Our research

Our research

The Centre for Sport, Exercise and Life Sciences (CSELS) undertakes interdisciplinary scientific research through the application of sport, exercise and biological associated sciences to understand life from the molecular level through to the whole body.

Our research can be split into two broad areas; Integrative Bio-Science and Physical Activity, Sport and Exercise Sciences. Within these overarching research themes there are a number of research themes which are listed below:

  • Cell Signalling and Membrane Biology
  • Patient Safety and Diagnostics
  • Therapeutics and Disease Prevention
  • Bioscience and Biotechnology Engineering
  • Clinical and Bio-exercise Science
  • Physical Activity across the life course
  • Elite Human Performance
  • Environmental Human Performance

The research completed by the Centre can be split into two main areas, Integrative Bio-Science and Sport / Active Living. Several research clusters are grouped between these main areas.

Our research

Research within Cell Signalling & Membrane Biology theme includes the identification of intracellular targets of key signalling and transcriptional pathways in normal and pathological states. This includes revealing fundamental molecular mechanisms to provide novel insights into cellular processes and functions, cell communication, the development of organisms, their interaction with pathogens, and the molecular basis and pathophysiology of diseases. We apply multi-disciplinary approaches including molecular cell biology, cell and developmental biology, biochemical pharmacology, genetics/epigenetics, mathematical modelling & computational biology and systems biology.

This theme involves the innovative approaches to improve patient safety and develop more precise diagnostic tools, but also devises new ways to better support those making clinical decisions in order to improve and streamline the diagnostic pathways. Our research tackles challenges related to diagnosis and decision-making in primary and surgical care. Overall we develop, test and implement clinical diagnostic, therapeutic and complex behaviour change interventions to improve health and healthcare in the community and NHS settings.

This incorporates the work being done by Professor Helen Maddock in the area of Safety Pharmacology founder of the Coventry University Spin-out Company InoCardia Ltd.

This is a cross-cutting theme aimed at novel scientific and clinical approaches to support the development of modern-day therapeutics discovery and development and disease prevention. We have expertise in areas such as target selection and validation, lead molecule identification and optimisation and disease modelling.

This incorporates the work being done by Professor Mark Wheatley who has an international reputation for his research into the structure and function of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Professor Wheatley's lab aims to understand how GPCRs for peptide hormones work at the molecular level, which will aid rational drug design in the future. He has national and international collaborations with both academia and the pharmaceutical industry.

Our research in this area focusses on inventions or innovation within the Centre that drive radical change in the capabilities of a user or culture. Enabling technologies are characterized by rapid development of subsequent derivative technologies, often in diverse fields.

This incorporates the work being done by Dr Sebastien Farnaud on Bio-leaching.

This theme focusses investigating ways in which exercise can influence human biology, this includes research on dose-response relationships, exercise-drug/device interactions, exercise genomics, personalized medicine, disease and population specificity, and behavioural medicine all of which have the potential to offer potential for novel insights into health and disease.

Academics within this theme undertake research to understand physiological consequences of chronic debilitating diseases and subsequent utilisation of innovative exercise research to advance translational science and ultimately improvement to patient health.

This incorporates research undertaken by Dr Gordon McGregor

Research into Physical Activity and Exercise Interventions is led by Michael Duncan Professor of Sport and Exercise Science. Research within this theme focuses on the beneficial impact of physical activity and exercise on health and well-being. The research encompasses the whole life cycle from young children to older adults.

The activities in this theme draw upon the disciplines of exercise physiology, nutrition, exercise psychology, and biomechanics in order to better understand movement. A number of researchers have extensive experience working in and with schools and children on a variety of projects including: longitudinal monitoring of physical activity, obesity and body image in children; cross-sectional studies of lifestyle habits of adolescents and intervention studies using randomised controlled trial designs focused on school based projects to enhance fundamental movement skills. 

There is also a good foundation of work focused on understanding physical activity and function in adults aged 50 years and older. This includes work related to postural control, exercise and cognition, exercise interventions and cross-sectional monitoring of physical activity, function and health indices in adults over 50 years of age. 

Research into Sport and Human Performance is led by Dr Neil Clarke, Associate Professor and Course Leader in the School of Life Sciences. The aim of the research undertaken by this group is to understand and improve sporting performance. We address the issues of sport performance by using a range of academic disciplines investigating the effect of nutritional and physiological, biomechanical and psychological interventions on sporting and human performance, as well as monitoring the responses of elite athletes.

The environmental human performance group, led by Applied Human Physiologist Dr Doug Thake, is focused on developing new understanding of exposure to extreme circumstances on aspects of human physiological function and performance. Key research work includes understanding acute and chronic responses to altitude and heat cross-acclimation and cross-tolerance between these stressors. More recently we have led pre and post Antarctic expedition exercise studies on SPEAR17 and Exercise Ice Maiden in collaboration with University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) and the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

We have significant research experience in this field, including skills in brokering core scientific ideas to understand and define questions we have developed and provided real-life bespoke solutions for a range of clients. This has including NP aerospace, the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and the Youth Justice Board. Areas of this work have included the characterisation, evaluation and optimisation of human tolerance and performance whilst operating in personal protective clothing as well as developing vehicular based postural and thermal comfort systems and the evaluation restraint techniques.

The group is currently developing its operational capacity and expanding the portfolio of organisations, agencies and industrial partners it works with and supports.

Coventry University ranked 15 in the UK
Coventry University awarded TEF GOLD Teaching Excellence Framework
University of the year for student experience
QS Five Star Rating 2019
Coventry City of Culture 2021