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Past PhD student testimonials

Dr Eurico Nestor Wilhelm Neto, Post-doctoral fellow, Escola Superior de Educação Física

Eurico Nestor Wilhelm Neto

Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Brazil

Research Interests: Cardiovascular responses and adaptations to acute exercise and exercise training

Title of PhD Thesis: Circulating microvesicles: responses to exercise and heat stress and their impact upon human endothelial cells

Year of graduation: 2016

Memorable PhD paper:  Wilhelm EN, González-Alonso J, Parris C, Rakobowchuk M. Exercise intensity modulates the appearance of circulating microvesicles with proangiogenic potential upon endothelial cells. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 311(5):H1297-H1310, 2016.

Research Experience: "Studying as a PhD candidate at Brunel University London was a fantastic experience and provided me with an exceptional background to progress in the scientific career. I had the opportunity to work alongside and learn from high-calibre researchers in the field of cardiovascular and exercise physiology, and acquired invaluable skills to interconnect exercise physiology with vascular cell biology. I was also fortunate to collaborate and publish with academics from around the globe, which certainly helped me to acquire and secure my current postdoctoral position.”

Dr Steven Trangmar, Lecturer in Cardiovascular and Exercise Physiology

STUniversity of Roehampton, London, UK

Research Interests: Cerebral blood flow and metabolism, cardiovascular responses to heat stress and dehydration and mechanisms of blood flow regulation

Title of PhD Thesis: Circulatory limitations to exercise capacity in humans: the impact of heat stress and dehydration on brain and muscle blood flow and metabolism

Year of graduation: 2015

Memorable PhD paper: Trangmar SJ, Chiesa ST, Stock CG, Kalsi KK, Secher NH, González-Alonso J. Dehydration affects cerebral blood flow but not its metabolic rate for oxygen during maximal exercise in trained humans. J Physiol 592(14):3143-3160, 2014.

Research Experience: “I had a fantastic experience studying as a PhD candidate at Brunel University London. During my time at Brunel, I was privileged to learn from, and work with, expert academics from a wide-range of research themes, who guided and encouraged me to produce high-quality research. I was regularly inspired by the work of my peers in the wider PhD student environment, and I was fortunate to collaborate with them in my work. These collaborations have extended to ongoing and lasting friendships. My experiences at Brunel University London provided me with excellent personal and professional development, and the foundation for my continuing scientific career."

Dr Andrew Simpson, Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science

Andrew SimpsonUniversity of Hull, UK

Year of graduation: 2015

Memorable PhD paper: Simpson AJ, Romer LM & Kippelen P. Exercise-induced dehydration alters pulmonary function but does not modify airway responsiveness to dry air in athletes with mild asthma. J Applied Physiol 122, 1329-1335, 2017.

Research Experience“I look back fondly at my time as a PhD student at Brunel. The support from the administration staff, the energy from my fellow PhD students, and the wealth of expert knowledge shared by my supervisors made studying at Brunel the ideal environment to grow and develop as a research scientist. The department of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences provides the ideal environment to facilitate world-class research. For example, during my PhD, I spent many hours in a custom-built environmental chamber and a respiratory physiology lab equipped with the latest technology. I was privileged during my time at Brunel to work alongside leading experts in the field of respiratory physiology, both internally and externally (with collaborators across the world). These collaborations afforded me the opportunity to visit labs at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden (the home of the Nobel Prize Assembly) and, nowadays, I continue to work with the collaborators I met whilst studying for my PhD. Brunel also supported my research by providing direct funding and helping with my applications for travel grants to present my research at international conferences. Some highlights of my PhD include presenting research at the annual congresses of the European Respiratory Society (ERS), the European College for Sport Sciences (ECSS), and the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) - the latter was a five-day conference on the Gold Coast of Australia. I believe that studying at Brunel was an integral stepping stone for my career development and a very enjoyable experience that I will never forget.”

Dr Scott Chiesa, Post-doctoral researcher, Vascular Physiology Unit,

SCUCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science, London, UK

Research Interests:
Mechanisms involved in the control of vascular function/dysfunction in high-risk populations (e.g. atherosclerosis / obesity / diabetes / gut dysbiosis) in the pre-clinical phase of cardiovascular disease.

Title of PhD Thesis: Limb tissue haemodynamic responses and regulation in the heat-stressed human: role of local vs. central thermosensitive mechanisms at rest and during small muscle mass exercise

Year of graduation: 2015

Memorable PhD paper:  Chiesa ST, Trangmar SJ, Kalsi KK, Rakobowchuk M, Banker DS, Lotlikar MD, Ali L, González-Alonso J. Local temperature-sensitive mechanisms are important mediators of limb tissue hyperemia in the heat-stressed human at rest and during small muscle mass exercise. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 309(2):H369-80, 2015.

Research Experience: “Undertaking my PhD at Brunel was a hugely rewarding experience. The support I received from both the staff and fellow students within the centre was pivotal in my success, and has instilled within me the skills required to carry out future research at the highest level. I hugely enjoyed my time at Brunel and am proud to add my name to its list of alumni."

Dr Nicola Theis, Lecturer in Biomechanics

NTSt Mary's University, London

Research Interests: Muscle and tendon biomechanics

Title of PhD Thesis: An examination of muscle and tendon properties in children with spastic cerebral palsy and their response to stretch: A theoretical basis for evidence-based clinical practice

Year of graduation: 2014

Memorable PhD paper: Theis N, Korff T, Kairon H, Mohagheghi AA. Does acute passive stretching increase muscle length in children with cerebral palsy? Clin Biomech 28(9-10):1061-1067, 2013.

Research Experience: "My experience as part of the Brunel was hugely positive, and integral to the completion of my PhD. The support I received from experienced and talented researchers, not only helped me to complete my PhD, but motivated me to continue a career in research and academia."

Dr Nick Tiller, Senior Lecturer, Applied Physiology

NTiSheffield Hallam University

Research Interests:  Respiratory physiology, ultra-endurance exercise

Title of PhD Thesis:  Respiratory mechanics during upper-body exercise in healthy humans

Year of graduation:  2014

Memorable PhD paper: Tiller NB, Campbell IG, Romer LM. Influence of Upper-Body Exercise on the Fatigability of Human Respiratory Muscles. Med Sci Sports Exerc 49(7):1461-1472, 2017.

Research Experience: “I had a very positive experience at Brunel University.  I found the research environment to be world-class and the expectation was conducive to a high standard of work.  I learned a great deal from the senior academics, and found the administration staff to be kind and supportive.  My research degree has more than prepared me for a career in academia, and inspired me to continue producing scholarly output.”

Dr Stuart Miller, Senior Lecturer in Biomechanics

SMMiddlesex University, London

Research Interests: 
1) Understanding how and why humans (and animals) move how they do; 
2) How the muscle and tendon work efficiently and optimally within the body, and how this relates to injuries; 
3) Motor control theories linking the CNS to the muscle control strategy; 
4) The application of these research interests to a variety of settings (i.e. locomotion, throwing, cycling and injury).

Title of PhD Thesis: Mechanical factors affecting the estimation of tibialis anterior force using an EMG-driven modelling approach

Year of graduation: 2014

Memorable PhD paper: Miller SC, Korff T, Waugh C, Fath F, Blazevich AJ. Tibialis anterior moment arm: effects of measurement errors and assumptions. Med Sci Sports Exerc 47(2):428-39, 2015.

Research Experience: "My time at Brunel during my PhD was both very challenging and enjoyable. The opportunity to work alongside staff at the top of their field, and the exceptionally talented PhD students, provided a great opportunity to develop as a scientist, in addition to gain great friends and peers for the long-term future. The support provided throughout the department is something that I look back on fondly about my time spent at Brunel in the centre. As a PhD student, you are expected to be pro-active and inquisitive in your field; you are challenged to further the field; you are challenged to further the field, and not just undertake a piece of research. This mind-set has provided me with a great foundation for post-PhD academic life.” 

Dr Charlotte Waugh- Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Fellow, Dept. Physical Therapy

Charlotte WaughUniversity of British Columbia, Canada

Research interests: Tendon adaptation to different mechanical loading; developmental and maturational influences of musculoskeletal biomechanics;

Title of PhD thesis: Age and training related changes in tendon stiffness on muscular force production and neuro-motor control during childhood.

Year of graduation: 2011

Memorable PhD paper: Waugh CM, Korff T, Fath F, Blazevich AJ. Effects of resistance training on tendon mechanical properties and rapid force production in prepubertal children. J Appl Physiol 117(3):257-266, 2014.

Brunel experience: I found Brunel’s research centre on human performance, exercise and rehabilitation an encouraging, collaborative environment in which to complete my PhD. The research-leading facilities coupled with academic expertise available to me offered lots of opportunities for acquiring the research and transferable skills necessary to excel in my research field. I enjoyed my time at Brunel immensely and stayed to complete 3 years of post-doctoral experience.

Dr Eric Stöhr, Lecturer in Cardiac Physiology and Health

ESUniversity of Wales Institute Cardiff (UWIC)
Cardiff School of Sport, Cardiff, UK

Research interests: Cardiac function during exercise, chronic cardiovascular adaptations to exercise and epidemiology.

Title of PhD thesis: The effect of heat stress, dehydration and exercise on global left ventricular function and mechanics in healthy humans.

Year of graduation: 2011

Memorable PhD paper: Stöhr EJ, González-Alonso J, Shave R. Left ventricular mechanical limitations to stroke volume in healthy humans during incremental exercise. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 301(2):H478-H487, 2011.

Brunel experience: “I experienced Brunel University as an incredibly stimulating research environment that was driven by individuals with outstanding expertise in their fields of research. Furthermore, the research laboratories are incredibly well-equipped and, therefore, facilitates diverse opportunities to conduct state-of-the-art research. Studying at the Brunel has provided me with the perfect start into my academic career and I look back at my time there with pride and joy.”

Dr Danielle Adams, Network Sport Psychologist 

DASportscotland Institute of Sport

Research interests: performance under pressure and choking, attentional processes of elite athletes, priming.

Title of PhD thesis: Exploring the attentional processes of expert performers and the impact of priming on motor skill execution.

Year of graduation: 2011

Memorable PhD paper: Adams D, Ashford KJ, Jackson RC. Priming to promote fluent motor skill execution: exploring attentional demands. J Sport Exerc Psychol 36(4):366-374, 2014.

CSMHP experience: “I believe that the particular environment of the Brunel hugely facilitated the development of both my skills and ideas and was integral to the completion of my PhD. The support was second to none and being surrounded by such a wealth of expertise was stimulating and incredibly motivating. Overall working within the Brunel was a very enjoyable experience.”

Dr Stuart Goodall, Senior Lecturer Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation 

SGNorthumbria University, Newcastle, UK

Research interests: 1)Mechanisms and sites of exercise-induced fatigue during acute hypoxia;
2) Neuromuscular fatigue;
3) Neuromuscular adaptions

Title of PhD thesis: Central and peripheral determinants of fatigue in acute hypoxia

Year of graduation: 2011

Memorable PhD paper: Goodall S, González-Alonso J, Ali L, Ross EZ, Romer LM.Supraspinal fatigue after normoxic and hypoxic exercise in humans.J Physiol 590(11):2767-2782, 2012.

CSMHP experience: “I feel very privileged to have studied for my PhD at the Brunel. I have benefitted from working alongside some the most distinguished researchers in their respective fields and other hard working, like minded students. The facilities within the CHPER make it possible to perform cutting edge research that is recognised in high impact journals. It was a pleasure to study at the Brunel, providing a great platform for me to build on.”

Dr Christopher West, Assistant Professor, School of Kinesiology

CWUniversity of British Columbia, Canada

Research interests: 
1) Spinal Cord Injury;
2) Translational Neuroscience;
3) Cardiorespiratory responses to sub-maximal and maximal exercise;
4) Autonomic spinal circuits

Title of PhD thesis: Effect of abdominal binding on cardiorespiratory function in paralympic athletes with cervical spinal cord injury.

Year of graduation: 2011

Memorable PhD paper: West CR, Campbell IG, Shave RE, Romer LM. Resting cardiopulmonary function in Paralympic athletes with cervical spinal cord injury. Med Sci Sports Exerc 44(2):323-329, 2012.

Research experience: "I had a thoroughly enjoyable and productive experience during my time at Brunel. The multi-disciplinary expertise located within the centre allowed me to assess multiple facets of exercise tolerance in Paralympic athletes with spinal cord injury. I was also fortunate to have access to gold-standard assessments techniques to assess both respiratory and cardiovascular function that would have otherwise made my research impossible. During my 4 years at the centre I also made lots of lasting friendships with my fellow PhD students and staff. In summary, my time at Brunel provided the perfect foundation for me to begin my research career."

Dr James Pearson, Assistant Professor

JPUniversity of Colorado, Colorado Springs, USA

Research interests: 1) Mechanisms of thermoregulation during prolonged space flight, in skin graft patients and during a hot flash in post-menopausal women;
2) Effects of heat stress and an orthostatic challenge upon ventilation:
3) Thermoregulatory control and orthostatic tolerance with heat stress and hypohydration

Title of PhD thesis: Haemodynamic responses to heat stress and dehydration in resting and exercising humans: Implications for the regulation of skeletal muscle blood flow.

Year of graduation: 2010

Memorable PhD paper: Pearson J, Low DA, Stöhr E, Kalsi K, Ali L, Barker H, González-Alonso J.Hemodynamic responses to heat stress in the resting and exercising human leg: insight into the effect of temperature on skeletal muscle blood flow. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 300(3):R663-R673, 2011.

CSMHP experience: “My experience at the Brunel broadened my horizons. I was surrounded by an environment that enabled me to develop and expand upon my own ideas and also to learn from the vast experience of the senior researchers. I really enjoyed studying for my PhD at the Brunel University London.”

Dr Lisa Griffiths, Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science

LGInstitute of Sport and Exercise Science
University of Worcester, UK

Research interests: Applied exercise physiology, health and exercise, corporate wellness

Title of PhD thesis: The application of respiratory muscle training to competitive rowing.

Year of graduation: 2010

Memorable PhD paper: Griffiths LA, McConnell AK. The influence of inspiratory and expiratory muscle training upon rowing performance. Eur J Appl Physiol 99(5):457-66, 2007.

CSMHP experience: “During my time at Brunel University, our research centre provided a unique learning experience with internationally renowned staff and state of the art equipment. It also provided opportunities to network with professional bodies (i.e. BASES), national governing bodies and sporting teams/individuals.”

Dr Orlando Laitano, Adjunct Lecturer

OLSport and Exercise Physiology,
Universidade Federal do Vale do São Francisco, Brazil

Research interests:
1) Heat stress and muscle redox regulation during exercise in humans;
2) Fluid balance and physical performance;
3) Sweat composition and its impact on health and performance.

Title of PhD thesis: Effects of heat stress, dehydration and rehydration on circulatory markers of oxidative stress in resting and exercising humans.

Year of graduation: 2010

Memorable PhD paper: Laitano O, Kalsi KK, Pearson J, Lotlikar M, Reischak-Oliveira A, González-Alonso J. Effects of graded exercise-induced dehydration and rehydration on circulatory markers of oxidative stress across the resting and exercising human leg. Eur J Appl Physiol 112(5):1937-1944, 2012

CSMHP experience: "I am very proud of having spent part of my PhD at the Brunel University’s Centre for Sports Medicine and Human Performance as an international student. It was a great opportunity to develop my studies under the guidance of Professor González-Alonso along with other outstanding researchers in the field of exercise physiology. The environment at Brunel was very friendly and helped me to develop several skills to pursue my career as an independent researcher."

Dr Dale Cannavan, Department Chair & Associate Professor of Exercise Science

DCSeattle Pacific University, USA

Research interests: 
1) In vivo muscle and tendon adaptations to different training stressors;
2) The effects of posture on muscle amnesia and movement dysfunction (lower and upper crossed syndrome).

Title of PhD thesis: Acute effects of static stretching on neuromuscular force production and tendon stiffness.

Year of graduation: 2008

Memorable PhD paper: Blazevich AJ, Horne S, Cannavan D, Coleman DR, Aagaard P. Effect of contraction mode of slow-speed resistance training on the maximum rate of force development in the human quadriceps. Muscle Nerve 38(3):1133-1146, 2008.

CSMHP experience: “I completed both my MSc and PhD at Brunel under the guidance of Dr. Anthony Blazevich. During this time I was involved in many separate research topics, both as a researcher and subject. This developed my knowledge and understanding of both Biomechanics and Exercise Physiology, and the close interaction between the two. My experiences were enhanced with state-of-the-art equipment, specifically ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging techniques. Without these tools, my research would not have been possible. I have fond memories of Brunel and have made many close friends and I’m thankful for my time there.”

Dr Bryan Taylor, University Academic Fellow in Cardiovascular Exercise Medicine

BTSchool of Biomedical Sciences
University of Leeds, UK

Research interests: 
1) The pulmonary circulation in Ageing Studies;
2) The pulmonary circulation and pulmonary congestion in heart failure;
3) Extreme-physiology testing;
4) Exercise tolerance and expiratory muscle fatigue in healthy humans.

Title of PhD thesis: Expiratory muscle fatigue in healthy humans: implications for exercise tolerance.

Year of graduation: 2007 

Memorable PhD paper: Taylor BJ, Romer LM. Effect of expiratory muscle fatigue on exercise tolerance and locomotor muscle fatigue in healthy humans. J Appl Physiol 104(5):1442-1451, 2008.

 CSMHP experience: “I had a fantastic experience at the Brunel, during which I was able to collaborate with several members of staff with differing expertise to produce high quality research. The environment within the Research Center promoted productivity, with several avenues of support from all of the team. I was able to forge many good and lasting friendships with my fellow PhD students, something that went a long way to me successfully obtaining my PhD. In short, I enjoyed my time at Brunel immensely, and would not be in the position I am now without the help and support of its staff and students.”

Dr Emma Hart, Research Fellow (British Heart Foundation Intermediate)

EHSchool of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience
University of Bristol, UK

Research interests: 1) Sex differences in cardiovascular regulation in exercise and disease;
2) Arterial blood pressure regulation in hypertensive older men and women;
3) Origins of neural hypertension;
4) Influence of changes in brain blood flow on autonomic function

Year of graduation: 2007

Memorable PhD paper: Hart E, Dawson E, Rasmussen P, George K, Secher NH, Whyte G, Shave R. Beta-adrenergic receptor desensitization in man: insight into post-exercise attenuation of cardiac function. J Physiol 577:717-725, 2006.

CSMHP experience: “I completed my PhD in 2007 at what is now CHPER. The centre provided me with all the learning opportunities I could want and more. Without the support of the internationally renowned staff and the students, I do not think I would be in the position I am today. The Brunel provided an environment for personal and professional growth which I would be at loss without. I really enjoyed my time at the Brunel.”

Dr Mitch Lomax, Senior Lecturer in Sport & Exercise Physiology

MLDepartment of Sport and Exercise Science,
University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK

Research interests: Respiratory muscle function and fatigue (its occurrence, mechanisms and effects) during swimming. Previous research has focused on a number of pulmonary related topics including inspiratory muscle training and warm-ups, and the cardiopulmonary responses to hypoxia.

Title of PhD thesis: An examination of the inspiratory muscle metaboreflex: functional implications and the influence of inspiratory muscle training.

Year of graduation: 2007

Memorable PhD paper: McConnell AK, Lomax M. The influence of inspiratory muscle work history and specific inspiratory muscle training upon human limb muscle fatigue. J Physiol 577:445-457, 2006.

CSMHP experience: “I completed both my MSc and PhD degrees at Brunel in what is now the Centre for Human Performance, Exercise and Rehabilitation. My general experiences and knowledge gained while studying at Brunel have been critical in my career development.”