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Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism

Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism

Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism

The Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism research group is internationally recognised for its research in two broad areas:

Skeletal muscle bioenergetics, and oxygen delivery and utilisation, as modulators of exercise (in)tolerance in health and disease.

A key focus of our research is on the mechanistic underpinnings of pulmonary oxygen uptake dynamics and the power-duration relationship. Our extensive applied physiology research encompasses a broad range of topics including exercise test diagnostics and prognostics, pacing strategies, prior exercise, nutritional ergogenic aids and training interventions.

» Publications on skeletal muscle bioenergetics, and oxygen delivery and utilisation 

Therapeutic and ergogenic applications of manipulating nitric oxide bioavailability via dietary interventions.

We are interested in how diets rich in inorganic nitrate (such as ‘5-a-day’, Mediterranean, or DASH diets) may benefit physical and cognitive wellbeing across the lifespan, and how host-microbiome interactions may influence the benefits that can be derived from a healthy diet. Our research has contributed to a compelling evidence base for inorganic nitrate as one of the few effective dietary supplements to enhance sports performance.

» Publications on manipulating nitric oxide bioavailability via dietary interventions  

Research themes

Research capabilities


  • Fully equipped state-of-the-art exercise physiology and resting metabolism laboratories
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance compatible exercise ergometry to enable non-invasive assessment of muscle bioenergetics and blood flow with high temporal resolution during exercise.
  • Field based exercise performance testing and consultancy.
  • Facilities to conduct long term exercise training interventions.
  • Research kitchen and specialised nutritional databases to implement controlled and individualised short and long-term dietary interventions.

Indicative studies:

Analytical expertise

  • Cardiopulmonary exercise testing. Watch us perform a lactate threshold test.
  • VO2 kinetics
  • Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) for non-invasive assessment of muscle oxygenation
  • Intravenous infusion of pharmaceutical agents
  • Ozone based chemiluminescence for the measurement of nitric oxide biomarkers (inc. nitrate, nitrite, s-nitrosothiols)
  • High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) for the measurement of compounds of interest (inc. arginine, citrulline, cysteine and glutathione, plus many more)
  • Western-blotting for assessing the expression of proteins in tissue homogenates
  • Enzymatic assays for muscle metabolite and enzyme activity
  • Muscle fibre typing
  • Bioenergetics analyses for microbiome-host interactions

Our analytical capabilities are extended by the following facilities and collaborators:

Clinical Research Facility and Clinical Trials Unit

  • Bespoke clinical trials facilities and trial support at the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS site
  • Assessment of vascular health, including flow-mediated dilatation and pulse-wave velocity

Sequencing Unit

  • State of the art genomics and bioinformatics analysis using Illumina (HiSeq and MiSeq), PacBio (Sequel and RSII) and Oxford Nanopore Technologies (Minion) sequencing technologies. Sequencing Unit website.

Bioimaging Unit

  • Optical, laser and electron microscopes to enable advanced cellular imaging techniques to be applied in histochemical samples obtained from muscle biopsies. Bioimaging Unit website.

Mass Spectrometry Facility

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Unit

  • NMR compatible ergometry
  • 31P- and 1H-MRS
  • Skeletal muscle and brain blood flow and perfusion (ASL, T2*).
Team members
Professor Andy Jones Professor of Applied Physiology
Professor Anni Vanhatalo  Professor of Human Physiology
Dr Matthew Black Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Joanna L’Heureux Graduate Research Assistant 
Jamie Blackwell Experimental Officer
6 postgraduate students (PhD & MRes) and 22 alumni
Contact us

For enquiries, please contact Andy Jones:

Find us on Twitter and ResearchGate

Andy Jones

Anni Vanhatalo

Matthew Black