laboratory.”

Mohamed worked as a Pharmacist at the Misrata Medical Center in Libya in 2016/2017 before moving to the UK to finish his studies.

He graduated with an MSc in Pharmacology from GCU with Distinction and began his PhD in 2019 investigating the molecular pathology of Alzheimer’s disease and its connection with Nrf2 protein.

Mohamed starts a new job as Associate Lecturer in Neuroscience in the School of Psychology & Neuroscience at University of St Andrews in November.

As a student at GCU, Mohamed was head of the Student Association Pharmacy School running campaign to let students know about their student rights and services available to them to help improve their mental health.

Mohamed said: “This is an exciting opportunity for me and I am really delighted to have been accepted as a member of RSE Young academy of Scotland.

“I think this is a great opportunity to learn from senior YAS members and RSE fellows and I can’t wait to participate on the interdisciplinary projects that would benefit not only the people of Scotland but hopefully worldwide.”