Favourite Thing: I get to study the effect of exercise and nutrition on skeletal muscle adaptation, from gene/protein interactions in cells, all the way through to whole body adaptations in humans. Oh and using liquid nitrogen on a daily basis….
[School] Sir Frederick Osborne School, Welwyn Garden City, Herts (1991-1998); [Undergraduate University] University of Brighton (1999-2002); [Post-graduate University] University of Brighton (2002-2007)
11 GCSE’s, 4 A levels, BSc, PhD
PhD University of Brighton; Post-doc researcher, University of Dundee; Post-doc researcher, University of California Davis
Lecturer in Integrative Physiology
University of Birmingham
Me and my work
Lecturer in the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham
I teach molecular physiology to undergraduate and masters students. I am interested in how activity/inactivity, exercise and diet affect skeletal muscle function. My research is interested in studying how genes, proteins and enzymes respond to exercise and diet, and how this response changes the size and function of skeletal muscle. We apply this research to try and understand what makes skeletal muscle adapt, whether it be an athlete trying to improve performance, or an elderly individual trying to improve the quality of daily living. Skeletal muscle is vital for health span, and exercise/activity one of the key factors that maintains skeletal muscle function.
My Typical Day
Lecturing to undergraduate students, meetings, emails, supervising PhD students, meetings, emails, research in the lab, lecturing, meetings, emails, more emails…..
I like the fact that my typical day is a mixture of teaching and research. This means that i get to interact with numerous groups of people. I teach to students across our undergraduate degree, so this may be basic lectures about physiology (1st year), right through to discussing gene regulation in skeletal muscle (3rd year, MSc students). I enjoy teaching and trying to translate my research into a learnable product. It is enjoying seeing students progress and understand the challenges they face and how they tackle learning. My research excites me and allows me to discover things in the lab on a regular basis. Supervising PhD students is fantastic and allows me to mentor and develop their research skills.
What I'd do with the money
Equipment for use during outreach activities
We try as often as possible to run outreach activities where we can discuss our research with the general public. This means that i get to do interactive sessions with visiting secondary schools, information sessions in and around the university, in addition to national outreach events (i.e. British Science Festival). We are trying to work out how to get the population more active, no matter their background and interests, social status, finances. I would use the money to purchase equipment that can measure the activity in skeletal muscle, so that we can visually demonstrate and inform how daily activity (standing vs sitting, exercise of varying modes/intensities) can increase skeletal muscle health and function.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Dad, Husband, Happy
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Kings of Leon
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef
What did you want to be after you left school?
Strength and conditioning coach
Were you ever in trouble at school?
What was your favourite subject at school?
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
I work with people all over the world on exciting research projects
What or who inspired you to become a scientist?
University lecturers, interest in exercise physiology
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
PE teacher / firefighter
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Good health for my family, enough money to be happy, aston martin DB9
Tell us a joke.
Why are pirates called pirates? Because they arrrrrrrrrrrr.