A Helensburgh ex-pat has been recognised again for her academic work.

Kay Macleod, who attended Hermitage Academy, was given a named professorship by the University of Chicago, the institution announced.

She was named the Hospira Foundation Professor at the Ben May Department of Cancer Research.

Her lab focuses on getting raw science into practical medicine.

She has been serving as associate director for basic sciences at the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center since January.

Earlier this year, Dr Macleod told the Advertiser that she had always assumed she would go into medicine. But instead she pursued molecular biology, eventually starting her own lab at the US university in 2002.

She said: "Academic science is actually really well suited to a healthy lifestyle – there is a lot of flexibility, you are your own boss to a large extent and what I love about it is getting the chance to think about different questions and challenges every day. It's never boring."

READ MORE: Dr Kay Macleod on research journey from Helensburgh to Chicago

Dr Macleod's work has focused on defects in cells that promote pancreatic cancer and liver cancer. It looks at how it contributes to cancer cells growing and metastasizing.

She was one of 31 faculty in Chicago appointed to posts as of July 1.

The university said: "Dr Macleod’s lab focuses on understanding the role of mitochondria in tissue homeostasis and cancer.

"As a basic researcher, she uses cutting-edge approaches — in cell and molecular biology, systems biology, novel mouse models and human patient samples — to investigate how mitochondria modulate normal tissue function, how mitochondrial stress responses are regulated and how mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to cancer progression and metastasis."