Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Food Matters for staff and students

UCLan SENS' staff and students recently attended the prestigious 'Food Matters Live' event in London.

Lecturers Dr Steph Dillon, Dr Brigit Ramsingh, Dr Marisol Warthon-Medina and April Melia accompanied 25 students to London's ExCel for the annual gathering which is dedicated to food, health and nutrition.

The event brings together the food and drink industry, retailers, food service providers, government, academia and features seminars, workshops as well as a vast array of exhibitors.

The trip was an excellent opportunity for the group to learn about the latest food innovations, make contacts with members of the food industry and health professionals, and sample products from companies that have developed allergen-free alternatives, functional foods, and tapped into trends such as the Paleo diet and 'raw' and 'natural' snacks.

Students had the opportunity to network with exhibitors from the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) and the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF International) about industry related topics and also discuss student placement opportunities.

Master's by Research student Suruci Pradhan (right) commented: "It was an extremely innovative and educational event.

"It was interesting to know about food products, technologies and different careers in food industry through wide range of exhibitors. I'm really looking forward to attending this event next year."

April Melia added: "The event was an ideal opportunity for staff and students to meet exhibitors from all areas of food safety, food hygiene and food science.

"There were so many interesting and exciting development areas covered by exhibitors and the students really engaged with the whole experience.

"It was also an opportunity to attend seminars and conferences covering the latest research from around the world.

Friday, 5 December 2014

PhD Studentship in intermuscular coordination

The role of intermuscular coordination in the transfer of strength gains to maximal sports performance.

Location: Sport City Manchester and Sheffield Hallam University
£13,863 per annum stipend plus fees
Closing Date: 19th December 12.00pm.

In collaboration with the English Institute of Sport (EIS), the Centre for Sports Engineering Research (CSER) at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) invites applications for a PhD exploring the role of intermuscular coordination in the transfer of strength gains to maximal sports performance.

Increases in strength, in general, transfer positively to the performance of maximal sports movements. The magnitude of performance gain can vary dramatically across training modalities and sporting movements.

For example, while the majority of training studies demonstrate performance increases with strength gains, some report that strength gains are not accompanied by increases in performance, and others even report a decrease in sports performance.

It is hypothesised that these counter-intuitive findings can be explained by the notion that intermuscular coordination needs to be adapted to exploit the increase in muscle strength. That is, without appropriate adaptation in intermuscular coordination, the increase in muscle strength will not result in improved performance.

This issue raises a host of interesting motor control and biomechanics questions, as well as providing an opportunity to enhance sports performance by improving the transfer of strength gains to maximal sporting movements.

This PhD project will explore the biomechanical, motor control and morphological changes following a period of strength training. Using a maximal cycling model, the effect of strength changes on intermuscular coordination will be investigated both computationally and experimentally.

Adopting an ecological dynamics theoretical framework, the PhD will also seek to use this understanding to design interventions that improve the transfer of strength to performance, possibly utilising biofeedback.

Applicants should have a 1st or 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) in sports science, biomechanics, engineering or a related area. An MSc. in a related area would be beneficial, as would experience of providing applied support to athletes.

As well as academically talented, applicants should be self-motivated, autonomous and have excellent problem solving abilities. Suitable candidates from outside the UK/EU can apply but non UK/EU students must fund the difference between the International and UK/EU fee. Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to have an IELTS overall band 6 with a minimum score of 5.5 in all skill areas.

Please send a one-page covering letter outlining your interest and proposed approach with an accompanying CV (maximum length two A4 pages) to by 12 pm (midnight) 19th December 2014.

For further information please email Dr Jon Wheat or Dr Paul Barratt.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Students take part in Warriors' pre-season tests

UCLan SENS undergraduate and postgraduate students have been helping Wigan Warriors prepare for Super League 2015.

First year students attended the session to observe testing carried out by their colleagues from our MSc Sports Science course. Senior Lecturer Dr Steph Dillon coordinated the session.

She commented: "It was a fabulous opportunity for some of our first year undergraduate students to observe the high-performance testing of Wigan Warriors' athletes.

"One of the students actually stated this was the primary reason he came to the University, as an ex-student told him he would get lots of opportunities like this at UCLan.

"The group were exposed to an environment where exercise science was being directly applied by Master's students which not only brought the subject to life, but also stimulated a strong desire to be involved in future testing. This is all part of our commitment to provide an excellent student experience."

Warriors' squad are scheduled to return to UCLan in the New Year to continue their build-up to the new campaign.

Friday, 21 November 2014

UCLan SENS graduate aims for the top

Sports Science graduate Lewis Seville has secured a role with one of the top names in British and European Motorsport.

After leaving UCLan with a First Class Honours degree, Lewis has now taken his first step onto the career ladder after being appointed as a Data Analysis Engineer for AIM Motorsport.

AIM has been a formidable force for many years, competing in Karting, Superbikes, Formula Cars and Power Boats.

Lewis will work with AIM's International Kart Racing Team, with the principal role of processing information from data acquisition products fitted to the Karts to identify areas each driver can improve on in order to gain a faster lap time. He will also assist with the general logistics of the race team by helping prepare equipment for the next race.

He commented: "With this job I'm able to combine my passion for motorsport with my interest in Data Analysis learned through my Sports Science degree.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time at UCLan. I was able to gain invaluable practical experience within the real world which has enabled me to develop my skills and expertise, allowing me to progress into a career I love with the dream of working within Formula 1 – perhaps with McLaren.

"The staff at UCLan could not have been any more helpful and supportive of me, and I honestly believe they were a significant factor in getting me to where I am now."

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Food safety expert appointed Professor

Following her successful application to the Professorial and Readership Committee and external review, Carol Wallace has been confirmed as Professor of Food Safety Management Systems.

Professor Wallace's background is in microbiology/applied food safety and her career spans 30 years in the food industry and food safety education.

Her research interests include food safety system effectiveness from farm to fork and food safety support needs of SMEs and Consumers. She is currently Co-Director of the International Institute of Nutritional Sciences and Applied Food Safety Studies at UCLan.

Professor Wallace commented: "This year's Dubai International Food Safety Conference was especially memorable for me as I received the confirmation of my appointment as Professor of Food Safety Management Systems shortly after arriving in Dubai.

"I'm really looking forward to the challenges of this new role, working with the food industry and other researchers to continue striving for effective and practical food safety control strategies.

"The Dubai conference is a really good example of this type of work, bringing together industry practitioners, regulatory/government personnel and academics to improve consumer protection through strengthening food safety systems."

For more information about Professor Wallace please click here.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Research Institute presents at World Congress

Professor Lowe & Dr Warthon-Medina
Members of the International Institute of Nutritional Sciences and Applied Food Safety Studies (iINSAFSs) recently attended the World Congress of Public Health Nutrition 2014 (WCPHN), in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.

Dr Marisol Warthon-Medina and her PhD Director of Studies, Professor Nicola Lowe, travelled to the four-day event where prestigious nutritionist scientists from around the world met and presented new advances in Human Nutrition and Public Health.

Collaborative research entitled 'The study of the long term impact of micronutrient supplementation during infancy on growth, anaemia and zinc status in pre-school children' was unveiled by Dr Warthon-Medina on the final day of the Congress.

The research was carried out by iINSAFSs and the Instituto de Investigación Nutricional, Lima, Perú.

Dr Warthon-Medina commented: "This was an incredible experience, providing a great opportunity to not only gain a good understanding of other research, but also to make valuable contacts. This was possible thanks to a travel grant from the Nutrition Society and support from the International Institute of Nutritional Sciences and Applied Food Safety Studies at UCLan."

Monday, 10 November 2014

Division attends Zinc-Net event

UCLan SENS staff and students attended the latest gathering of contributors to the 'Zinc-Net' project.

Professor Nicola Lowe chaired the Management Committee and Steering Group meeting in London for the European Commission funded research which is looking into the role of zinc in human biochemistry and physiology.

Forty delegates from across Europe attended the meeting which was a combined conference and workshop for early stage researchers that will provide training in the latest technology for imaging zinc at the cellular and subcellular level.

Lecturer Marisol Warthon-Medina attended the workshop, along with 33 other young European researchers. Master's student Suruchi Pradhan also presented research at the conference.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Graduate's fitness company continues to grow

UCLan SENS graduate Sam Marsh's business Jigsaw Fitness continues to go from strength-to-strength.

Sam started the company during his second year at UCLan in 2012 with the help of the University's Northern Lights Business Support team, and they have gone on to develop an impressive array of clients.

Sam commented: "We are very excited to be working closely with companies such as Fitness First, Xercise 4 Less and Under Armour to design and build some truly exciting and engaging fitness and conditioning equipment.

"We've installed our latest product at Fitness First's new offering, 55 Bishopsgate in London. This was our RUNWAY, and has now been taken for two new sites being fitted before Christmas.

"Our products, including our new SQYRE (square tyre) which allows users to flip a tyre in a straight line, have soft tactile surfaces will not damage gym flooring.

"We've also gone into partnership with Exigo, one of the largest manufacturers in the United Kingdom. We are extremely proud of this as it means we can now manufacture at a high volume whilst maintaining out high standards of quality.

"As a company we are really starting to make waves and get noticed, and have people buy into the fact that we are moving to make the industry more fun, and more engaging and to allow gyms to offer exciting, innovative fitness classes."

To find out more about Northern Lights, please click here.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Foreign adventure widens student's horizons

Studying abroad can be of great benefit to students by widening their horizons and improving employability.

Jodie Palmer is studying the second year of her Strength and Conditioning course at the University of Northern Colorado, USA, and feels it was an opportunity she couldn't pass up.

"I chose to study abroad as it's something I've always been interested in and UCLan offers great opportunities and support to be able to it," said Jodie.

"I'm building my self-confidence and learning life skills I might not have gained so early in the UK, including how to be independent and adjust to different lifestyles. These skills will help me in the future, both in my career and in my day to day life."

Whilst in the USA Jodie has had the opportunity to take part in numerous activities, including mountain hiking, whitewater rafting and horseback riding. She has also attended an ice hockey game, watched American Football and been caving. Jodie hopes to go snowboarding and skiing when the snow arrives, and is planning to travel around some other states in the US during spring break.

Jodie has also opted into a programme where students team up with local people. "I've been paired with a couple who live in the local town of Greeley," she said. "We go for meals, movies, shopping and sightseeing together. The programme allows us to learn about each other's cultures and lifestyles and it gives me the opportunity to experience the State of Colorado.

"I've made many friends, my closest being my roommates. Out here when applying for halls of residence, you have to take a short questionnaire which then matches you to roommates who have very similar interests as you."

In addition to her personal development, Jodie said the experience is helping to expand her knowledge: "I'm learning different methods of coaching and teaching physical education other than the ones commonly used in the UK. This broadens my knowledge and I look forward to putting it all into practice when I go home."

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Graduate develops Hammers Science role

Our programme provides graduates with a platform to progress into a variety of roles.

During his time at UCLan, Adam Crossley completed a BSc in Personal Fitness Training, before advancing onto an MSc in Sport and Exercise Science. He also gained experience in both professional football and rugby league, eventually securing a role with West Ham United FC in 2012.

He commented: "My whole time at UCLan helped me develop considerably into the role I'm currently working in at West Ham's Academy.

"Before I undertook my Master's I was offered an opportunity at another University, but I felt the opportunity to continue to learn off staff like Dr Steve Atkins and Dr Howard Hurst was an excellent one.

"Not only did it develop me academically, but there were also numerous opportunities to gain experience in the field. These could include testing elite athletes coming into the University or gaining part-time placements with professional clubs. These opportunities were vital in my development and ultimately helped me decide on my career path."

During his third year at UCLan, Adam worked once a week with Wigan Warriors RLFC in their Academy Strength & Conditioning Department. He also gained further experience, shadowing the Lead Sport Scientist at Preston North End FC and also completed a work placement at a local primary school.

Adam said this was crucial in his personal development: "I initially worked with a number of different year groups, once every week for half a year. When I completed my placement I was given the opportunity to stay there, running the after-school football club. I did this for two more years and it was vital for me in developing key skills such as organisation, group speaking and time-keeping skills."

After finishing his Master's, Adam was offered a year-long placement at West Ham. His main role was leading the GPS analysis at their Academy: "It was the start of the EPPP (Elite Player Performance Plan) and the Academy had never had their own GPS set-up, so I came in to develop that area," said Adam.

"Fortunately for me this placement turned into a full-time role and the position has developed considerably. I'm now in my third year at the club and my job includes leading on the analysis of the GPS (matches and training), filming and analysis of training sessions and the monitoring of training load. The introduction of the EPPP definitely helped me get a placement and I think its introduction will help newly-graduated students get more opportunities too.

"The Sport Science Department at the Academy has developed an excellent student placement programme, and I’m glad to say I've been able to work with Dr Atkins again to give UCLan students the opportunity to learn here on a year-long placement. Working with our excellent department I know will have a significant positive impact on their development."

Friday, 10 October 2014

Lecturer edits prestigious journal

UCLan SENS Lecturer Carol Wallace recently edited a special edition of the journal 'Perspectives in Public Health'.

The issue included a number of peer-review articles from the Division, including Brigit Ramsingh's paper on Food Standards and one written by Carol with Debbie Christopher, one of last year's Food Safety Management Master's students.

International collaborator Dr Ben Chapman also had an article published, whilst Carol produced a guest editorial on food safety management systems.

To view the journal, please click here.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

BMJ accept research paper

The Division's Dr Jonathon Sinclair and Dr Steve Atkins, in conjunction with Dr Paul Taylor (UCLan Psychology), have confirmed a joint research paper has been accepted by The BMJ.

The paper is the result extensive work between the trio, and highlights the cross-school collaboration between The School of Sport, Tourism and The Outdoors and The School Of Psychology.

Dr Sinclair said: "This is a paper we've been working on for quite some time and the journal is extremely prestigious. The paper looked at tendon forces in military recruits.

"Achilles tendon injuries occur frequently in military populations as they do a lot of running as part of their training. Through this work we hope to be able to provide mechanisms by which the forces applied to the tendon can be reduced, thus reducing the risk from injury."

Monday, 29 September 2014

Promotions for Warriors duo

UCLan SENS are pleased to announce that Mark Quinn and Ian Bentley have been promoted in their external roles with Wigan Warriors Rugby League Club.

Mark (left) has been appointed Head of Sports Science and Analysis, whilst Ian is now Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Under 19s team.

The pair are currently studying their PhDs within UCLan SENS, whilst Ian also lectures on our Sports Science programme.

Mark commented: "My new role at Wigan will contribute vastly to my PHD, as I’ll be hands on with all the data collected from the team everyday in training and games.

"This not only includes the Global Positioning System (GPS) data tracking players movements (distance, speed, acceleration), but the match statistics (tackles made, metres made with the ball), which together gives a more thorough analysis of the demands of rugby league.

"I will also gain an insight into the coaching side of rugby league, namely the technical and tactical side of the game. With my PHD research looking at the physical and mental demands of the sport, this gives me an overview of all areas that contribute to rugby league performance.

"By combining my work at Wigan with my studies at UCLan it gives a real applied focus to my research. With the facilities, technology and expert advice from academics based in UCLan SENS, it is exciting to be at the forefront of research and performance in elite sport.

Ian (right) added: "My roles with UCLan and Wigan Warriors combine really well. My work as a Strength and Conditioning coach for the Academy informs my teaching, allowing me to link the theory with my practical experiences in elite development sport.

"I'm able to provide a number of internships for our students working with the Academy or Scholarship age groups, thus providing them with valuable coaching experience."

UCLan SENS would like to wish Mark and Ian every success in their new roles.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Equine surfaces expert lands new role

Dr Sarah Jane Hobbs has been appointed as Reader in Equine Biomechanics within UCLan SENS.

The appointment follows on from Dr Hobbs recently leading the world's most extensive study into the effect of arena surfaces on the health of sport horses.

In conjunction with her new role, Dr Hobbs aims to establish her Research and Consultancy in Equine Surfaces (RACES) as the world leader in the independent assessment of arena surfaces and race tracks across the globe – hopefully within the next 12 months.

UCLan SENS would like to congratulate Dr Hobbs on her well deserved appointment.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Student scoops coveted award

UCLan SENS student Suruchi Pradhan has won a prestigious prize at the recent Nutrition Society Postgraduate Conference held at the University of Nottingham.

Suruchi's presentation on her research topic entitled 'Comparative study of micronutrients (iron, zinc and vitamin A) in traditional South Asian diets in North West UK and North West Pakistan' was awarded Best Oral Communication at the event.

The conference provides postgraduate students at all stages of their research with the opportunity to present work, attend career sessions and network with peers.

Suruchi is currently undertaking a Master's by Research within UCLan SENS supervised by Professor Nicola Lowe. The Division wishes to congratulate Suruchi on her achievement.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Placement boosts student's career prospects

Student employability is a key element of the UCLan SENS courses. Nik Kudiersky is about to enter the final year of his Sports Science degree and is undertaking a placement at Fleetwood Town FC.

After spending the early part of the summer helping out in the University’s biomechanics labs and assisting a testing day at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester, Nik was given the opportunity to provide sport science and strength & conditioning support to the League One club.

Under the guidance of fitness coach and ex-pro Youl Mawene, Nik's primary role is heart rate data analyst.

We spoke to Nik to find out more: "My placement involves the preparation of heart rate monitors before training, downloading data after training, analysing raw heart rate data, and creating graphical representations of heart rate data which can be easily interpreted by players and coaches.

"Some of my other roles include assisting training set-up, assistance during training to ensure the session runs smoothly (aka ball boy/water boy), taking individual players for cool-down and stretching, and making recovery drinks.

"The practical experience gained at Fleetwood has been invaluable. It has provided insight into the everyday challenges the practitioner faces with balancing scientific rigour with the limitations associated with a strict budget, and the creativity needed to overcome this.

"As well as learning from scratch how to use the Polar heart rate software, I have greatly improved my Microsoft Excel skills, and I've picked up several creative training ideas, all of which will help me greatly in my final year of my degree and augment my career prospects."

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Insoles reduce risk of Achilles injuries

Dr Jonathan Sinclair's research into the effect that energy-absorbing insoles have on Achilles tendon injuries has been published in the Clinical Biomechanics journal.

During the course of his work with UCLan SENS Dr Sinclair came across numerous athletes with Achilles problems, but was unable to answer their questions as to whether low-cost insoles could help alleviate these.

The resulting research gives a thumbs-up to the insoles, with 11 out of 12 runners experiencing a lessening of Achilles tendon loading after they inserted them.

The experiment included 12 male runners (average age of 24) who reported running at least three times a week. In the laboratory they ran over a mat at approximately 6:40 per mile pace. The mat included devices that measured their ground reaction force, and the movement and loading rate of the Achilles tendon with and without the insole.

There was no difference in peak ground reaction force between the two conditions. However, several measures of Achilles loading rates were significantly reduced with the insoles. "This probably happens because orthotics offer further cushioning to that already provided by the shoe midsole," said Dr Sinclair. "This causes the ankle to dorsiflex more, adding to the movement arm of the Achilles, which reduces the loading rate."

Dr Sinclair tested the Sorbothane Sorbo Pro insole, but believes that "others with similar characteristics would likely have the same effects." He also notes that orthotics/insoles are not a universal injury cure for runners. "Using the wrong orthotic can lead to complications that would not otherwise have arisen," he said.

This study adds to a general trend in recent foot strike and injury papers. It appears that relatively thin-soled, low-profile shoes may be advantageous for runners with knee injuries, while thicker, softer shoes may help runners with Achilles and calf injuries.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

UCLan SENS present research at showpiece African conference

The Division's Dr Swrajit Sarkar recently travelled to Ghana to deliver a research presentation at the 6th annual African Nutrition Epidemiology Congress (ANEC VI).

The conference was organised by the Ghana Nutrition Association and Ghana Dietetic Association in collaboration with the African Nutrition Society (ANS) and Nutrition Society, UK.

Over 700 delegates from across the world attended, including scientists, researchers, programme managers and partners, UN agencies and representatives from the private sector.

The congress theme was 'Food and Nutrition Security in Africa: New challenges and Opportunities for Sustainability'.

ANS president Dr Francis B. Zotor opened the event which featured 26 keynote speakers, including University of Southampton's Professors Alan Jackson & Martin Wisemann and Professor Anna Lartey from the University of Ghana.

AENC VI also saw the launch of a new, free to use, global nutrition training platform – the eNutrition Academy. Organisers will be releasing a full conference report in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

UCLan SENS graduation messages

UCLan SENS would like to wish our graduates all the best for the future.

On behalf of the Division, Howard Hurst and Steph Dillon have sent the following messages:

Howard: "Well done to all the graduates of the Sports and Exercise Physiology Top-Up degree. I hope you've enjoyed the last 12 months and good luck in all your future endeavours. It's been a pleasure teaching you all."

Please click below to hear Steph's sound clip.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Farmers' Market project boosts student's development

The SENS Division are currently undertaking a number of research projects as part of the UCLan's Undergraduate Research Internship Scheme (URIS).

URIS offers students the opportunity to work with UCLan academics on research projects which have real research outputs. Since the scheme launched in 2008, nearly 200 interns have worked directly with researchers on a variety of projects across the university.

'Food Safety Practices and Capability at Farmers' Markets in North West England' is led by Dr Carol Wallace and Dr Brigit Ramsingh, with Lawrence Copson the assigned intern.

The project is looking at current attitudes, beliefs, practices and knowledge of food safety among farmers' market vendors in the North West, with a focus on Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

Through interviews, observation and surveys, current food safety facilities and educational materials will be assessed to identify additional training needs and potential barriers in establishing a positive food safety culture.

The study will run for 15 months from July 2014 - October 2015. This research follows on from a collaboration with Dr Ben Chapman from North Carolina State University, who was a UCLan distinguished research visitor in 2013. Dr Chapman has carried out a similar study looking at food safety practices at farmers' markets in the United States.

Lawrence took on the research project after successfully completing his degree in History. He said: "The aim of the research is to determine if there are any gaps within the current food safety guidelines for Farmers' Markets. We will then seek to create or add further guidance to Market managers or vendors. I'm well versed in multiple research processes and techniques having tackled History.

"Although Food Safety is a different subject for me, I have a passionate interest in food and the production stages that come with it. The opportunity to travel to various towns and villages across the North West to observe this stage of produce trade is a great experience with regards to my personal interest in food and for my professional development in research practices."

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Lancashire Science Festival wows crowds once again

UCLan SENS staff took part in the hugely successfully Lancashire Science Festival 2014 (LSF14) held at the University at the end of June.

Visitors to the three-day spectacle were treated to awe-inspiring shows, experiments and hands-on activities.

The Festival featured a number of opportunities to speak directly to leading UCLan SENS researchers Dr Swrajit Sarkar, Dr Stephanie Dillon, Dr Howard Hurst and others from the team about the impact and focus of their work.

The One Show's resident scientist Marty Jopson, Nick Arnold, author of the Horrible Science books, a giant inflatable planetarium and the first ever IncrEDIBLE Science Cake-Off - a baking competition with a science theme - were some of the highlights of LSF14, while the ever-popular Titan the Robot was also on campus to entertain the crowds.

Weighing in at a staggering 300kg, the eight foot super robot has taken audiences by storm with his unique concept of performance and has become a popular fixture at the Lancashire Science Festival.

UCLan was hosting the event for the third time, with large numbers of adults and children of all ages in attendance over the three days. To see highlights from the event please click here.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Professor presents at global gathering

Professor Nicola Lowe is set to present her research work at the Micronutrient Forum Global Conference being held in Ethiopia this week.

The Micronutrient Forum is a consultative group that brings together people from a wide array of sectors who share an interest in reducing micronutrient malnutrition and Professor Lowe has been invited to present her findings from her collaborative project carried out in Pakistan with the Abaseen Foundation.

To view the project summary please click here.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Académica de Coimbra welcome UCLan SENS

UCLan SENS' Dr Howard Hurst is currently in Portugal working with one of the country's top football teams.

Dr Hurst has accompanied Master of Research student Matt Beenham to Académica de Coimbra to look at the effectiveness of small-sided training games in football for replicating match intensities.

The duo are conducting a series of tests on the squad who finished eighth in Primeira Liga last season.

To find out more about Dr Hurst please click here.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Research paper scoops top award

Sport Technology Course Leader Dr Jonathan Sinclair has received a prestigious award from the Journal of Human Kinetics.

Dr Sinclair's collaboration with Dr Paul Taylor from UCLan's School of Psychology and Dr Lindsay Bottoms from the University of East London saw them awarded Paper of the Year 2013 from the Journal’s committee.

The paper, entitled 'The Appropriateness of the Helical Axis Technique and Six Available Cardan Sequences for the Representation of 3-D Lead Leg Kinematics During the Fencing Lunge', was the culmination of work carried out in our biomechanics laboratory in Darwin Building.

Dr Sinclair & Dr Bottoms conduct extensive research into Fencing – both biomechanics and physiology - and have strong links to British Fencing, with Dr Bottoms representing GB in the sport.

To access the paper please click here.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Student travels Down Under with Warriors

Mark (centre) with Sean O'Loughlin & Pat Richards
PhD student Mark Quinn travelled to the World Club Challenge in Australia as part of a research collaboration between UCLan SENS, Wigan Warriors and the Rugby Football League (RFL).

The World Club Challenge is an annual rugby league football match played between the champion clubs of the Australasian National Rugby League and the European Super League.

Wigan have won the Challenge three times and after securing the League and Cup double in 2013 they earned the right to play Sydney Roosters in this year’s competition.

We spoke to Mark on his return to the UK to find out more:

"I'm currently Warriors' Head of Sports Science. The purpose of the trip was to travel with the team to assist with preparations leading up to the game and during it.

"I also conducted a piece of research on behalf of UCLan, looking into the physiological demands of the World Club Challenge.

"This is one of the greatest challenges you can face as a rugby league player, not simply because it’s a game between the two best club sides in the world, but through the various demands placed on the athletes.

"They travel through 12 time zones, play rugby under a different climate (from a freezing UK winter to the end of an Australian summer) and are away from family, friends and home comforts for over two weeks.

"The research assessed the effects of some of these demands. Global Positioning System (GPS) data was collected for the World Club Challenge game.

"This is an athlete tracking system that provides us with information on the distance covered, speeds run at, number of accelerations, information on collision and physical contact. We can compare this data against regular Super League, NRL and international rugby league games.

"To look into the effect of training and travel, players completed daily wellbeing questionnaires to assess their body soreness, their quality of sleep and general mood.

"Urine osmolality testing assessed the hydration status of the players which became a particular concern due to the warm weather.

"Importantly the trip helped to build relationships with NRL teams in order to further assess the physical demands of rugby league through seasonal assessments of GPS data.

"Furthermore, there will be a full analysis of the tour itinerary, the recovery methods in travel & training, the diet & supplementation and wellbeing of players to identify the best methods to be optimally prepared for a game of this standard.

"Despite Wigan losing the game this research will hopefully help future teams in the preparation of long distance tours in the future."

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

UCLan SENS research spans the globe

Professor Nicola Lowe's research activities continue to take her across the globe. During the past two weeks Professor Lowe has attended meetings in Bulgaria and the USA, submitting presentations on the progress of her work.

Professor Lowe's first trip saw her travel to Plovdiv, Bulgaria, to meet with fellow chairs of the COST Action Network.

The meeting was a chance for around 40 COST Action leaders from across Europe to meet and discuss developments within their Networks.

Professor Lowe chairs Zinc-Net - a European Commission funded project looking at the role of zinc in human biochemistry and physiology.

Next stop was the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Washington DC, USA, to meet with the BOND panels to report on their respective findings to the project coordinators.

Professor Lowe is one of five international experts on the 'zinc' panel. Other expert panels include Iron, Iodine, Folate, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin A. She presented the recommendations of the Zinc panel regarding current biomarkers for zinc (to measure human zinc status) and areas for future research and development.

For more details about the BOND project please click here.

Monday, 5 May 2014

UCLan SENS carries out cycle study

UCLan SENS is conducting research into the physiological and biomechanical influence of different Mountain Bike wheel sizes.

There is currently a lot of industry debate as to which wheel size 26", 27.5" or 29" is most efficient, therefore the Division is trying to determine this in a controlled simulated race environment. The study is being supported by US-based Santa Cruz Bicycles who have provided three bikes to test on.

Testing is set to take place at the National Cycling Centre MTB trail in Manchester, and will involve Cross Country MTB racers completing a series laps on each of the three wheel sizes whilst being monitored on oxygen uptake, energy expenditure, speed and muscle activity.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Graduate looks to expand his business

Our programmes provide a platform to many varied careers and opportunities.

UCLan SENS graduate Sam Marsh recently received national exposure for his invention which turned a tyre into a high intensity interval training device. The Jigsaw Flipper was subsequently incorporated into Wigan Warriors Academy teams' training sessions. We spoke to Sam to find about more.

Tell us about your time at UCLan and why people should study here?

The University is fantastic - big enough to feel like it's a great institution, but small enough that you seem to know everyone. I had the pleasure of playing Rugby Union during my time there and I'll stay in touch with the team for the rest of my life.

I graduated with a 2:1 in Sport and Exercise Science, and enjoyed a placement at McLaren's Formula 1 team in the health and wellbeing centre during my studies which inspired my dissertation topic. UCLan is like no other University.

I've never heard of lecturers who will happily meet with you outside of lectures and are generally happy to help with any problems you may face - plus their knowledge is incredible.

What did you enjoy?

The family feel of the campus and how there was never a dull moment. Joining the Rugby team was by far the best thing I did - I had the pleasure of being part of the team for three years. My course was fantastic and gave me the knowledge I needed to go off on my own and start my company.

What are you doing now?

I'm currently the Managing Director of Jigsaw Fitness Ltd. We design and build innovative fitness equipment for anyone from athletes to inactive people. We aim to engage through competition and by generating scores during functional training sessions. I started the company during my 2nd year at UCLan in 2012 and have since taken three products to market. We currently have some very exciting clients including the English institute of Sport.

What sort of challenges do you face?

I'm constantly questioned about the size of my company and if it will be able to sustain a large order which it certainly can! The business is relatively new to me, so I'm learning everything as I go along. I have a great support network around me including Neil Simpson from the UCLan Northern Lights team. He's incredibly helpful and always understands when I have a mad idea.

I'm also very lucky to have a father who is an entrepreneur - he is fantastically intelligent and guides me through everything. He also studied at UCLan and now has an international market-leading fuel management company.

What do you like about your role?

I love the freedom it allows me - I get to work from wherever I want. There are obviously drawbacks, but I'm very strong minded and love to be creative and innovative in whatever I do.

Working for someone wouldn't be the right thing, because I'd be a nightmare. Every day I'm building towards my goal and hopefully making a difference. The only person that can stop me is me.

What are your long-term aspirations?

I have many more ideas for other companies, and I'm aiming to launch my second later this year. I'd love to be able to have made a difference, by inspiring inactive people who find exercise boring to give it a go and have some fun with our equipment.

My industry is currently fairly stagnant and innovation seems to come in the form of fitting Social Media to products, rather than allowing the user to enjoy moving and using the product itself.

I’d like to be successful with what I've done, by building some truly remarkable products and experiences for people to enjoy. I have so many ideas of things I want to do across such a wide selection of markets. It's a very exciting time and I'd like to thank UCLan for its input along my journey.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Sport Science students visit Cyprus campus

A group of Sport Science students recently visited UCLan Cyprus.

The five day trip was headed by Course Leader Dave Fewtrell and was designed to allow the 25-strong group to undertake pre-planned field tests.

After spending their mornings on campus, the group spent time at the football/athletics field and beach delivering their tests during the week.

Undergraduate Joshua Parr kindly provided feedback from the trip: "For the majority of the time, all 25 of us spent meal times and free time together. At the start of the trip there were quite a few unfamiliar faces, but by the end everyone pretty much had a nickname for each other.

"It was a very successful trip with an amazing group of people who were willing to be very welcoming and social with one another. It’s definitely a must-do for any UCLan student who has the opportunity to travel abroad for some overseas learning. Many thanks to the tutors who looked after us, they did a great job."

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

UCLan SENS deliver new training programme

UCLan SENS have teamed up with Preston City Council to develop and deliver a Level 3 evidence-based training programme in Nutrition.

Certified by the Association for Nutrition, The Shape Up in the Community (SUiC) Healthy Lifestyle Training Programme is designed to improve knowledge and understanding of the importance of nutrition as it relates to a healthy lifestyle in adults, and to develop key skills required for effective delivery of Community Healthy Lifestyle Programmes to adults.

For more information please click here or email Stephanie Dillon.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Professor's globetrotting research continues

UCLan SENS' Professor Nicola Lowe has been racking up the air miles as her research activities continue apace.

Professor Lowe recently visited Pakistan as part of her collaborative project with the Abaseen Foundation.

Funded by The Wellcome Trust, Dr Lowe led the research exploring the role of the Jirga (a traditional tribal judicial system comprised of male community members) in engaging the community with health and nutrition related research.

The team also set a research and development agenda that meets the needs and priorities of the community, especially those of the mothers and children. The trip was an opportunity to finalise the report and findings.

UCLan has worked with the charity for over 10 years, undertaking research that underpins the charity’s service developments to improve access to good quality and affordable health care, education, and to seek solutions to chronic malnutrition which affect quality of life amongst the population.

Professor Lowe also chaired the first Zinc-Net scientific working group in Budapest, Hungary. The hugely successful launch event featured over 60 distinguished speakers from Europe and the USA.

Zinc-Net, the 'Network for zinc in Biology', received £500,000 from the European Commission to fund research over the next four years into the role of zinc in human biochemistry and physiology.

Professor Lowe and Zinc-Net have also been featured in Research Media's flagship publication 'International Innovation' - to view the article please click here.

For more details about Professor Lowe please click here.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

UCLan help Warrriors gear up for new season

UCLan has been helping double winning Wigan Warriors prepare for the defence of their rugby league titles.

The Super League and Tetley's Challenge Cup holders are back in training and have been put through intensive pre-season fitness tests by staff and students from the Centre for Applied Sport and Exercise Science (CASES).

The Warriors players were subjected to a range of physiological checks, including the gruelling VO2 max assessment which pushes the athlete to exhaustion to test their aerobic endurance.

Warriors have visited UCLan for fitness testing for the last four years, and the session comes on the back of a demanding pre-season training camp in Florida ahead of their opening Super League game against Huddersfield on 7 February.

Head Coach Shaun Wane was on hand to watch the players' assessments: "Wigan have won six trophies in four years following a very thorough pre-season fitness regime. The scientific tests performed allow us to tailor individual training programmes for the players and over the last few years we have set a very high endurance standard, which can give us an edge going into the new season.

"I'm really impressed not only with the top quality facilities, but also with the professionalism and expertise of all the staff and students we have worked with today."

The test day enabled our undergraduate Sports Science students to gain practitioner experience in working with professional athletes and gave an insight into the practical developments of elite sports players. Several students, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, have also worked with the Super League club alongside their studies.

Division Leader Dr Steve Atkins said: "We are proud of our long-running and mutually beneficial relationship with Wigan Warriors. It provides our students with a fantastic opportunity to work with elite athletes and gain valuable experience that will be an asset when applying for jobs within the industry."

The fitness tests are part of an on-going sponsorship deal UCLan has as the 'official university' of the Super League club. The Warriors also benefit from video analysis support and a number of university degree places for its players and staff.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

SENS staff join landmark cryotherapy study

UCLan Sport Exercise and Nutritional Science research staff joined forces with colleagues from the university's Division of Physiotherapy and Sports Therapy to conduct an innovative and ground-breaking international study into whole body cryotherapy (WBC) exposure.

Working in conjunction with top rugby league club Wigan Warriors and BOC, the UK's leading handler of cryogenic gases, the group aimed to determine the physiological changes that may occur during WBC exposure.

Dr Steve Atkins and Dr Stephanie Dillon joined Professor James Selfe, Karen May, Dr Howard Hurst and Nigel Garratt in the study which also extended to the Southern Hemisphere, with world leading cryotherapy researcher Dr Joseph Costello continuing a previous collaboration with Professor Selfe.

Currently based at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at Queensland University of Technology, Australia, Dr Costello's expertise in this field is exceptional.Despite becoming popular among athletes, coaches and clinicians, research into WBC is minimal regarding its use in rehabilitation, conditioning and recovery. The study aimed to identify the effectiveness of WBC looking at dose and physiological response.

During three days of testing at Warriors' training ground in Orrell, the first-team squad used the UK’s first mobile BOC-supplied cryotherapy chamber.Project coordinator Jill Alexander was tasked with processing the data and preparing the results for publication: "I had a huge multidisciplinary team of people to organise from all the participants," said Jill.

"The data collection was a huge success in the way the testing protocol was executed among the whole team of researchers, BOC specialist operators and the Wigan Warriors players and coaching staff. We could not have completed the study without everyone's overwhelming commitment."

The results have been published in PloS One Journal and can be viewed here.