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The University of Southampton

Emeritus Professor Alan Jackson BA, MA, MB, BChir, MD, FRCP, FRCPCH, FRCPath, RNutr

Professor of Human Nutrition, Director, Institute of Human Nutrition,Director, NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre,Honorary Consultant Physician, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

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Dr Alan Jackson is Professor of Human Nutrition within Medicine at the University of Southampton.

Professor Alan Jackson was appointed to the first Chair in Human Nutrition in an undergraduate medical school in the UK in 1985. He trained in paediatrics before taking up a post caring for severely malnourished children and carrying out research to determine the adaptive mechanisms that come into play in that condition and need to be addressed for successful therapy. His work help determine the needs for energy, individual macronutrients and micronutrients which contributed directly to the development of the World Health Organization guidelines for the treatment and prevention of severe malnutrition. These underlying principles were applied to the care of malnourished hospitalised patients in the UK leading to the establishment of effective nutrition support teams and eventually the recognition of intestinal failure as a condition requiring fundamental capability in nutritional care. He established the Institute of Human Nutrition and structured training in nutrition for undergraduate and postgraduate health professionals. He was the foundation Chair of the government body for risk assessment, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition. Currently he is Director of NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre for Nutrition. His research has covered all aspects of human nutrition, with a strong focus on the use of stable isotopes to determine body composition and functional capability at the level of individual tissues and the whole body. For many years, he collaborated closely with David Barker to lay the nutritional foundations and molecular basis of the early life origins of adult disease. He was instrumental in the formation of the Intercollegiate Group in Nutrition, now the Academy Nutrition Group of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. He was the foundation President and Chair of the Association for Nutrition, the modern regulatory body for the nutrition profession which accredits training, holds a register and has as its primary objective protection of the public.



Appointments held

Professor of Human Nutrition
Director, National Institutes for Health Research Southampton Biomedical Centre for Nutrition.

Research interests

Over the past thirty years the nutrition research programme in Southampton has established a high profile capability to deliver excellent research of immediate relevance for clinical care, planning and the development of policy in the medium to longer term. Within the Institute of Human Nutrition the capability for high quality fundamental research was established. This embraced nutrition in the molecular, cellular and basic sciences; clinical investigation and nutritional support; and the study of food, diet and nutrition in populations.

The National Institute of Health Research Southampton Biomedical Research Centre delivers a programme of translational research in nutrition the objective of which is to reduce the burden of ill-health caused by poor diets and their interaction with disease in patients and populations. We now have a clear understanding of what should be done to reduce the very high global burden of ill-health manifest as starvation, undernutrition and associated complications as a consequence of the complex interaction with infection, inflammation and clinical disease. We now have a better appreciation of how overweight and obesity cause chronic non-communicable diseases which are increasingly the major causes of ill health and reduced life expectancy in all countries across the globe. The challenge in tackling and reducing this double burden of disease, to better enable healthy growth and development from very early in life is substantial, but achievable. There are important early life opportunities for preventative and therapeutic interventions, and alongside novel nutritional and lifestyle interventions and treatments in adulthood, it is possible to promote healthy development, healthy and productive adulthood and ageing. In moving towards achieving these objectives, our research and its application informs an integrated life-course approach to reduce the burden of disease and ill-health in all patients and populations. This is applied within and across the two main research areas: Nutrition, growth and development; Nutrition, lifestyle and healthy ageing.

Our specific research projects build on our underlying capability in four overarching themes across the research portfolio: nutritional diagnosis, epigenetics, clinical nutrition care and behaviour change and education. This underlying infrastructure and capability is enabled and strengthened within the Southampton Centre for Biomedical Research, enabling cross-project development, specifically:

  • assessment of diet and physical activity
  • assessment of body composition,
  • development and utilisation of biomarkers of nutritional status,
  • bioinformatics, data handling and knowledge management,
  • assessment of immune/inflammatory state,
  • epigenetics and genetic analysis,
  • diagnostics and devices.

Together these capabilities extend and refine the ability to make a nutritional diagnosis in individuals and populations, both to support and attract additional nutrition-related projects enabled by the availability of the infrastructure. In collaboration with the wider NIHR research network we are enthusiastic to grow research capacity in nutrition, diet and lifestyle locally, nationally and internationally, and especially to forge new links with suitable industry partners.


Human Development and Health

Training at Masters level is provided in Public Health Nutrition. Specialist clinical training to Masters level is offered as short courses within the Foundation Course in Clinical Nutrition for the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Nutrition Support for the Seriously Ill. Research and professional training is available in all aspects of human nutrition across the basic nutritional sciences, clinical nutrition and population nutrition.

 Basic principles of human nutrition as related to clinical practice and public health.
Metabolic adaptation in relation to metabolic capacity and clinical care.
Nutrition in healthy growth and development, maternal and child health.
Nutrition in clinical care and nutrition support.
Evidence for nutrition in policy and population health.

Emeritus Professor Alan Jackson
Tel: +44 (0) 238 8120 6317 Email:

Room Number: SGH/LE123/MP113

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