UCL Division of Medicine


Human Health and Performance

The UCL Centre for Human Health and Performance comprises a mix of clinician-academic and pure basic scientists. Our mission is to explore human physiology and pathophysiology, using the studies of one to inform the other.

Our work

In the past, we have: 

  • Identified the first genes influencing human physical performance.
  • Identified the first genes influencing human cardiac growth.
  • Explored the human response to low oxygen supply (hypoxia), using:
    • (i) gene-environment interaction studies (cohorts taken to high altitude)
    • (ii) mathematical models of mitochondrial function
    • (iii) population genetic approaches (e.g. Tibetans and Sherpas vs Han Chinese and lowland Caucasians)
    • (iv) taking >200 people to 5000m (Everest region), and 9 to the summit, to study their responses.
  • Determined the process of muscle wasting in ICU patients.
  • Co-created artificial intelligence systems to diagnose eye disease, and predict the in-hospital decline.
  • Co-delivered reports on health and climate change (The Lancet Commissions, and Countdowns).

Current work includes working with others to:

  • Use Artificial Intelligence systems to diagnose cognitive disease using retinal images (AltzEye)
  • Seek the causes of, and treatments for, Long Covid
  • Support the development of a new integrated lung function measurement device
  • Assess the contribution of Hb-mass and plasma volume to anaemia in dialysis and ICU patients
  • Define the physiology of non-freezing cold injury
  • Determine the role of maintaining electrolyte (K+ and Mg++) levels in preventing post-op AF
  • Determine what a normal skin microbiome is, and its physiological functions. 
  • Assess the biology of ketones, with a special emphasis on neuroprotection.

Professor Montgomery also has a strong interest in human health and climate change and co-directs the Wellcome Trust-funded Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change. Additionally, he founded 'Real Zero' in October 2023, to drive on climate change. 

Key research collaborators

  • Professor Mike Grocott (UCL and Southampton)
  • Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri (Ireland)
  • Dr Andrew Murray (Cambridge)
  • Dr Zudin Puthucheary (QMUL)
  • Dr Ronan Astin (UCL)

Climate change key collaborators

  • Professor Peng Gong (China)
  • Professor Anthony Costello
  • Professor Paul Ekins
  • Professor Tadj Oreszczyn

The Montgomery Lab, Leads

Hugh Mongomery portrait

Prof. Hugh Montgomery
Chair, Intensive Care Medicine

Sampath Weerakkody portrait

Dr Sampath Weerakkody
Research Fellow

Selected publications 

  1. Maselkar S, Kiazand A, Montgomery H, et al. (2023) Cardiac and vascular serious adverse events following tixagevimab-cilgavimab. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, 11 (1). 
  2. Wright J, Massey H, Montgomery H, et al. (2023) Peripheral sensory function in non-freezing cold injury patients and matched controls. Experimental Physiology, 108 (3), 438-447. 
  3. Eglin CM, Wright J, Montgomery H, et al. (2023) Plasma biomarkers of endothelial function, inflammation and oxidative stress in individuals with non-freezing cold injury. Experimental Physiology, 108 (3), 448-464.
  4. Eglin CM, Wright J, Maley MJ, Hollis S, Massey H, Montgomery H, & Tipton MJ (2023). The peripheral vascular responses in non-freezing cold injury and matched controls. Experimental Physiology, 108, 420-437.
  5. Costello A, Romanello M, Montgomery H, et al. (2023) Climate change threatens our health and survival within decades. The Lancet, 400 (10325), 665-676.
  6. Wagner SK, Hughes F, Montgomery H, et al. (2022) AlzEye: longitudinal record-level linkage of ophthalmic imaging and hospital admissions of 353 157 patients in London, UK. BMJ Open, 12 (3).
  7. Cano-Gamez E, Burnham KL, Montgomery H, et al. (2022) An immune dysfunction score for stratification of patients with acute infection based on whole-blood gene expression. Sci Transl Med, 14 (669).
  8. Tipton M, Montgomery H. (2022). Climate change, healthy ageing and the health crisis: is wisdom the link? Exp Physiol. 2022 Nov;107(11):1209-1211. Epub 2022 Sep 8.
  1. Flower L, McNelly A, Montgomery H, Puthcheary Z, et al. (2022) Effect of intermittent or continuous feeding and amino acid concentration on urea-to-creatinine ratio in critical illness. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 
  2. Montgomery H, Hobbs R, et al. (2022) Efficacy and safety of intramuscular administration of tixagevimab-cilgavimab for early outpatient treatment of COVID-19 (TACKLE): a phase 3, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet Respir Med. 
  3. Hendriks SL, Montgomery H, Benton T, et al. (2022) Global environmental climate change, covid-19, and conflict threaten food security and nutrition. BMJ
  4. Campbell NG, Allen E, Montgomery H, Aron J, Canter RR, Dodd M, ...O'Brien B. (2022). Maintenance of Serum Potassium Levels ≥3.6 mEq/L Versus ≥4.5 mEq/L After Isolated Elective Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting and the Incidence of New-Onset Atrial Fibrillation: Pilot and Feasibility Study Results. Journal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia.
  5. Bhandari S, Dolma P, Mukerji M, Prasher B, Montgomery H, Kular D ... Bhattacharyaa A. (2022). Population history and genome wide association studies of birth weight in a native high altitude Ladakhi population. PLoS One, 17 (9).
  6. Chhetri I, Hunt JEA, Mendis JR, ... Puthcheary Z, Montgomery H, Creagh-Brown BC. (2022). Safety and Feasibility Assessment of Repetitive Vascular Occlusion Stimulus (RVOS) Application to Multi-Organ Failure Critically Ill Patients: A Pilot Randomised Controlled Trial. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 11 (14).
  7. Ramasawmy M, Mu Y, Clutterbuck D, Pantelic M, Lip GYH, van der Feltz-Cornelis C, Wootton D, Williams NH, Montgomery H, et al. (2022). STIMULATE-ICP-CAREINEQUAL (Symptoms, Trajectory, Inequalities and Management: Understanding Long-COVID to Address and Transform Existing Integrated Care Pathways) study protocol: Defining usual care and examining inequalities in Long Covid support. PLoS One, 17 (8).

Related programmes 

The Centre for Human Health and Performance runs an active PhD programme and is willing to hear from prospective students at any time. Students should have at least an upper second-class degree. For details contact Hugh Montgomery at h.montgomery@ucl.ac.uk.


The UCL Centre for Human Health and Performance works to help save and improve lives. Through the study of healthy people, the mechanisms of disease can also be identified and new treatments found. For example:

  • Studying heart growth in soldiers tells us how hearts grow abnormally in cases of high blood pressure. 
  • Studying improvements in metabolism with exercise has told us how metabolism becomes inefficient in cancer (leading to trials with a new drug to prevent wasting). 
  • Studies of climbers facing low oxygen levels on Everest tell us how patients with lung disease or in intensive care can be helped to survive their own low oxygen levels.

Your donations to our work are very well received. Thank you!

Contact Details


Postal & Visiting Address 
UCL Centre for Human Health and Performance 1st Floor,
Institute for Sport, Exercise and Health 
170 Tottenham Court Road