Professor Jules Griffin

Professor Jules Griffin
Professor Jules Griffin
Professor Jules Griffin

Director of the Rowett Institute

Accepting PhDs



My research focuses on the application of analytical chemistry to study metabolism at a global level in metabolic diseases. We have developed and applied metabolomics and lipidomics tools to investigate aspects of the metabolic syndrome and how nutrition interacts with health across the life course. This has included studies based on cell culture, model organisms, human diet intervention studies and epidemiology. At the centre of this research has been a desire to understand why fat metabolism can be so detrimental to the cell.    

I received my D.Phil. in Biochemistry from the University of Oxford, where I used 13C NMR spectroscopy to study metabolism in the brain. My first Post-doctoral position applied similar approaches to study cardiac metabolism at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. Returning to the UK I took up a second post-doctoral position at Imperial College London, joining during the early stages of the development of metabolomics/metabonomics. Here, I applied these new omic tools to understanding how fat metabolism impairs cell function and have been studying this subject ever since.

I was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship and set up my own research group at the Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge in 2002. In 2011, I took up a joint position with MRC Human Nutrition Research and the University of Cambridge as a programme leader. This was a transformative appointment, allowing my group to move our focus from model systems into human nutrition and experimental medicine. We also developed a number of high throughput metabolomics and lipidomics tools for cohort studies to examine the metabolic syndrome. In 2019 I took up the Chair of Biological Chemistry at Imperial College London, joining the Imperial College Dementia Research Institute to study the contribution of lipid metabolism to neurodegenerative diseases. In July 2021 I joined the Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen as Director.

Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships

Member of Aberdeen Cardiovascular and Diabetes Centre

Member of the Rowett Institute EDIT Committee

Chair of the Rowett Institute Executive Committee

External Memberships

Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Director and Secretary to the Metabolic Profiling Forum (metabomeeting).

Editorial board member for Genome Medicine and Metabolites. 

Former President of the Metabolomics Society (2016-2020).

Latest Publications

View My Publications

Prizes and Awards

Trapnell Research Fellow, King's College, Cambridge, 2003-2007.

Recipient of Agilent Thought Leader Award. 2016. 

Honorary Professor at Imperial College London (2022-)

Visiting Professor at the University of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy (2011-2012; 2015-2016; 2021-22).


Research Overview

My group has been at the centre of the development of metabolomics as a research tool in biochemistry, and in particular, its application to medical diagnostics and functional genomics. Since my Royal Society fellowship in the Nicholson group at Imperial College London, where I contributed to some of the first papers in this field, my group has made regular presentations at the major metabolomics meetings and published key papers in this research area. In particular we have examined the use of metabolomics as a tool for monitoring metabolic diseases [Kirschenlohr et al., Nature Medicine, 2006; Roberts et al, Genome Biol. 2011; Roberts et al., Diabetes, 2015, 2017; Hall et al., Hepatology, 2017, Charidemou et al., JCI Insights, 2019; Vacca et al., Nature Metabolism, 2020], epidemiology [Harshfield et al., BMC Biology, 2021; Lotta et al., Nature Genetics, 2021], physiological adaption to high altitude [Horscroft et al., PNAS, 2017] and the use of ketone bodies to improve human sporting performance [Cox et al., Cell Metabolism, 2016]. We have also exploited a range of model organisms to explore aspects of metabolism [Keller et al., Science Advances, 2015, Imanikia et al., Cell Reports, 2019]. Central to the ethos of the group is a mechanistic understanding of why these metabolic changes occur, as exemplified by our recent collaborative work to define the function of a novel enzyme, FAMIN [Cader et al., Cell, 2020]. We have also studied the heterogeneity of disease in tissues using mass spectrometry imaging, including the development of fatty liver and tumour proliferation and death [Hall et al., Cancer Res, 2016; Hall et al., Hepatology, 2017, 2021]. We also develop bioinformatics tools for processing multivariate metabolomics data [Hall et al., Metabolomics, 2018, Liggi et al. Metabolomics, 2018, Ferrazza et al., Bioinformatics, 2017; Haug et al., Nucleic Acid Research, 2013].

Research Areas

Accepting PhDs

I am currently accepting PhDs in Nutrition and Health.

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

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Nutrition and Health

Accepting PhDs

Research Specialisms

  • Biochemistry
  • Cardiology
  • Diabetes
  • Metabolic Biochemistry
  • Nutrition

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

Developing and appliying techniques for high throughput metabolomics and lipidomics to understand chronic human disease.

Mass spectrometry imaging to underdstand how disease arises at the single cell level in terms of metabolism.

Genome scale reconstructions of metabolism.

Population level assessments of nutrition through metabolomics and lipidomics.

We have active projects in non-alcholic fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes, heart failure and Alzheimer's Disease.


  • Transcriptional, epigenetic and metabolic signatures in cardiometabolic syndrome defined by extreme phenotypes

    Abstract Background This work is aimed at improving the understanding of cardiometabolic syndrome pathophysiology and its relationship with thrombosis by generating a multi-omic disease signature. Methods/results We combined classic plasma biochemist...
  • Data from: Environmental chemicals change extracellular lipidome of mature human white adipocytes

    Supplementary information
    University of Aberdeen
  • Data From Assessment of left ventricular tissue mitochondrial bioenergetics in patients with stable coronary artery disease

    University of Aberdeen
  • Data from Mapping the human genetic architecture of COVID-19

    COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative
    University of Aberdeen

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Contributions to Journals

Working Papers