The Science of Life: How your body works - Who can I ask for help?

Students taking part in The Science of Life: How your body works competition will be able to request the help of a mentor to guide them on the design and development of their project. This will be an active research scientist working in the field of physiology and we will aim to match each project with a mentor who has expertise in the area students are investigating. Details of mentors, along with the project areas they can mentor, are available further down this page.

I'm interested in being a mentor, how do I get involved?

We welcome scientists at any stage of their career (i.e. from PhD upwards) whose research contains a physiological element to participate as a mentor in this competition.

Further information about what this might involve, the benefits of being a mentor, and how to sign up is available here

Mentors

If students would like to request the help of a mentor in this list, they should email scienceoflife@physoc.org. It may not always be possible to pair students with the specific mentor they request, especially if the mentor is requested by several teams; however, in such cases, we will do our utmost best to put students in touch with the mentoring support they will need for their particular project.

Mark Dallas

University of Reading

ALLOCATED

I'm interested in understanding the function of non-neuronal cells within the brain. It's now evident that rather than bystanders, these highly specialised cells are vital to normal brain function. Indeed some disease states are characterised by changes in the function of these cells. Therefore by understanding their physiology, I hope to uncover novel therapies for complex neurological disorders.
Neuroscience
 

Lucy Green

University of Southampton

ALLOCATED

My scientific interests are in understanding the adaptive responses of the unborn baby's growth, muscle function and cardiovascular control in response to changes in nutrition (e.g. maternal obesity, undernutrition, poor vitamin D status). These responses may start out as a way to survive in a poor in utero environment or set up for life after birth, but they may also lead to longer-term problems in health.
Cardiovascular;
Musculoskeletal;
Diet and nutrition;
Development
 

Hannah Moir

Kingston University

ALLOCATED

My research interests are within exercise physiology, biochemistry and immunology. Areas include exercise recovery, rehabilitation techniques, glucose regulation, nutritional supplements, ergogenic aids, exercise-induced asthma, diabetes, obesity, inactivity, and novel physical activities.Cardiovascular;
Respiration;
Hydration;
Musculoskeletal;
Diet and nutrition;
Health;
Exercise
 

Fiona Randall

Eisai Ltd

ALLOCATED

I work in the pharmaceutical industry for Eisai Ltd - my department specialises in discovering new medicines for diseases of the brain including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. I am what is called 'an electrophysiologist'. Basically, I record electrical activity made by brain cells, look at how this activity changes when there is disease, and see if the new medicines we develop can reverse the changes.
Neuroscience
 

Thomas Suslak

University of Edinburgh

ALLOCATED

I'm interested in a process called 'mechanotransduction'. It's involved in all sorts of things, like how we hear, how we touch how we control movements and all sorts of other processes. I work with insects called fruit flies (or Drosophila). Although they are insects, their genes are very similar to ours so they are a simple model for trying to work out what's happening in our own bodies.
Neuroscience;
Computational Neuroscience/
Informatics
 

Keith Brain

University of Birmingham

ALLOCATED

I’m interested in the 'Autonomic Nervous System' - the set of neurones that control involuntary processes in our bodies. These include the regulation of heart rate, the diameter of blood vessels, the movement of the gut, the bladder, and reproductive organs. We're particularly interested in how drugs and medicines affect these neurones, how they fail (during disease like Parkinson’s disease and diabetes), and how this system keeps the body in homeostasis (‘balance’).
Cardiovascular;
Hydration;
Neuroscience
 

Keith Siew

University of Cambridge

ALLOCATED

I’m interested in how the kidneys control the amount of water and salt in the body, and how that in turn affects blood pressure. My current research focusses on a network of proteins that regulate salt transporters in the kidney, blood vessels and bone.
Hydration;
Cardiovascular;
Health
 

Andrew Powell

University of Birmingham

ALLOCATED

I'm interested in how the brain works in healthy animals and how this changes in particular disease states. My particular focus investigates how alterations in communication between neurons can produce diseases such as epilepsy, X-linked intellectual disability and prion diseases (such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and Mad cow disease).Neuroscience
 

Stuart Gray

University of Aberdeen

ALLOCATED

I have broad interests in human physiology ranging from how exercise and nutrition can be used to prevent or treat or improve the function of the immune system in athletes. One of my main interests is looking at how to optimise nutrition and exercise to maximise muscle mass and function in both young and elderly people.
Musculoskeletal;
Diet and nutrition;
Health

 

Dean Kavanagh

University of Birmingham

ALLOCATED

My work revolves around cell trafficking. Specifically, I look at how stem cells get to tissues and how they stay there. My research focusses on examining the molecular adhesive events involved in HSC/MSC recruitment to different vascular beds following injury, including the liver, gut, kidney and muscle.Cardiovascular
 

Jamie McPhee

Manchester Metropolitan University

My research looks at how the body functions during exercise and understanding how exercise keeps people healthy. For instance, why are some people good at sprinting and others good at long distance running?; what body adaptations occur after training for different types of exercises? and why do we get tired and slow down during exercise?
Musculoskeletal; Diet and nutrition; Health
 

Craig Williams

University of Exeter

ALLOCATED

My current research focusses on the human body's response to exercise, specifically related to children and adolescents. I've used a variety of methods to investigate this and to explain specific mechanisms like fatigue. My ongoing work includes respiratory, nutritional, thermoregulatory and muscle studies.
Cardiovascular;
Respiration;
Hydration;
Musculoskeletal;
Diet and nutrition;
Health
 

Prem Kumar

University of Birmingham

My interest is in how the body senses chemical changes in blood – from oxygen and carbon dioxide, to other non-gaseous molecules such as glucose and hormones – and how, once sensed, the body is able to produce an appropriate response in terms of reflex changes in autonomic function. This interest encompasses healthy responses such as how we breathe more in exercise to less healthy issues such as why snoring is bad for your heart.

Cardiovascular;
Respiration
 

Stephen Myers

University of Chichester

ALLOCATED

My main research interest is the response of humans to extreme environments, particularly hypoxia (the low availability of oxygen). This interest covers not only whole-body responses and adaptations but also what happens at the molecular level.  I’ve worked with cyclists, runners, triathletes and offshore sailors to improve their performance through advice on training and nutrition.
Cardiovascular;
Respiration;
Hydration;
Diet and nutrition;
Health
 

Natalia Lajczak

Royal college of Surgeons in Ireland

ALLOCATED

The research area I'm involved in focusses on investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the anti-inflammatory actions of bile acids on the epithelial and immune cells in the intestine. Ultimately, these studies will aid in the development of new drugs for treatment of intestinal diseases.
Diet and nutrition;
Gastroenterology
 

Mike White

University of Birmingham

ALLOCATED

My work has covered many aspects of human physiology including thermoregulation, muscle fatigue, disuse and the ageing process and latterly cardiovascular and respiratory control mechanisms during exercise in health and disease.

Cardiovascular; Respiration; Musculoskeletal
 

Christopher Keating

University of Hertfordshire

My research interests are focussed on studying the neural control of gastrointestinal function. Specifically, I wish to understand how processes such as ageing and inflammation affect the organisation and function of gastrointestinal sensory neural pathways, and how this impacts upon human health.
Cardiovascular;
Hydration;
Diet and nutrition;
Neuroscience;
Gastrointestinal
 

Louis Passfield

University of Kent

ALLOCATED

My research tends to have had a cycling and sports performance focus. I'm particularly interested in studying the best methods for training, and what factors determine endurance (e.g. how can some people keep going for hours, whilst others have to stop after only a few minutes).
Cardiovascular;
Respiration;
Hydration

Sam Marcora

University of Kent

ALLOCATED

My current research area is about the physiological and psychophysiological factors that limit physical performance. I'm also interested in the effects of sleep deprivation, caffeine, fatigue, and brain training on the human body.
Cardiovascular;
Musculoskeletal;
Diet and nutrition;
Neuroscience;
Exercise physiology;
Psychophysiology

Emmanuel Amabebe

University of Sheffield

I'm interested in metabolism, endocrinology and reproduction, with previous work on thirst perception, plasma osmolality, and sweating in males, young females and in menopause. Presently, I'm working on predicting pre-term births by elucidating changes in the vaginal microbiome and metabolite.
Hydration;
Health;
Reproduction

 

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