front image

Our research group is committed to pursue excellence in the field of sport, exercise and health sciences. Our portfolio of research is encompassed within a number of multidisciplinary research themes: including Neuromusculoskeletal Function through the Ages; Extreme Environments; Amputee Mobility; Performance and Well-Being; and Exercise Adherence and Health. Our group is supported by generous laboratory facilities and a team of highly dedicated technical staff. We work closely with "users" who act as active drivers of our research programmes. We collaborate with external clinical and industrial partners to conduct work which has impact on health, quality of life, and physical performance.

Research Themes
Neuromusculoskeletal Function through the Ages: This theme is associated with understanding the mechanisms of human movement and stabilisation, through investigation of the way the neuromuscular system generates and transmits forces to the skeleton, and the response of the musculoskeletal system to externally applied forces. These factors are investigated in the context of different populations (e.g. young adult athletes, older adults), pathologies (e.g. osteoporosis, injury), and interventions (e.g. strength training and dietary supplements).

Extreme Environments: Environmental extremes (e.g. altitude, high temperatures, low temperatures) place extra strain upon the human body and physical and cognitive performance is impaired in such conditions. With particular focus on temperature extremes we are investigating what limits human performance in such conditions.

Amputee Mobility: We are particularly interested in lower limb amputees and the development of effective and safe exercises to enable physical activity, and enhance movement patterns. The biomechanical findings are used to evaluate and inform prosthetic design and are being used by charities to enhance participation in exercise for this specialist population. 

Performance and Well-Being: High performance environments require individuals and teams to sustain maximal performance for extended periods of time. In order to comprehensively understand the psychology of performer(s) it is necessary to investigate the predictors and consequences of high performance. With this in mind, we are exploring a number of psychological processes that influence performance and well-being at the individual- and group-level. These include, but extend beyond, the coach-athlete relationship, basic psychological needs, self-efficacy beliefs, and group dynamics processes. These factors are investigated in the context of different populations (e.g., sport, organisational, military), interventions (e.g., attachment-based methods, mental imagery, video-based observation, biofeedback), and designs (e.g., cross-sectional, longitudinal, experimental).

Exercise Adherence and Health: Physical exercise is crucial to health promotion and disease prevention. However, many people are still inactive or do not adhere to exercise programmes. We examine health benefits of exercise (e.g., effects on stress regulation, sleep, mood) and correlates of exercise adherence in different exercise settings (e.g., exercise environment, trainer and group characteristics, barrier management) and try to provide support for exercise providers.

Laboratory Facilities
Biomechanics Laboratory: The laboratory is well equipped for a wide range of biomechanical assessments with equipment including: a nine-camera Vicon 3D motion capture system, three Kistler force plates, two isokinetic dynamometers, a range of accelerometers, electromagnetic tracking device, FASTRAK system, ultrasound bone scanner, acoustic emission measuring system, pressure plate, 2D video analysis, portable ultrasound and software associated with devices and analysis.
Physiology Laboratory: The lab is well equipped for a wide range of physiological experiments with equipment including: metabolic cart; environmental chamber; head, neck, and chest cooling systems; 16-channel wireless electromyography system; neuromuscular electrical stimulator; isometric strength testing devices; temperature logger and thermistors; various bike, running and rowing ergometers.
Sport and Exercise Psychology laboratories: We use the Biomechanics lab, the Physiology lab, and the labs located in the Department of Psychology (e.g., Cognition laboratory). We can use standalone and mobile eye-tracking systems, electroencephalography systems, transcranial magnetic stimulation systems, and functional magnetic resonance imaging technology. We also have access to a wide collection of psychometric inventories, with studies often taking place in real-life settings (i.e., prior to, during, and post-involvement in exercise/performance).

Doctoral Research
The department has a strong research environment and its high-calibre research staff are well qualified to mentor students to a successful PhD. They have a wide range of expertise and are engaged in collaborative work with researchers, both within the University and at other institutions and organisations, in the UK and abroad. Excellent research facilities, with well-equipped specialist labs and diverse fieldwork opportunities, make this a stimulating environment to work and study in.

There are a broad range of PhD opportunities available in each of the research centres, with a number of internally and externally funded PhD studentships. PhD students are an integral part of the department - attending regular research seminars and research centre meetings, engaging in teaching activities and giving conference presentations in both the UK and abroad. For more information on PhD opportunities in Life Sciences at the 'Top New University in London', please contact Dr Emma Skipper (attaching your CV) and see our graduate school page. We look forward to hearing from you.

PhD Opportunities in the Sport and Exercise Science Research Centre

Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship in Life Sciences opportunity