Professor Alan St Clair Gibson

Professor Alan St Clair Gibson
Professor Alan St Clair Gibson
Professor Alan St Clair Gibson

Director of the Institute of Applied Health Sciences, Personal Chair

Accepting PhDs



Professor Alan (Zig) St Clair Gibson is currently the Director of the Institute of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Aberdeen. Prior to this he was the Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Hull, and before that the Deputy Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Science and Health at the University of Essex. He has previously been Dean of the Faculty of Health, Sport and Human Performance at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, and Head of the School of Medicine at the University of Free State, South Africa. Prior to this he was first Director of Research / Chair of Integrative Neuroscience and then Head of Department in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Northumbria University. He graduated from the University of Cape Town with an MBChB in 1990, a PhD in 1997 and a MD in 2002, and after his Medical Internship year did a spell as a General Surgical Officer in a rural hospital in Natal, South Africa. He has previously been an Associate Professor in the MRC/UCT Research Unit of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine at the University of Cape Town, and a Research Fellow at the Human Motor Control Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, at the National Institutes of Health, Washington DC, USA. He has published more than 150 research publications, is a world-leading expert in the field of control system theory, has an H-index of 64, an I10-index of 134 and a citation count of 14 681. He publishes a monthly blog ( of academic and research interest which has attracted more than 60 000 readers. His wife, Kate, and he have two children, Luke (18), and Helen (15), and he enjoys spending time with his family, walking his four dogs, reading history, and doing any sport when he has the time to do so.


  • MBChB Medicine 
    1990 - University of Cape Town 
  • PhD Physiology 
    1997 - University of Cape Town 
  • MD Human Biology 
    2002 - University of Cape Town 

Research Overview

My main research interests span across the fields of integrative neuroscience, basic brain function, health, sports medicine, and exercise science. I am a world leader in my principal research field (integrative control mechanisms in health and disease), with more than 150 research publications and substantial research income generated either as a team leader or individually, and my work in these research fields is highly cited (H-Index 64, I10Index 134, Citation Count 14 678). I write Blogs on Academic, University, Research and Leadership issues which can be read at and has received more than 60 000 views to date, and have recently in 2022 published a highly rated book on all things science and academia titled ‘The Poetry of Life’.

Research Areas

Accepting PhDs

I am currently accepting PhDs in Applied Health Sciences.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.

Applied Health Sciences

Accepting PhDs

Research Specialisms

  • Systems Thinking
  • Health Informatics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Clinical Medicine
  • Clinical Physiology

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Current Research

Fatigue in health workers and patients, complex analysis of data systems, health data systems, system control mechanism


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  • Different neuromuscular recruitment patterns during eccentric, concentric and isometric contractions

    Kay, D., St Clair Gibson, A., Mitchell, M. J., Lambert, M. I., Noakes, T. D.
    Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, vol. 10, no. 6, pp. 425-431
    Contributions to Journals: Articles