Professor Peter Morgan

Professor Peter Morgan
Professor Peter Morgan

Professor Peter Morgan


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. (  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.

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 Zoology 
    1978 - Queen Mary University, London 
  • PhD Zoology 
    1981 - University of Aberdeen 

External Memberships

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-)


Research Overview

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.

Research Focus

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, entitledThe 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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