University of Aberdeen

University of Aberdeen

RINH logoLead contact: Professor Julian Mercer


The Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health (RINH) is part of the College of Life Sciences and Medicine at the University of Aberdeen. The obesity and metabolic health research group at the RINH comprises around 40 scientists, 13 of whom are Principal Investigators, and has a 'molecules to man' approach to the study of the effect of diet on obesity and metabolic health. RINH has a Human Nutrition Unit equipped for blood sampling, infusion, energetics (calorimetry, DLW etc), body composition (Bod Pod, DEXA etc), and feeding/dietary selection trials. It has a metabolic kitchen with experienced staff used to catering for studies ranging from long-term residential to single visit breakfast or buffet meal interventions. The Genomics Unit (established by Dr. Barrett) contains sequencing, RTPCR, microarray, laser capture microdissection, and in situ hybridization facilities.

Other team members are based in the University Biomedical Imaging Centre and have expertise in fMRI scanning ( This Centre has a long history of conducting neuroimaging research in both children (through research on autism) and the elderly (focus on Alzheimers Disease).

RINH is the coordinating Centre for the project:

Project Manager: Dr Gabi Wagner

Short profile of the staff members who will be undertaking the work:


Gabi Wagner, Julian Mercer and Sue Bird

Prof Julian G Mercer is the Head of the Division of Obesity and Metabolic Health at the RINH, with 30 years of research experience, including 20 years of project management in obesity and body weight research. A member of the RINH Executive, he is author of >100 original research publications. Current research interest in diet-induced obesity, dietary choices and brain energy balance/reward circuitry.

Dr Perry Barrett is a Molecular Biologist, and the Leader of the Molecular Endocrinology Group. He has extensive experience of applying molecular techniques to the elucidation of mechanisms underlying feeding behaviour and body weight regulation, and to the discovery of novel CNS regulatory structures and molecular pathways.

Dr Alexandra M Johnstone is a Human Nutritionist, in the Metabolic Health Group, and has extensive experience of a range of human intervention trials assessing appetite, satiety, dietary preference, weight loss and metabolic health.

Dr Sue Bird has a background in nutrition research, but for over 20 years has worked in communications for a range of organisations including industry, levy boards and research institutes. She is a member of the University of Aberdeen communications team, with special responsibility for stakeholder relations for the Scottish Government-funded research programme at RINH. Sue is leading the dissemination workpackage for the Project.

Dr Gabi Wagner is a Neurobiologist with a special interest in biological timing and has worked for the University of Aberdeen since 2004. For over 20 years she has been communicating science and has over 10 years of research and teaching experience. Gabi will be a central point of contact for all partners in the FULL4HEALTH project and will help to implement the work plan on the basis of the project goals.

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