Professor Peter Morgan

Professor Peter Morgan


Professor Peter Morgan
Professor Peter Morgan

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 438642
The University of Aberdeen The Rowett Institute
University of Aberdeen,
Aberdeen AB25 2ZD
Web Links



Research Interests

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.

Research 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)

Further Info

External Responsibilities

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-)


Strategic Role

Director of Rowett  - Roles, Responsibilities and Impact 

  • Director of Rowett Institute since 1999, responsible for developing and implementing research direction and strategy. This has involved substantial re-direction and diversification of research over that time.


  • Responsible for funding received from Scottish Government and delivery of research as part of the Strategic Research Programme. The Rowett receives £8 million per annum for projects relating nutrition and health.


  • Responsible for the initiation, negotiation and delivery of merger with University of Aberdeen in 2008.


  • Initiation, planning and development of a new Rowett Institute building on University of Aberdeen Medical School campus, opening in January 2016


  • As leader of largest nutrition research Institute in the UK, have been significantly involved in shaping the direction of UK nutrition research, through membership of Research Council strategic committees and other advisory committees


  • Ambassador for the Rowett Institute and the University of Aberdeen