AN Inverclyde teenager is 'up and atom' after being appointed as the first Scottish chief editor of an international scientific journal.

Mhairi McCann has taken the helm of the Young Scientists Journal - a worldwide publication which is written, edited and published by the world's most talented young scientists aged between 12 and 20.

The 19-year-old from Inverkip, a former pupil at St Columba's High in Gourock, is in charge of the day-to-day running of a team of over 80 young scientists from around the globe.

Mhairi says she's looking forward to the challenge ahead and proud to be the first Scottish editor in the prestigious publication's 12-year history.

She said: "Last year I was involved in the journal's outreach team, volunteering as an ambassador for Scotland with the aim of making more people aware about it.

"It was quite a surprise to be asked to be the chief editor.

"There were things I observed last year where I wanted to see certain improvements and changes.

"I would particularly like to see it becoming more inclusive.

"The school the journal originated in is a private school in the south east of England and a lot of the schools involved are private schools, which is not a deliberate thing, but I want to see more young people from areas like Inverclyde and state schools being able to get involved and have more opportunities."

The journal provides a place for young people from across the world to publish their scientific research.

Mhairi said: "The young people involved in the journal come from all over the world, including America, Australia, China, Africa and the Czech Republic.

"It makes it difficult sometimes because there's so many time zones.

"You send them a message and wait for them to come back to you.

"It's challenging but I'm looking forward to it."

Print issues of the journal are released twice a year, packed with original research, review articles, reports and interviews.

The journal has also bridged the gap between school and university science, introducing students to a more collaborative approach to science.

In addition, the journal arranges annual conferences featuring talks from high-profile academics.

Mhairi hopes that she can inspire more young people to get involved with the journal.

She said: "This allows me to help other young people have their work recognised and published.

"It means young people aged 12 and upwards can say they have had their work published in a scientific journal.

"It's a huge opportunity for young people and that is why I'm doing this - to be able to allow young people to get that opportunity."

Mhairi follows in the footsteps of her proud mum Alison McKay who is also a scientist.

Alison said: "I've been to the last three Young Scientists Journal conferences with Mhairi.

"I'm a scientist myself and I'm astounded by the talent that I see in terms of the research that they are doing, which is sometimes in their kitchen or sometimes with big organisations where they are contributing to breakthroughs whether in cancer treatment or other subjects.

"The talent is amazing and the journal is a way to promote what they are doing as it allows them to show their research.

"It's a great thing for young people and it can also inspire young people to maybe take up a career in research because they have had this opportunity at a young age."

Alison is in no doubt that Mhairi will flourish as the journal's chief editor.

She added: "It's a brilliant opportunity for Mhairi.

"It's going to be a real challenge to be able to lead such a large team especially because it's so diverse with its international logistics.

"But I'm absolutely sure that she will put 110 per cent into it and it will be a successful year for her as the chief editor.

"I'm a very proud mum."