Pulmonary Circulation Leadership Award for Strathclyde professor

A professor at the University of Strathclyde has received the American Thoracic Society’s (ATS) Assembly on Pulmonary Circulation Leadership Award, in recognition of “Decades of Leadership and Devoted Service to the Pulmonary Circulation Research Community.”

Emeritus Professor Mandy MacLean MBE has been named the winner of the award for 2024. It recognises her extensive contribution to the field of pulmonary vascular research, as well as her “inspiring leadership” of the ATS Pulmonary Circulation Assembly and her commitment to training the next generation of leaders in the field.

In her career, Professor MacLean has specialised in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a form of high blood pressure which affects the lungs, and particularly the roles of the chemicals serotonin and oestrogen in its development.

ATS presents the Leadership Award annually and Professor MacLean is the first winner from the UK for nearly 25 years, as well as the first female winner from the UK in the award’s history. Her presentation is due to be made at the ATS International Meeting in San Diego on Monday 20 May.

Professor Mandy MacLean

Professor MacLean said:

I was delighted that my peers across the globe have awarded me this wonderful accolade - it came as unexpected and uplifting news. My activities with the ATS over the years have provided me with inspiration, lifelong friends and collaborators.

“Research is a team effort and hence this award is a recognition of all the contributions my research teams have made over the years. I would like to thank them and all my collaborators for their support and making it such a rewarding career.

“I would also like to thank the British Heart Foundation for continuous support over the last 30 years, as well as the BBSRC and MRC for research funding.’

Professor MacLean gained a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Edinburgh in 1985 and worked in the USA, Cambridge and the University of Glasgow before joining Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences in 2019, gaining the title of Distinguished Professor in 2020. In recent years, her research has focused on sex effects and oestrogen metabolism in PAH, which occurs more commonly in women than in men.

She has played a key role in Strathclyde’s public engagement work and has co-hosted monthly events for Café Scientifique in Glasgow. In 2018, she became a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and was the Academy’s Scottish Champion in 2018-19, before being elected in 2020 to its Council, where she was EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) Champion and currently Chair of the Mentoring Advisory Group.

The professor is a trustee of, and sits on the Board of, the Glasgow Children's Hospital Charity. She is a Fellow and past Vice-President (Life Sciences) of The Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE).

Professor MacLean’s awards include a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award in 2010, a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship in 2013, the British Pharmacological Society AstraZeneca Prize for Women in Pharmacology in 2013 and the 2017 Reynold Spector Award for Clinical Pharmacology from ASPET (American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics). In 2010, she was appointed an MBE for services to science.

Impactful research

Professor Bryan Williams, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer at the British Heart Foundation, said: “We are delighted to see decades of impactful research being recognised with this award. Supported by funding from the British Heart Foundation, Professor MacLean’s research has helped to uncover more about how pulmonary arterial hypertension develops and why it is more common in women than men.

“This important work has laid the groundwork for future research to develop new treatments to improve and prolong the lives of those with this devastating condition.”