Senior Lecturer in Physiology, Exercise and Nutrition, University of Stirling

Trained as a geneticist, Colin now works in a cross-disciplinary setting within the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport where his research focuses on answering the question, "Why are we not all the same?" He aims to understand how genetic, epigenetic and environmental variations interact and contribute to the development of metabolic disease, ageing related diseases, exercise capacity and athletic ability in humans. To achieve this Colin collaborates with social scientists, geneticists, sports scientists, nutritionists and statisticians both internally and externally. His Physiological Epigenetics Research Group uses cutting edge molecular techniques to analyse samples collected in the state-of-the-art physiological testing facilities within the School or at the research facilities of his collaborators in the UK and abroad. His work has highlighted cases where the size of the environmental influence on particular phenotypes (e.g. the relationship between exercise level and weight) varies by genotype (i.e. exercise is more important for certain genotype groups than others). This work has now developed to understanding the control of gene expression through DNA methylation and microRNA expression. The impact of this work is a step towards the personalised medicine promised by the completion of the Human Genome Project. Ultimately, this information will allow the appropriate targeting of limited resources to the individuals who will benefit most from them, potentially altering the practice of diverse groups including Government, medics and personal trainers. Colin is also involved in a number of public engagement projects and has previously been involved in policy work.

Experience

  • –present
    Lecturer in Sport, Health and Exercise Science, University of Stirling