My PhD thesis began during my appointment as the first Research Physiologist at the British Olympic Medical Centre (now the Olympic Medical Institute) in collaboration with the Department of Biochemistry at Oxford University (c/o Professor EA Newsholme and LM Castell). As a former International sportsman (football and athletics), my thesis focused on the factors that limit systemic oxygen transport and subsequent implications for human exercise performance.
Shortly thereafter, I was appointed Senior Lecturer at the University of Glamorgan where I developed the Hypoxia Research Laboratory focusing on the source, mechanisms and consequences of free radical formation in hypoxia with a specific interest in O2 delivery and how this impacts the human cerebral circulation. This laboratory is equipped with an environmental chamber that can simulate the high-altitude environment and state-of-the-art molecular techniques that include electron paramagnetic (EPR) spectroscopy and ozone-based chemiluminescence for the detection of reactive oxygen-nitrogen species. This has provided a complementary laboratory-based arm to a variety of field-based research expeditions conducted at terrestrial high-altitude (http://www.adinstruments.com/news/091208/University-of-Glamorgan-Takes-Neurovascular-Research——PowerLab—to-New-Heights/research/).
Following promotion to Reader, I worked with Professors RS Richardson and PD Wagner (University of California San Diego) to examine the basic mechanisms associated with free radical formation in human skeletal muscle. Using state-of-the-art techniques for the direct detection of free radicals and MRS-based measurement of intracellular PO2 in hypoxia, we identified that free radical “release” across the contracting skeletal muscle bed is inversely related to intracellular oxygenation and not simply due to increased (mitochondrial) electron flux. Similar approaches have been applied to measure free radical exchange across the hypoxic (and indeed exercising) human brain and lung during research sabbaticals spent at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark (c/o Professors BK Pedersen, K Moller and NH Secher) and University of Heidelberg, Germany (c/o Professor P Bärtsch). These experiments have provided unique insight into the basic mechanisms responsible for the oxidative-nitrosative-inflammatory stress typically encountered by different patient groups characterised by arterial hypoxaemia.
My current position as a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award Holder is Professor of Physiology and Biochemistry at the University of South Wales where I am Director of the Research Institute of Health & Wellbeing. My research group (Neurovascular Research Laboratory) is interested in how free radicals (for good or bad) impact upon the cerebral circulation across the spectrum of health and (mostly atherosclerotic) disease.