Human, Environmental & Exercise Physiology

Members of this Theme are interested in research on the metabolic responses to exercise and nutrition in both health and disease, from molecular mechanisms to ‘whole body’ studies. For instance, research into why muscles weaken and shrink as we age aims to help people maintain their vitality throughout life. Studying how the body responds to environmental changes, on the other hand, is relevant to life in different climates, or even in space.

Specialities in this Theme

CRACCardiovascular, respiratory & autonomic
CSCellular signalling
CPComparative physiology
GITGastrointestinal tract
HPHuman physiology
MCMuscle contraction
RPRenal physiology
RespRespiratory physiology
SMCSensorimotor control
SFSensory functions
SMSmooth muscle
SSPSomatosensory physiology

Theme Leads

Gladys Onambele-Pearson, Deputy Director Musculoskeletal Science, Manchester Metropolitan University

Human & Exercise physiology is a very dynamic area of research and practice. It links to clinical areas through sports medicine. It also leads our understanding of physical fitness and what factors govern it so that we can optimise habitual physical functioning and health through the lifespan.

The Human & Exercise physiologist acts as a key guide to lifelong vitality, training and sport performance enhancement. (S)he investigates and explains factors related to habitual physical behaviour (from sedentary behaviour to vigorous physical activity), as well as both acute and chronic exercise effects. At the clinical/sport medicine level, the Human & Exercise physiologist’s work feeds in from rehabilitation and relief from pain and discomfort, through to the treatment of many chronic health conditions. These include but are not limited to arthritis, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, osteoporosis, sarcopenia, muscular dystrophies etc.

It is this wide range of often directly applicable findings to the end-users that attracted me to the topic. I remain as enthusiastic about each system (whole body’s systems, tissues, and cells, determining subcellular, molecular, and chemical processes) as I ever was from the beginning of my research journey, more than 15 years ago.

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Kostas Tsintzas, Associate Professor of Human Physiology, University of Nottingham

I have been a Member of The Physiological Society since my PhD student days and have thoroughly enjoyed attending and presenting at the Annual Conferences and Satellite Symposia. I have been teaching and researching human, metabolic and exercise physiology for over 20 years, and with university physiology departments slowly disappearing in the UK, my involvement with the HEE Theme allows me to champion the importance of human physiology, interact with other Theme Leads and colleagues throughout the country, help out with the Theme activities at Annual Conferences, have input in the future direction of the Theme and be involved in planning and organising symposia and Topic Meetings. Co-organising the highly successful “Experimental Models of Physiology” conference in Exeter in 2018 was a particular highlight.

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