Professor Peter Morgan
BSc PhD FRSE
Chair in Nutrition
The Rowett Institute
University of Aberdeen,
Aberdeen AB25 2ZD
Peter Morgan is the Director of the Rowett Institute (RI) at the University of Aberdeen. As Director and CEO of the former Rowett Research Institute (RRI), he led the merger of RRI with the University of Aberdeen to create RI in 2008. A key part of this was the development of a new £40 million Rowett Institute incorporating a state of the art human nutrition research facility on the University’s Medical School Campus, which he spearheaded and which was opened in April 2016.
As Director, he is responsible for the strategic direction of the Rowett Institute, part of which involves delivery of a strategic grant funded by Scottish Government worth ca £8 million per annum. This involved overseeing research across a wide spectrum of nutrition, including obesity, metabolic and gut health and life-course nutrition
Between 2008 and 2014 he served as a Vice-Principal at the University of Aberdeen, where he was involved in the strategic management of the University, particularly in relation to research and the Research Excellence Framework.
His personal research interests are in the neurobiology of energy balance as well biological rhythms. (http://www.abdn.ac.uk/rowett/research/peter-morgan.php). More recently this has been expanded to include gut microbiome-brain interactions. His research has been funded through grants from BBSRC, MRC and though strategic alliances with industry (pharma) and from Scottish Government and this has produced recognized impact. http://www.abdn.ac.uk/clsm/research/impact/valdoxan-antidepressant.
He is, or has been, a member of numerous scientific committees and working groups focus on research and policy related to nutrition, diet and health in Scotland and across the UK and Europe, including with BBSRC and MRC.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Ediburgh in 2002
- BSc Zoology1978 - Queen Mary University, London
- PhD Zoology1981 - University of Aberdeen
External Activities (past and present)
Scottish Science Advisory Committee (2004-2010)
Scottish Food and Health Council (2005-7)
BBSRC Healthy Organism Panel/Basic Bioscience Underpinning Health Strategy Panel/Bioscience for Health Strategy Panel (2008-2014)
BBSRC Food and Drink Industry Steering Group (DRINC) (2008-2014)
BBSRC Food and Drink Food, Diet and Health Working Group (2012-2014)
DIFE (German Human Nutrition Institute, Potsdam, Germany) Scientific Advisory Committee (2004-2012)
Editorial Board member and Senior Review Editors for the Journal of Neuroendocrinology (2012-)
University of College Dublin, Institute of Food and Health Scientific Advisory Group (2010-2013)
BBSRC Institute of Food Research, Visiting Group Norwich (2014)
Norwich Research Park Strategic Advisory Board/Food and Health Alliance Strategic Advisory Board (2013- )
Scottish Food Commission Member (2015- )
Member of Executive of SEFARI (Scottish Environment Food and Agriculture Research Institutes) responsible for oversight of Scottish Government’s Strategic Research Programme across 6 main research providers. (2016-)
Executive Chair of SEFARI and Chair of Director’s Executive 2016-2017
Strategic Advisory Board for Scottish Government Rural Affairs and Environment (2016-17)
MRC and NIHR Review of Nutrition and Human Health Research (2016)
Quadrum Institute Bioscience, Trustee and Board member (2017-)
MRC led UK Nutrition Research Partnership for health and disease (UK NRP) panel member (2018-)
Neurobiology of energy balance
Appropriate partitioning of nutrients and energy is essential to optimum growth and development. In obesity surplus nutrients and energy are deposited as fat, whereas stunting (a major problem in the developing world) results from the lack of key nutrients and energy.
Understanding the basic mechanisms that determine the amount we eat and how we balance this energetically is fundamental to finding solutions to the problems of both obesity and stunting.
Food intake, energy balance and growth are all regulated by neuronal circuits in a region of the brain called the hypothalamus. My research focuses how environmental signals (light/dark cycles and diet) alter the long-term regulation of these key physiological axes. These changes involved can be marked and my interest is in how cellular re-modelling and neuronal plasticity within the hypothalamus may underpin these long-term changes in neuroendocrine function. The ependymal and tanycyte cells around the third ventricle are an important interface between the environmental signals and the neuroendocrine system, with vitamin A and thyroid hormone signalling playing a key role. My interest is in how inflammatory pathways in the hypothalamus may mediate the effects of these and other dietary signals to modulate long-term changes in growth, food intake and energy balance.
Funding and Grants
BBSRC 2009-2012; Response mode research grant BB/G014272/1, entitled ‘Retinoic acid: a new signalling molecule mediating the photoperiodic neuroendocrine response’ Funding: ca £650K
BBSRC 2012-2015; Response mode research grant BB/K001043/1, entitled ‘Inflammatory signals regulate neuroendocrine control of growth and energy balance through re-modelling of mammalian hypothalamus’ Funding: ca £650K
BBSRC 2012-2016; PhD studentship project; Gut-mediated immunomodulation of food intake and body composition (£100K)
MRC 2017-2020; Responsive mode research grant MR/P012205/1, entitled ‘The big breakfast study: Chrono-nutrition influences on energy expenditure and body weight’ Funding ca £ 787K
Scottish Government: 2017-2021: PhD studentship project; Gut microbiota mediates distinct metabolic effects through different types of dietary fibre (ca £100K)
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Circadian rhythms in resting metabolic rate account for apparent daily rhythms in thermic effect of foodJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and MetabolismContributions to Journals: Articles
Mealtime: A circadian disruptor and determinant of energy balance?Journal of Neuroendocrinology, vol. 32, no. 7, e12886Contributions to Journals: Articles
A unifying hypothesis for control of body weight and reproduction in seasonally breeding mammalsJournal of Neuroendocrinology, vol. 31, no. 3, e12680Contributions to Journals: Review articles
Diet induced obesity is independent of metabolic endotoxemia and TLR4 signalling, but markedly increases hypothalamic expression of the acute phase protein, SerpinA3NScientific Reports, vol. 8, 15648Contributions to Journals: Articles
The Big Breakfast Study: Chrono-nutrition influence on energy expenditure and bodyweightNutrition Bulletin, vol. 43, no. 2, pp. 174-183Contributions to Journals: Articles
Dietary Uncoupling of Gut Microbiota and Energy Harvesting from Obesity and Glucose Tolerance in MiceCell Reports, vol. 21, no. 6, pp. 1521-1533Contributions to Journals: Articles
A seasonal switch in histone deacetylase gene expression in the hypothalamus and their capacity to modulate nuclear signaling pathwaysBrain, Behavior, and Immunity, vol. 61, pp. 340-352Contributions to Journals: Articles
Preclinical models for obesity researchDisease Models & Mechanisms, vol. 9, no. 11, pp. 1245-1255Contributions to Journals: Articles
Expression of the retinoic acid catabolic enzyme CYP26B1 in the human brain to maintain signaling homeostasisBrain Structure and Function, vol. 221, no. 6, pp. 3315-3326Contributions to Journals: Articles
A neuroendocrine role for chemerin in hypothalamic remodelling and photoperiodic control of energy balanceScientific Reports, vol. 6, 26830Contributions to Journals: Articles