Dr Alan Sneddon

Dr Alan Sneddon
Dr Alan Sneddon
Dr Alan Sneddon


Email Address
Telephone Number
+44 (0)1224 438671
Office Address

Metabolic Health Group

Rowett Institute

University of Aberdeen


Aberdeen. AB25 2ZD

Tel: +44(0)1224 438671   

Fax: +44(0)1224 438629


School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition


  • BSc (Hons) Biochemistry 
    1985 - University of Dundee 
  • PhD Biochemistry 
    1989 - University of Dundee 

External Memberships

  • Former Deputy Editor for British Journal of Nutrition
  • Former First Editor for Journal of Nutritional Science.
  • Member of Editorial Board for Preventive Nutrition and Food Science
  • Member of the Nutrition Society

Latest Publications

View My Publications


Research Overview

Micronutrients and heavy metals and health

My research interests lie primarily in identifying the role of micronutrients in health and disease. This work involves accurately quantifying micronutrient levels within different food products within the diet and also in developing tools to assess their bioavailability within the body.

I have also recently developed an interest in heavy metals and their effects on health. Heavy metals including mercury, cadmium and lead can be ingested from the diet and evidence suggests that certain micronutrients play a role in alleviating their toxicity within the body.

This research will help the food industry to make healthier products and provide information on how micronutrients act to promote health.

Current Research

We have been investigating the function of dietary fatty acids and micronutrients in human health and disease and in particular cardiovascular disease (CVD). Using a model of heart disease we have shown that consuming a high fat diet lacking one micronutrient (selenium) increases heart disease more compared to consumption of the same diet containing selenium. Furthermore, these effects correlated with the levels of ‘bad’ fatty acids within the bloodstream. Additionally, other studies have shown that selenium has an anti-inflammatory effect both within immune cells and endothelial cells (which line the inside of blood vessels) and that it can reduce the interaction between these cell types, which is an important early step in heart disease development. More recent work has involved investigating nutrient-nutrient interactions relevant to CVD.

Currently, we are investigating the effects of seasonality and location on shellfish micronutrient levels and the effect of regular shellfish consumption on modulating micronutrient status in humans. These studies have ranged from measuring conventional markers of nutrient intake, to developing tools to assess micronutrient bioavailability as well as developing improved markers to assess micronutrient status and have encompassed work at both cellular and tissue level and intervention studies within animal models and in humans.

The objective of this work has been to obtain evidence for the involvement of specific nutrients in promoting health and alleviating disease in order to provide more informed dietary advice on their optimum requirements within the population. Previous work has focused on how the changing composition of feedstuffs within the aquaculture and dairy industries driven by issues of sustainability, impact on ultimate product nutritional quality and the likely influence on health for the consumer. Funding from the Wellcome Trust and British Heart Foundation have also investigated the influence of genotype and chemical speciation on micronutrient function, bioavailability and health.

Funding and Grants

  • BBSRC Biofortification Hub Proof of Concept Funding: 'Maximising nutrient levels in seaweeds'
  • RESAS (Scottish Government): 'Risk-benefit analysis of Scottish seaweeds as a sustainable food source'
  • RESAS (Scottish Government): Improving primary produce; Food Safety; Improvement of livestock.
  • Industrial Funding: ‘Crab consumption, cadmium and health; do crabmeat consumers have a greater cadmium burden compared to non-crabmeat consumers?
  • IMMANA: Aquatic Food for Health and Nutrition (AQN): A metric for assessing the impacts on nutrition and health of agroecosystems producing farmed seafood.
  • Elphinstone PhD studentship:‘The effect of selected micronutrients on endothelial cell function with relevance to atherosclerosis’
  • Encompass Kick-start Award: Developing bioactive mapping in seaweeds as a quality assurance tool” (co-applicant)
  • Fraserburgh Moonlight Prowl PhD studentship: ‘Omega-3 endocannabinoids: novel anticancer lipid ethanolamides’.
  • RESAS (Scottish Government), Healthy and safe diets.
  • British Heart Foundation: ‘Atherosclerosis: the effect of selenium speciation and dose’.
  • Wellcome Trust Project Grant: ‘Interaction of selenium, fatty acids and a polymorphism in GPX4 in modulating vascular function’.  


Teaching Responsibilities

Programme coordinator for MSc, PGDip and PGCert in CLINICAL NUTRITION

Course Co-ordinator for RN5507 'Nutrition and Health' (since 2016)


Lecturer/contributor on MSc Human Nutrition programme (RN5003 Foundations of Nutrition, RN5507 Nutrition and Health)

Lecturer/contributor on MSc Cardiovascular Science and Diabetes programme (RN5507 Nutrition and Health)

Lecturer/contributor on MSc Clinical Nutrition programme (RN5001 Fundamentals of Human Nutrition and Metabolism)

Supervision of MSc Human Nutrition and MSc Clinical Nutrition research projects (PU5922 Masters Research Project, MB5904 Masters Research Project (Laboratory))

PhD supervisor 

Non-course Teaching Responsibilities

Personal Tutoring


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Books and Reports

Contributions to Journals

Working Papers