Paul Haggarty, Deputy Director


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    1994 …2021

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    Personal profile

    Research Profile

    Professor Haggarty is Deputy Director of the University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health. He has over 30 years’ research experience in the field of nutrition and human health and has collaborated with many groups in the UK and internationally. He has worked in low and middle income countries such as India and Mexico on nutritional metabolism, dietary requirements, and the impact of disease on these. He was a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar (Cornell University, USA).

    He is a member of the UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) which advises Public Health England and other UK government organisations on nutrition and related health matters affecting the UK population ( He Chairs the SACN Working Group on Saturated Fats and is a member of the SACN Working Groups on Folic Acid and Nutrition and Cognitive Impairment. He is a member of the UK BBSRC Bioscience for Health Strategy Panel and contributes to an ESRC/BBSRC cross council initiative designed to bring together the social and biological sciences in the area of epigenetics. He was a member of the EU Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life Nutrition and Cognitive Function and Biomarker Assessment Panels.

    He also served on the Scientific Advisory Board of Breast Cancer Campaign, the UK Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP), and the Swedish Medical Research Council international Evaluation Panel on Ageing and Health. He is interested in bringing together diverse disciplines in novel ways and he co-organised a Rank Prize Fund Meeting on Unravelling Common Epigenetic Processes Affecting Crop Quality and Human Development.

    He teaches a wide range of under- and post-graduate courses and was a member of the commissioning panel for ESRC/BBSRC Biosocial Centres for Doctoral Training in 2016.


    Current responsibilities include:

    • Deputy Director for Research

    • Head of Analytical Services

    • Member of Institute Executive Committee and Senior Management Group

    • Member of School Research Policy Committee

    • Member of University Research Policy Committee

    • Institute REF/Impact Lead

    • Member of College ‘Intention to Submit’ Panel

    • Work-package Manager on multi-disciplinary RESAS funded programme

    • Personal research programme on Lifelong Health.


    Research Overview:

    Professor Haggarty's research is concerned with the dietary and social determinants of physical and mental ageing, the importance of early life events, and the individual variation in response to diet. His current work is focused on epigenetics and nutritional metabolism, primarily using large human cohorts, with a particular interest in inequalities, reproduction and intergenerational effects, and the consequences for physical health and cognition in later life.

    Current projects include investigations on:

    • the importance of early life nutrition and intergenerational effects, particularly in relation to epigenetics, and the consequences for growth, health and  cognitive ability

    • the role of ethnicity and life-history in determining dietary needs, and the response to diet

    • epigenetic mechanisms in health and diseases such as breast cancer

    • inequalities and the interaction between social and biological factors

    • the development of simplified approaches to assessing nutrient intake and nutritional status

    His research is funded by government, ESRC/BBSRC, and medical charities.

    Teaching Responsibilities:

    Teaching and student supervision

    Professor Haggarty has over 20 years’ experience teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the life sciences and nutrition and currently teaches on a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses at University of Aberdeen including:

    • Public Health Nutrition MSc (PU5504)

    • Human Nutrition MSc (MT5401)

    • Genes and evolution BSc (BI2002)

    • Reproductive Biology BSc (DB3502)

    • Advanced Molecular and Functional Genomics MSc (MB5016)

    • Molecular Nutrition MSc (MT5511)

    • Genetics - Complex Disease MSc (MB5515)

    • University of Aberdeen Annual International Summer School Advanced Course in Dietary Assessment Methods (

    • Nutrition and Wellbeing Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) (

    Other Interests:

    Membership of committees and panels              

    • Member of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Bioscience for Health Strategy Advisory Panel (from 2016).

    • Chair of UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) working group on UK dietary fat recommendations (from 2015).

    • Member of UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) (2006-present).

    • Member of Commissioning Panel for ESRC/BBSRC Biosocial Centres for Doctoral Training (2016).

    • Chair of EU Joint Programming Initiative “A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life (JPI HDHL): Biomarkers” Panel (Bonn and Brussels 2016)

    • Member of EU Joint Programming Initiative Evaluation Panel: “A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life (JPI HDHL); Transnational Research on Nutrition and Cognitive Function (Vienna 2015).

    • Member of UK Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) (2008-2012).

    • Chair of “Food and Obesity” session at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh Symposium on Obesity – a 21st Century Epidemic (2015).

    • Member of the UK Department of Health Commissioning Panel for Iodine and Health, Department of Health, (London 2014).

    • Member of the Swedish Research Council Ageing and Health Assessment Panel (Stockholm 2013).

    • Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Breast Cancer Campaign (2012- 2013).

    • Member of SACN Working Group on Approaches to the Nutritional Assessment of Novel Foods (ANANF) (2008-present).

    • Member of North of Scotland NHS Research Ethics Committee (2004-2011).

    • Member of British Nutrition Foundation Task Force on Nutrition and development: long and short term consequences for health (2009-2011).

    • Chair of residential Rank Prize Fund Meeting on Unravelling Common Epigenetic Processes Affecting Crop Quality and Human Development (2009).

    • Member of SACN working group on Folate and Disease Prevention (2006-2008).

    • Member of SACN working group on Folate and Cancer (2008-2009).

    • Member of Scottish Government short life working group on vitamin D (2008-2009).

    • Member of the European Placental Group International Organizing Committee (1999-2001).

    • Member of European Medical Research Council Working Group on Stable Isotopes and Human Nutrition (1992-1994).

    • Member of International Atomic Energy Agency Research Co-ordination Programme on the use of Stable Isotopes in the Study of Human Nutrition (1989-1993).


      Editorial Responsibilities

      Population Epigenetics, eds. P. Haggarty & K. Harrison, in Methods in Molecular Biology, Springer Science, New York 2015 DOI 10.1007/7651_2015_259 (2016)

      Nutrition in Epigenetics, eds. M Niculescu & P. Haggarty, Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Group (2011).

    Grants & Awards

    • Action on Stunting Hub (Haggarty, Walker, et al). MRC/UKRI GCRF (£1,284,000; 2019 – 2024; Total value of award £20m).
    • Unlocking the Joint Morphogenetic Code in Mesenchymal Stem Cells from Human Synovium (De Bari, Roelofs, Fowler, Haggarty). Arthritis Research UK (£328,000; 2018 - 2021)
    • Nutrition, Epigenetics and Health. Scottish Government Core Funding (approximately £500,000; 2016 - 2021).
    • Imprinting methylation; early life influences and later cognition and mood (Haggarty, Murray, Phillips, Staff, Hocking, Ferguson-Smith, Richards). ESRC/BBSRC (£447,000; 2015 - 2019).

    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


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