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Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health

Head: Prof Fares Haddad

The Institute brings together the various bodies doing sports and exercise-related research at UCL, which include the John Scales Centre for Biomedical Engineering, ASPIRE, the Institute of Human Performance, the Hatter Institute and many others. One of the aims is to integrate all their sports and exercise-related research to facilitate the use of limited funds. Our key partners in terms of sports-related work and research outside of UCL will be the universities of Warwick, Nottingham, Loughborough, Sheffield and Bristol and Bath.

Our Research

There will be a great deal of clinical work focusing on high-end outcomes in athletes and in sport as a whole. Many of our interventions, particularly drug-related and surgical interventions for injuries, have tended to accept a less than perfect outcome. We are now looking at systems for trying to return injuries back to normal function and having ways of recording and documenting that process.

Professor Hugh Montgomery and his team have been leading research on the genetics of bone physiology, and in particular of stress fractures in athletes. We have published on this and it is now being extended to the elite athletic population. We are looking at genetic polymorphisms to see if we can identify groups at risk of certain injuries and groups more suited to one sort of exercise/ sport or another. 

Another area of research is the clinical and imaging assessment of the young adult hip in sport. This is a key source of morbidity which was previously unrecognised. Young sportsmen and women start to damage their hips at a very young age and that groin pain which was previously ascribed to soft tissue problems is in fact a bony problem in the hip joint that later leads to osteoarthritis and a hip replacement. We now have good ways of imaging that and minimally invasive interventions that can deal with the problem and hopefully change the natural history for these people, not just getting them back to sport but also allowing them a longer lifespan without major hip surgery.

London 2012

Ashworth


A great deal of the research is focused on optimising our athletes for London 2012.

The Institute includes the British Olympic Medical Institute Science and Research Unit, which is based in the Rosenheim building. The Unit focuses on scientific activities aimed at improving the understanding of the effects of various training paradigms on human performance as well as developing innovative technical solutions, training methodologies and nutritional interventions in partnership with academic institutions, the home countries' home institutes and UK sport and Olympic sponsors.

The work of the Institute will focus partly on translating the current knowledge in sports and exercise medicine to the general public for public health benefit, but also on trying to deliver that extra 1% that makes a difference between gold medals and also-rans in elite sport/athletics. The whole idea is that exercise medicine is made available in the community to decrease risks of cardiovascular problems, diabetes and other problems.

External partners

The Institute has a number of external partners including the English Institute of Sport, the British Olympic Association, and it is also involved in looking after UK Athletics and professional rugby and football clubs, such as Saracens and Tottenham Hotspur.

Details of current research groups within the Institute are listed below:-

Research Group
Head
Email
Extreme environment Mick Grocott mike.grocott@ucl.ac.uk
British Olympic Medical Institute Labs Marco Cardinale marco.cardinale@boa.org.uk 
Surgical Optimisation Monty Mythen monty.mythen@uclh.nhs.uk
Orthopaedic Outcomes Group Fares Haddad fares.haddad@uclh.nhs.uk
Upper Limb Group Carlos Cobiella tbc
Imaging tbc tbc
Hip Deformity Johan Witt johan.witt@uclh.nhs.uk
Sports Education Peter Hamlyn tbc
Centre for Neuroscience in Sports Peter Hamlyn
tbc
Human Health & Performance
Hugh Montgomery
h.montgomery@ucl.ac.uk