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 areas there are a number of research themes which are listed below:

  • Physical Activity and Health
  • Disease Prevention, Therapeutics and Diagnostics
  • Clinical and Molecular Exercise Physiology
  • Cell Signalling and Membrane Biology
  • Sport and Human Performance
  • Bioscience and Biotechnology Engineering

Our research

Research into Physical Activity and Health is led by Michael Duncan Professor of Sport and Exercise Science.

This theme focuses on the beneficial impact of physical activity and exercise on health and well-being. Encompassing the whole life cycle from young children to older adults, we draw upon the disciplines of exercise physiology, nutrition, exercise psychology, and biomechanics in order to better understand movement.

We have extensive experience working 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.

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

Our team have also been responsible for the development, monitoring and evaluation of physical activity interventions, working with local authorities and public health specialists as demanded.

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 including; 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-proteincoupled receptors (GPCRs).

We explore innovative approaches to improve diagnostic tools, devising 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 theme focuses on investigating ways in which exercise can influence human biology. Our aim is to develop and deliver opportunities through globally significant interdisciplinary research and innovation excellence in clinical and molecular cardiovascular, lifestyle and exercise sciences in order to improve health across the life course.

Our research activities involve the investigation of doseresponse 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.

We 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 within this 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 and computational biology and systems biology.

Led by Applied Human Physiologist Dr Doug Thake,  research within this theme focuses
on advancing human performance, tolerance and safety in sports, recreation, educational, occupational and exploration settings.

We directly address sport performance through applying needs analysis techniques and using a range of nutritional, physiological, biomechanical and psychological interventions across the spectrum of recreational to elite athletes.

We have extensive experience of monitoring a multitude of performance and training responses, evaluating interventions, undertaking training studies and evaluating and developing sports equipment in collaboration with amateur and professional individual’s, sports clubs, governing bodies and industry.

Key research in the area of physiological and cognitive function and performance includes understanding acute and chronic responses to altitude and heat crossacclimation and cross-tolerance between these stressors. Our occupational work has focused on understanding and managing physiological and perceptual strain experienced when wearing in forms of heavy personal protective clothing through to comfort in automotive vehicles.

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).

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. As part of our Bio-innovative activities, we are developing methods in bioleaching technology for applications to tackle environmental issues and support the United Nation's Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This incorporates the work being done by Dr Sebastien Farnaud on bioleaching.

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