Professor Peter McLennan

Professor of Physiology
Academic Leader: Medical Sciences

Professor Peter McLennan was appointed to Graduate Medicine in February 2006. His academic experience includes teaching and facilitating the learning of students of medicine, pharmacy, medical science, exercise science and rehabilitation and nutrition as well as supervising and mentoring undergraduate and postgraduate research students. He brings an interdisciplinary approach to his teaching and research, integrating key aspects of biochemistry, pharmacology, nutrition and pathophysiology to illustrate and understand physiological principles.

Peter graduated from Monash University in 1977 with first class honours in pharmacology and completed his PhD in pharmacology from Monash University in 1981. In 1982 he was awarded a CSIRO Position of Excellence to join the Division of Human Nutrition in Adelaide as a Research Scientist. He remained in full time research with CSIRO for 15 years, leaving in 1997 as a Principal Research Scientist when he was appointed as Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Science at the University of Wollongong teaching cardiovascular physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology. Whilst a full-time academic teacher at Wollongong he was also foundation Director of Research, then centre Director of the Smart Foods Centre at the University of Wollongong during its term as an ARC Key Centre for Teaching and Research between 1999 and 2004. The Smart Foods Key Centre was a unique facility in Australia, and played major role in facilitating nutrition research and training within the food industry.

He has an academic career that commenced in 1979 at Monash University, Department of Pharmacology, followed by two years at the Victorian College of Pharmacy, School of Pharmacology. During 15 years with CSIRO Division of Human Nutrition he continued to participate as an adjunct lecturer and research student supervisor with the Departments of Physiology and Pharmacology at the University of Adelaide. His teaching focuses on evidence based demonstration of basic principles with a commitment to small group teaching and practical innovation.

Peter has over 20 years of research experience in nutritional physiology and pharmacology. His research has focussed on the physiological and pharmacological consequences of altering cell membrane composition through dietary fats and in particular on the cardiovascular protective effects of fish oil omega-3 fatty acids through their incorporation into heart muscle membrane and prevention of cardiac arrhythmia. His research was pivotal in identifying the role of omega-3 fatty acids from fish for preventing sudden heart-attack death by inhibiting fatal heart rhythm disturbances. He has published widely in journals of medicine, physiology, pharmacology, and nutrition with highly cited papers in each of those discipline areas demonstrating the interdisciplinary reach of his research. He has many invitations to speak at international conferences and expert workshops around the world as well as to professional and public forums in Australia. He holds research grants in both basic and clinical research. His current research aims to elucidate mechanisms of action of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants in the diet and to extend research findings from animal models into human evaluation and application, including nutritional prevention and treatment of heart failure associated with chronic hypertension and diabetes and muscle fatigue associated with cardiac disorders and ageing.

Searchable select RIS publications from 2000 to date

Email addresses are in the form

Email Alias:
Phone: +61 2 4221 4183
Fax: +61 2 4221 4341
Office: B28.122
Last reviewed: 24 August, 2017