Professor Alexandra Johnstone
BSc, MSc, PhD, PGCE, RNutr
Room 4.054, The Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill Health Campus, Ashgrove Road West, Aberdeen, AB25 2ZD
I am recognized as a leading innovative UK researcher within the field of human appetite control and specifically, the role of dietary protein. Since completing my PhD in 2002, my extensive publication record (>60 peer reviewed publications with a total of 3839 citations, of which 2659 since 2010) and excellent track record in funding from RCUK and EU funding bodies has placed me in a position where I have influenced food choice in the UK through collaboration with the food industry and my ongoing knowledge transfer activities.
I think of the kitchen as my ‘laboratory’ and have set rigorous standards to maintain quality scientific protocols. Between 2009-2015 i was a workpackage lead for EU-funded NeuroFAST (Neurobiology of food addiction and stress), SATIN (Satiety Innovation) and Full4Health (food-gut-brain accross the lifecours). I am the grant holder for a RCUK Medical Research Council grant on Chrono-nutrition and co-applicant on a further two RCUK grants.
My position is funded by the Scottish Government's Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS) within a Programme of Strategic Research to be delivered over 2016-2021, in relation to “Food, Health and Wellbeing’. My Scottish Government work has invetigated:
2016 – 2021 Research focus to examine the role of dietary components on appetite control influencing energy balance, in humans, to help with healthy weight control.
2010 – 2015 Research focus within Obesity and Metabolic health, to examine appetite control across the lifecourse. Published work relating to investigation of mechanisms relating to protein induced satiety and addressed safety of diets with Gut Health colleagues.
2010 – 2015 Strategic Partnership Project with the Food and Drink Industry, which examined ‘Health impacts of sustainable ingredient selection in the food and drink industry’. Published work on plant protein sources and linked with WWF to address sustainable healthy diets.
Within the field of appetite control, have strategic vision and expertise to lead a team to conduct controlled dietary intervention studies in human subjects, including vulnerable groups of children through to elderly. Application of food-gut-brain bio-markers and assessment of energy balance at an international level in EU and RCUK grant awards. Targeted collaboration with internal and external colleagues adds unique opportunity for advancement of knowledge through publications, to ensure inclusion in the University REF exercise. Application of research output in public engagement and knowledge exchange with a variety of stakeholders (including policy, public, media and food sectors).
I successfully lead and manage high calibre research activities within the Rowett Institute. I am actively engaged in organising and delivering teaching excellence and learning and I translate my team’s innovative science to a range of stakeholders achieving high impact, through sustained knowledge exchange activities, and having real commercial and community benefit.
I initiate, organise and co-ordinate multi-disciplinary team projects within the Rowett Institute, Nationally and Internationally, leading to the submission of successful major grant proposals to EU and UK funding bodies (MRC, BBSRC, CSO), as Grant Holder and Co-Applicant. The impact of this is to promote a multi-disciplinary research strategy within the Institute, and with external collaborators, both within the College of Medicine and international colleagues. This approach strengthens research output and quality.
I plan and implement the strategic vision for whole-body obesity research for the Scottish Government grant award.
Knowledge transfer: I was awarded the Principal’s award for Public Engagement in 2016, in recognition for my varied and continued commitment to engagement with stakeholders including the general public, policy, food industry, science and media. I contributed an Impact Case for the 2014 REF exercise
My own innovative science strategy has led to highly productive collaboration with Rowett gut health colleagues resulting in several highly cited 4* publications. I have an extensive publication record (>60 peer reviewed publications with a total of 3115 citations) with a total H index of 27.
Funding and Grants
- 2010–2015 NeuroFAST –explored the stress and eating behavior, to provide new data from human studies that is needed to inform health policy initiatives (local post-doc and two research assistants) (Scott & 410165664, Stress and eating behaviour: implications for obesity. Obes Facts. 2012;5(2):277-87).
- 2011-2016 Full4Health – explored the FOOD-GUT-BRAIN axis across age groups (8 to 80 years), (local PhD student and post-doc) (Mercer, 410165664, Halford. Approaches to influencing food choice across the age groups: from children to the elderly. Proc Nutr Soc. 2015 May;74(2):149-57).
- 2012-2016 SATIN (Satiety Innovation) – investigated novel food ingredients (fermentable fibres) for satiety (local two research assistants) (López-Nicolás, 410165664 et al. Satiety Innovations: Food Products to Assist Consumers with Weight Loss, Evidence on the Role of Satiety in Healthy Eating: Overview and In Vitro Approximation. Curr Obes Rep. 2016 Mar;5(1):97-105).
- 2013-2015 Knowledge Transfer Partnership Grant, via Technology Strategy Board with Genius Foods to investigate the role of gluten-free diet, employed a research associate.
- 2016-2020 MRC Grant holder The Big Breakfast study: chrono-nutrition influence on energy balance.
- 2016-2018 BBSRC Co-Applicant Protein4Life
I am Lead Educator for the Massive Online Open-Learning Course (MOOC) for University of Aberdeen Nutrition and Wellbeing Course, which has had over 60K participants since starting in 201
I am course co-ordinator for the MSc Human Nutrition and Metabolism, Assessment of Nutritional Status
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Higher total faecal short chain fatty concentrations correlate with increasing proportions of butyrate and decreasing proportions of branched chain fatty acids across multiple human studiesGut Microbiome, vol. 3, e2Contributions to Journals: Articles
Determinants of Undernutrition and Associated Factors of Low Muscle Mass and High Fat Mass among Older Men and Women in the Colombo District of Sri LankaGeriatrics, vol. 7, no. 2, 26Contributions to Journals: Articles
Circadian Rhythms in Resting Metabolic Rate Account for Apparent Daily Rhythms in the Thermic Effect of FoodJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, vol. 107, no. 2, pp. e708–e715Contributions to Journals: Articles
Hemp and Buckwheat are valuable sources of dietary amino acids, beneficially modulating gastrointestinal hormones and promoting satiety in healthy volunteersEuropean Journal of Nutrition, vol. 61, pp. 1057–1072Contributions to Journals: Articles
Salivary ghrelin response to drinks varying in protein content and quantity and association with energy intake and appetitePhysiology and Behavior, vol. 242, 113622Contributions to Journals: Articles
Associations between ghrelin and leptin and neural food cue reactivity in a fasted and sated stateNeuroimage, 118374Contributions to Journals: Articles
Hot Topic workshop report: Reshaping the food environment – Applying interdisciplinary perspectives in appetite researchNutrition Bulletin, vol. 46, no. 2, pp. 216-227Contributions to Journals: Articles
Appetite Control Across the Lifecourse: The Acute Impact of Breakfast Drink Quantity and Protein Content. The Full4Health ProjectNutrients, vol. 12, no. 12, 3710Contributions to Journals: Articles
Le moment où l’on mange affecte-t-il notre poids ? Voici ce qu’en dit la scienceThe ConversationContributions to Specialist Publications: Articles
The public health rationale for promoting plant protein as an important part of a sustainable and healthy dietNutrition Bulletin, vol. 45, no. 3, pp. 281-293Contributions to Journals: Articles