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Back to Symposium 2012

John R. Speakman, DSc

University of Aberdeen, Scotland

John Speakman received his PhD in animal physiology at the University of Stirling, Scotland in 1984 and immediately afterwards came to the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, first as a postdoctoral research fellow in 1985, and then successively as a lecturer, senior lecturer, reader and ultimately a personal chair in 1997. He was awarded a DSc by the University of Aberdeen in 1997 and a DSc by the University of Stirling in 2009. Since 2002, he has been an honorary clinical research professor at NHS Grampian. Between November 2007 and September 2011, he was director of the Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences. In September 2011 he was appointed to a ‘1000 talents’ professorship at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology in Beijing where he now lives nine months of the year, while still maintaining his research group in Aberdeen.

His research concerns the causes and consequences of inter-individual variation in energy expenditure. This work includes the consequences of variation in energy demands for fat storage and the linkage between energy demands and ageing, and provides a background to understanding the physiological basis of animal and human responses to energy imbalance including obesity and caloric restriction. Professor Speakman is a recognised international authority in the use of stable isotope methodologies to study energy expenditure (in particular the doubly-labelled water method).

He has published more than 350 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and served on numerous advisory boards including the Data Safety and Monitoring Board (CALERIE project – the first randomized controlled trial for calorie restriction) of the National Institutes of Health. He is on the editorial boards of Science, IUBM Life, Journal of Comparative Physiology and Biology Letters and is deputy editor in chief at Biology Open. He was a director on the board of the Company of Biologists between 2005 and 2011. He has been awarded several international prizes including the Zoological Society of London scientific medal, the Royal Society of Edinburgh/Saltire Society Scottish Science Medal, the Kwarazmi International festival Guest of Honor, the Chinese Academy of Sciences Bing Zhi Forum International Professorship and a CAS-Novo Nordisk Great Wall Professorship. In 2004 he was elected fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (the National Academy of Scotland); in 2008, Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and, in 2011, elected to the Academy of Europe (Academia europaea).

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