Professor John Beattie

Professor John Beattie
Professor John Beattie
Professor John Beattie

Emeritus Professor



Professor John Beattie has 45 years of research experience in areas including metal toxicology, copper absorption and metabolism and zinc nutrition. He has studied the influence of essential dietary metals on protein biochemistry and gene expression, applying technical innovations to address challenging nutritional questions. He has investigated the structural and functional diversity of the metal-binding protein metallothionein (MT) and published a widely-cited 1990 review with Prof. Ian Bremner on MT1. Using early high resolution LC-MS instrumentation, he demonstrated the structural heterogeneity of MT and discovered a key role for these proteins in brown adipose tissue thermoregulation and in their secretion from white adipose tissue. The secretory role of adipose tissue was described in a well-cited, review with Prof. Paul Trayhurn2. The role of MT in energy metabolism was indicated in a publication by Prof. Beattie and colleagues3. The latter half of his career was devoted to the study of zinc nutrition in relation to cardiovascular health. He used a mouse model of atherosclerosis to show that zinc deficiency can promote atherogenesis and in collaboration with Prof. Graeme Nixon, demonstrated that marginal zinc deficiency promotes apoptosis in arterial smooth muscle cells4. Prof. Beattie’s cell studies demonstrated the presence of a low molecular weight humoral factor produced in response to zinc deficiency that had a substantial impact on smooth muscle gene expression5. Human volunteer studies to investigate the presence of this factor in the blood of zinc-deficient human volunteers has been completed. Prof. Beattie has over 100 peer-reviewed research publications.

  1. Bremner I, Beattie JH. Annu. Rev. Nutr., 1990, 10:63-83.
  2. Trayhurn P, Beattie JH. Proc Nutr Soc. 2001, 60:329-39.
  3. Beattie JH, et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A. 1998, 95:358-63.
  4. Allen-Redpath, et al. Cardiovasc Res. 2013, 99(3):525-34.
  5. Ou O et al., FASEB J. 2013, 27:3672-82.

Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships

Former head of the micronutrient group

External Memberships

Secretary and Treasurer of the international symposium "Trace Elements in Man and Animals (TEMA)"