Professor in Bioinorganic Chemistry Keele University Honorary Professor, UHI Millennium Institute Group Leader - Bioinorganic Chemistry Laboratory at Keele.
A Biologist (University of Stirling) with a PhD in the ecotoxicology of aluminium (University of Stirling). His research career (1984-present) has focussed upon an intriguing paradox; 'how come the third most abundant element of the Earth's crust (aluminium) is non-essential and largely inimcal to life'. Investigating this mystery has required research in myriad fields from the basic inorganic chemistry of the reaction of aluminium and silicon to the potentially complex biological availability of aluminium in humans. He is also fascinated by the element silicon in relation to living things which, as the second most abundant element of the Earth's crust, is also almost devoid of biological function. One possible function of silicon is to keep aluminium out of biology (biota) and this forms a large part of the research in our group. He is also interested in biological silicification.
2018 - Ageing, aluminium and silicon-rich mineral waters.
Ageing is a major risk factor for a number of diseases and especially Alzheimer's disease. Indeed one might turn this around and suggest that Alzheimer's disease accelerates ageing. We have spent nearly 30 years investigating the role of human exposure to aluminium in Alzheimer's disease and we have recently drawn the conclusion that in the absence of aluminium in the brain Alzheimer's disease is not an inevitable consequence of ageing. To this end we have identified silicon as the natural antidote to aluminium toxicity and we have shown that regular drinking of a silicon rich mineral water helps to remove aluminium from the body. Silicon as an antidote for ageing?