Sport and Exercise Science research themes

Ageing and the cardiopulmonary system

Ageing and the cardiopulmonary system

This is a joint research theme with the Cardiovascular and Sport and Exercise Science research groups. Our ultimate goal is to reduce the severity of cardiopulmonary disease and to improve the quality of life in odler adults.

We adopt an integrative approach to our research that spans all the way from measurements of electrical activity in single cardiac cells through to in vivo measurements of lung function, and the consequences for exercise tolerance. We aim to identify the key parameters that change with healthy ageing and cardiopulmonary disease and develop low-cost strategies, such as exercise training and nutritional supplementation which ameliorate functional deficits. We use animal models and human participants for our research in this area, complemented by multi-scale in silico modelling.

Our expertise includes molecular biology and electrophysiological approaches in pacemaker and non-pacemaker cells of the heart; composition of skeletal muscle; functional imaging techniques in vivo to assess vascular, endothelial and cardiac function; and measures of lung function and breath-by-breath pulmonary gas exchange.

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Key researchers in the area


Area of expertise

Dr Al Benson
Lecturer in Cardiovascular Science

Computational modelling; magnetic resonance imaging; optical imaging; cardiopulmonary exercise testing; near infrared spectroscopy

Professor Karen Birch
Head of School of Biomedical Sciences

Endothelial integrity; female reproductive hormones; exercise and cardiovascular disease 

Dr T. Scott Bowen
Lecturer in Exercise Physiology

Muscle atrophy; muscle weakness; mitochondrial dysfunction;  pulmonary gas exchange ; exercise testing  

Dr Michael Colman
University Academic Fellow Physiology/Cardiovascular Exercise Physiology

Importance of age-related adaptions underlying physiological and pathophysiological function of the aged heart; computational modelling

Prof Stuart Egginton
Leadership Chair in Exercise Science

Dr Carrie Ferguson
Lecturer in Physiology

Cardiopulmonary exercise testing; mitochondrial function; oxidative metabolism; pulmonary system; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; muscle function; rehabilitation; exercise tolerance; clinical trials

Dr Matthew Lancaster
Lecturer in Exercise Physiology
Limitations to exercise tolerance; cardiopulmonary exercise testing; fatigue mechanisms; training strategies 
Dr Harry Rossiter
 Cardiovascular changes with ageing; limitations to exercise performance in old age; changes to cardiac structure and function in old age; biomarkers of ageing
Dr Bryan Taylor
University Academic Fellow in Cardiovascular Exercise Medicine
Age-associated pulmonary vascular dysfunction; pulmonary hypertension; lung diffusing capacity; pulmonary mechanics; exercise capacity