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Personal profile


In 1994 Rob was awarded a PhD by the University of Leeds, for work on the mechanical and physiological properties of mammalian muscle. Rob then undertook four years of postdoctoral research at the University of St. Andrews to study the effects of temperature and growth on skeletal muscle and locomotory performance of fish and frogs. Since then Rob has worked with leading international collaborators in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, UK and USA to undertake a range of research projects that have involved reciprocal travel to work at different research laboratories. These projects have included investigating the effects of obesity, ageing, temperature and seasonal muscle disuse (e.g. hibernation and aestivation) on skeletal muscle and locomotor performance in various vertebrate species. The funding of this work has included collaborative project grants from EU FP7 (€100,000; 2009-2013) and FAPESP (US$1,000,000, 2009-2013). The international collaborative projects have also generated over 30 peer reviewed journal papers. Recent collaborative work, with Professor Helen Maddock, related to drug induced cardiac toxicity, has attracted Innovate UK- NC3R, ERDF-KEEN and TSB-NC3R funding totalling over £1M.


Vision Statement

I am recognised internationally as one of very few experts in the usage of the work loop technique to analyse the mechanical performance of muscle, leading to multiple international collaborative research partnerships. Such work includes investigations into the effects of diet, ageing and activity on skeletal muscle performance. I am also working with Professor Helen Maddock to further develop the work loop technique as a ground breaking in vitro contractility assay that can provide a more accurate prediction of potential drug induced cardiac toxicity in preclinical and clinical settings, thereby reducing attrition within the drug discovery process.

Research Interests

Thermal physiology of skeletal muscle; Drug induced changes in myocardial performance; Trade-offs between sprint and endurance performance; Effects of body size on skeletal muscle performance; Effects of ageing, diet and activity on skeletal muscle performance; Effects of temperature on locomotor and skeletal muscle performance ; Ageing related changes in whole body and isolated muscle performance ; Usage of caffeine as an ergogenic aid to improve whole body and isolated muscle performance ; Effects of natural periods of hypometabolism (aestivation and hibernation) on muscle performance; Effects of natural periods of reduced metabolism (hibernation and aestivation) on skeletal muscle performance

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Postgraduate Certificate, Coventry University

1 Sep 199830 Jun 1999

Award Date: 12 Aug 1999

Doctorate, University of Leeds

1 Oct 199130 Sep 1994

Award Date: 5 Nov 1991

Degree, University of Leeds

1 Oct 199830 Jun 1991

Award Date: 12 Sep 1991

External positions

Convenor of the Biomechanics Group, Society for Experimental Biology

1 Jul 2016 → …

External examiner for MSc Sport and Exercise Physiology, Liverpool John Moores University

1 Aug 2015 → …

External examiner of PhD, University of Western Australia


External Examiner of BA Applied Golf Management Studies, University of Birmingham

1 Aug 201131 Jul 2015

External examiner of PhD, University of Leeds


External examiner of MSc/MA Sports Studies, Newman University College

1 Aug 201031 Jul 2013

External examiner of BSc Bioveterinary Science, University of Liverpool

1 Aug 200931 Jul 2012

External examiner of 2 MScR students, University of Hertfordshire


External examiner of PGA Foundation degree in Golf, University of Birmingham

1 Aug 200431 Jul 2007

External examiner of BSc Sport Science modules, Harper Adams University College/Warwickshire College

1 Aug 200331 Jul 2007

External examiner of PhD, University of Queensland



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