FST22: Pushing at the edges of human performance: Adaptation to Heat and Exercise Performance

Chronic exposure to a stressor elicits adaptations enhancing the tolerance to that stressor. These adaptive responses might also improve tolerance under less stressful conditions. For example, historically there has been much interest in the adaptive responses to high-altitude, or hypoxia, and their ergogenic potential under sea-level or normoxic conditions. In contrast, the influence of the adaptive responses to heat on exercise under cooler conditions has received relatively little interest. Heat acclimation (HA) is known to increase work capacity in hot environments. Yet, aerobic exercise performance can progressively deteriorate as ambient temperature increases beyond ≅10 °C, indicating a thermal limitation even under relatively cool conditions. Unfortunately, the mechanism responsible for heat acclimation remains elusive. Moreover, the suite of adaptations elicited by HA may be ergogenic even under conditions where performance is not thermally limited. Potentially, once understood the mediators of this adaptation, they could be managed to reduce the progressive deterioration of aerobic performance in environments where temperature is higher than 10 °C. Therefore this project aims to find biochemical and genetic changes at intracellular level to induce HA and to Implement dietary and physical training strategies to induce ergogenic effects even under conditions where performance is not thermally limited.

The student will receive training in relevant techniques/technologies and gain expertise in a number of key project planning and analytical research and subject specific skills. The student will also take part in the University Graduate School and Faculty Doctoral Research Development Programme (DRDP) including transferable skills (eg presentation skills, scientific writing and employability skills) which aid in their future career progression. The student will also be encouraged to join relevant learned societies, which provide excellent support for students in terms of training opportunities and meetings to disseminate and publish their research.

Further enquiries

Please contact Dr Alberto Dolci, [email protected].


5pm on 10 February 2017

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Applications should be made to the Life Sciences MPhil/PhD programme and you should clearly state that you are applying for a Quintin Hogg Trust Scholarship and the Scholarship code (eg FST1) on your application.

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