Undergraduate students in the lab

Exercise physiology

Teaching laboratories

The exercise physiology teaching laboratories are located in Richards Building and are predominantly used for practical classes and individual data collection activities for dissertations. The School also has dedicated research laboratories used primarily by staff and postgraduates, although undergraduates may use them for dissertation work, or as research assistants or participants.

Our laboratories are equipped with:

  • Lode cycle ergometers
  • Monark cycle ergometers
  • Biodex isokinetic dynamometer
  • Woodway treadmills
  • Non-motorised treadmill
  • Cortex on-line gas analyser
  • Capillary blood sampling analysers used in exercise testing
  • Bioelectrical impedance analysers for body composition analysis
  • Anthropometrical equipment
  • ECG analysers
  • Blood pressure monitors.

Research laboratories

The college has a number of specialist research facilities for exercise physiology, located in the Baring Court building. 

Exercise physiology laboratories

The exercise physiology laboratories are used to study the temporal characteristics of oxygen uptake and assess the metabolic costs of activities using sophisticated movement sensors. They are equipped with treadmills and electronically braked cycle ergometers for exercise tests and breath by breath expiratory gas analysers. Other measurements routinely made include muscle oxygenation using near infrared spectrophotometry and muscle activation using EMG.

Blood analysis laboratory

This facility is equipped for the storage and analysis of serum and whole blood samples for lactate, lipids, haemoglobin, haematocrit, electrolytes, and various proteins (specifically those involved in the endocrine and immune systems, muscle damage, inflammation and fluid regulatory proteins).

DEXA laboratory

The dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) laboratory allows the investigation of bone health and its relationship to exercise. It houses a Lunar Prodigy DEXA scanner. Current research is using MRI, DEXA, biochemical and biomechanical analyses to gain insights into bone health.

Body composition laboratory

This facility enables the analysis of body composition in relation to physical activity patterns, energy expenditure and diet. Body composition data are collected routinely through anthropometry, air displacement plethysmography (Bodpod), underwater weighing, and bioimpedance. Data collected is regularly supplemented using DEXA and MR techniques.

Vascular physiology laboratory

The vascular physiology laboratory focuses on the relationship between aerobic exercise, physical activity and vascular function. Non-invasive laser Doppler imaging techniques are used in association with iontophoretic technique of drug application to assess microvascular function. Adjacent laboratories are equipped with online gas analysis equipment for the assessment of aerobic fitness. This allows microvascular function to be assessed in the resting and exercised state.

MRI simulation laboratory

Housed within this laboratory is a full-size reproduction of an MRI scanner. This facility allows researchers to familiarize their research subjects with the MRI environment, and allows them to make measurements in a simulated MRI environment that cannot be made in the MRI itself.

Muscle strength laboratory

The muscle strength laboratory is equipped with an isokinetic dynamometer used for the measurement of muscle strength, power output and fatigue. These measurements may be correlated with muscle volume and cross-sectional area determined through MRI.

Magnetic resonance centre

Located within the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, a £1.2 million collaborative research grant with Physics and Psychology provided a research-dedicated whole body MR facility capable of dynamic imaging of physiological processes, including muscle metabolism and cardiac dynamics. The development of MR spectroscopy allows the pursuit of lines of enquiry not previously possible with healthy children.

Magnetic Stimulation Unit

We have both transcranial and muscular stimulation available.