Two researchers in a laboratory

Tissue Mechanics and Sports Nutrition

The Tissue Mechanics and Sports Nutrition theme aims to enhance the understanding of the function of biological tissues and the role of nutrition in promoting human health and performance.

Focus of our research

This research cluster brings together world leading complementary niche skills to investigate the mechanical function of biological tissue, regulatory cellular and molecular mechanisms important to tissue function, and their importance to whole body performance, health, and disease. Such work forms the basis for translational investigation for health promotion and for optimising human performance.

The group particularly focuses on understanding environmental, nutritional and disease stressors on the mechanical and physiological function of biological tissues and aim to examine interventions for promoting tissue health and optimising human performance that have practical applications in real world contexts.

Using a combination and in vitro and in vivo experimental techniques, the theme covers topics related to the following:

  • The effects of disease (e.g., obesity and ageing) and environmental stressors (e.g., temperature, anthropogenic impacts) on the function of biological tissues as a means for promoting tissue health across the life course
  • The effects of nutraceuticals and functional foods on tissue function in healthy and disease models for understanding benefits to human health and performance
  • The acute effects of nutritional supplements on tissue function and human performance

Key Researchers

Dr Jason Tallis

Theme Lead

Jason Tallis is an accomplished researcher, author and leader in my field of expertise which is using assessments of isolated skeletal muscle to examine skeletal muscle health in relation to disease. His short-term goal is to use my established model of skeletal muscle mechanics to examine therapeutic strategies to improve skeletal muscle health following the consumption of a high fat diet. His long-term goal is to use evidence from this work to inform clinical intervention strategies to improve skeletal muscle health for people with obesity.

Dr Neil D Clarke

Neil Clarke is an Associate Professor in Sport Science and the course director for the MSc in Sports and Exercise Nutrition. He is also an accredited BASES Sport and Exercise Scientist and holds Chartered Scientist status with the Science Council. He has over 15 years’ experience working with elite and recreational athletes, as well as commercial companies. His primary areas of expertise include sports nutrition, physiology and soccer / intermittent exercise, in which he has co-authored >70 peer-reviewed journal articles.

Dr Lucas Guimaraes Ferreira

Lucas Guimaraes Ferreira focusses on the interplay of nutrition, exercise, and skeletal muscle physiology, utilizing animal models and human studies. With a strong foundation in molecular biology and histology techniques, he has published research papers employing models of diabetes, muscular dystrophy, and obesity. He is driven by the objective of exploring innovative strategies to enhance form and function of skeletal muscle. His research involves sports performance optimization for athletes as well as studies on human health and conditions impacting muscle function, such as aging, obesity, and diabetes.

Dr Sharn Shelley

Sharn Shelley is an early career researcher, recently completing her PhD at Coventry University under the supervision of Dr. Jason Tallis and Prof. Rob James, who are at the forefront of research related to isolated skeletal muscle mechanics. The skills developed during her PhD, combined with industry experience post PhD, has enabled her to develop a unique skill set for examining the effects of disease and pharma/nutraceuticals on isolated skeletal and cardiac muscle contractile mechanics.

Dr Darren Richardson

Dr Darren Richardson's background is in utilising physical activity, and in particular, resistance exercise to positively influence functional performance in older adults. He is specifically interested in ways to promote healthy ageing through the use of both dietary and exercise interventions whilst monitoring affective responses in order to aid in exercise prescription that is both effective and sustainable for older adults.

Project spotlight


Project Name Project Information

Sex-Specific Effects of High Fat Diet Consumption on the Contractile Function of Isolated Skeletal Muscle

This project examines if the effects of high fat diet consumption on skeletal muscle health are sex-specific.

Can Resveratrol Overcome the Harmful Impact of Obesity on Skeletal Muscle Health?

This project examines the dose response effects dietary Resveratrol for preventing and treating the detrimental effects of high fat diet on skeletal muscle health.

The Effect of Plastic Nanoparticles on the Contractile Function of Isolated Skeletal Muscle

This project examines the dose response effect of plastic nanoparticles on skeletal muscle contractile function.

The Effect of Acute Capsaicin Treatment on Skeletal Muscle Function: From Cells to Human Performance

Animal and human studies have shown that ingestion of capsinoids result in improved sports performance and muscle function. This project examines whether these substances act directly on skeletal muscle to exert such effects, and the mechanisms of action involved are not yet completely clear.

Acute effects of Coffee on Functional Fitness and Balance in Older Adults

This project investigates the ingestion of coffee on functional performance; fall risk and the desire to exercise in apparently healthy older adults to provide novel insights into the potential effectiveness of acute coffee ingestion on fall risk and markers of healthy aging in older adults. 

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023