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UCL Division of Surgery and Interventional Science

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Sport and Exercise Medicine

As the principal sports medicine Olympic legacy project in London, we translate research on elite athletes into health benefits for the general public. We have sports medicine and population health expertise, plus leading imaging, laboratory, and clinical facilities housed at the Institute of Sport, Exercise & Health.

Our work

Physical activity and health

We investigate the importance of physically active lifestyles in preventing major chronic diseases. In work led by Professor Mark Hamer, we use data to understand how much physical activity is needed to prevent illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Professor Mike Loosemore conducts research into sedentary behaviour and how we can design interventions to incorporate more movement into daily lives.

We engage with cohort studies, including UCL Centre Longitudinal Studies, the Whitehall II Study, and English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.

Our ongoing projects include:

  • Compiling international cohort studies that use wearable technology to measure physical activity, sedentary and sleep [propassconsortium.org].
  • Evaluating the impact of group exercise on activity levels in people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in central London.
  • Examining links between exercise and neurocognitive function.

Musculoskeletal

We investigate pathologies around the lower limb, especially the knee and hip. This is led by Professor Fares Haddad. We research the effects on functional outcomes and lifestyle after interventions such as hip replacement. We have devised several unique techniques and scores to evaluate this in detail.

Our research themes include: 

  • Meniscal preservation and replacement.
  • Optimal imaging for knee injuries.
  • The natural history of meniscal and cruciate injuries.
  • Tendinopathy, where we have created a ‘think tank’ of experts to understand the natural history, diagnosis, and optimum management of the condition.

Sports medicine

Our work supports the health and wellbeing of athletes. We are one of just eleven research centres from across the world designated as an International Olympic Committee (IOC) Research Centre for Prevention of Injury and Protection of Athlete Health.

Our focus areas are:

  • Respiratory illness in elite athletes.
  • Concussion: developing an office tool for concussion to be used in clinic.
  • Oral health and performance (in collaboration with Eastman Dental Institute).

Our facilities

The research facilities include imaging, laboratory, and clinical facilities housed at the Institute of Sport, Exercise & Health. The exercise physiology labs based on Tottenham Court Road are equipped to assess a wide range of performance parameters covering the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems. The institute also houses a fully-equipped gym for controlled exercise training studies.

The Sport and Exercise Medicine Group

Professor Mark Hamer

Prof. Mark Hamer

Professor Mike Loosemore

Prof. Mike Loosemore

Professor Fares Haddad

Prof. Fares Haddad

Professor Courtney Kipps

Prof. Courtney Kipps

Dr Bruce Paton

Dr Bruce Paton

Dr Flaminia Ronca

Dr Flaminia Ronca

Professor Mathew Wilson

Prof. Mathew Wilson

Dr Madi Davies

Dr Madi Davies

Dr Snehal Pinto Pereira

Dr Snehal Pinto Pereira

Professor James Hull

Prof. James Hull

Dr Charlie Pedlar

Dr Charlie Pedlar

Dr Jo Blodgett

Dr Jo Blodgett

Dr Eleanor Tillett

Prof. Eleanor Tillett

Dr Hara Trouli

Dr Hara Trouli

 

Rosalyn Cooke

Rosalyn Cooke

 

Dr Paul Read

Dr Paul Read

 

Roundel icon of a silhouette in grey

Dr Nathan Riding

Roundel icon of a silhouette in grey

Dr Tom Gurney

Roundel icon of a silhouette in grey

Dr Tom Norris

Roundel icon of a silhouette in grey

Paul Thawley

Huub Habets

Huub Habets

 

PhD students

John Mitchell

Project: physical activity and cognition

Evelyn Watson

Project: sports and social mobility

Natalia Rojas

Project: long COVID in children

Funding / Partnerships

  • British Heart Foundation
  • Medical Research Council
  • National Institute Health Research
  • Greenhouse Sports
  • Metropolitan Police
  • British Olympic Association
  • International Olympic Committee
  • English Institute of Sport
  • HCA Healthcare UK

Select publications

  1. Pinto Pereira, S.M., Shafran, R, Nugawela, M.D, Panagi, L, et al. (2022) Natural course of health and well-being in non-hospitalised children and young people after testing for SARS-CoV-2: A prospective follow-up study over 12 months. The Lancet Regional Health - Europe. 100554.
  2. Ku PW, Hamer M, Liao Y, Hsueh MC, Chen LJ. Device-measured light-intensity physical activity and mortality: A meta-analysis. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2020.
  3. Pearson N, Sherar LB, Hamer M. Prevalence and Correlates of Meeting Sleep, Screen-Time, and Physical Activity Guidelines Among Adolescents in the United Kingdom. JAMA Pediatr. 2019.
  4. Stamatakis E, Gale J, Bauman A, Ekelund U, Hamer M, Ding D. Sitting Time, Physical Activity, and Risk of Mortality in Adults. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2019.
  5. Pinto Pereira, S.M., Garfield, V., Farmaki, AE. et al. Adiposity and grip strength: a Mendelian randomisation study in UK Biobank. BMC Med 20. 2022.
  6. Stringer C, Loosemore M, Moller E, Jackson SE, et al. Promoting physical activity in vulnerable adults 'at risk' of homelessness: a randomised controlled trial protocol. BMJ Open. 2019.
  1. Childs C, Barker LA, Gage AM, Loosemore M. Investigating possible retinal biomarkers of head trauma in Olympic boxers using optical coherence tomography. Eye Brain. 2018.
  2. Schwellnus M, Kipps C, Roberts WO, et al. Medical encounters (including injury and illness) at mass community-based endurance sports events: an international consensus statement on definitions and methods of data recording and reporting. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2019.
  3. Pedlar CR, Kipps C, Myrissa K, Barry M, Kwaja I, et al. Medical encounters at community-based physical activity events (parkrun) in the UK. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2021. 
  4. Hull JH, Burns P, Carre J, Haines J, Hepworth C, et al. BTS clinical statement for the assessment and management of respiratory problems in athletic individuals. Thorax. 2022.
  5. Wilson MG, Hull JH, Loosemore M, Haddad FS, et al. Cardiorespiratory considerations for return-to-play in elite athletes after COVID-19 infection: a practical guide for sport and exercise medicine physicians. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2020.

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