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UOA 12B - Allied Health Professions and Studies: Biomedical Sciences

Manchester Metropolitan University

RA5a: Research environment and esteem




This submission (12b) is one of two from Manchester Metropolitan University in UoA 12.  Following RAE 2001 the University (MMU) took a strategic decision to focus its successful research into ten autonomous Research Institutes each with a devolved budget. MMU also made a major commitment to develop further its portfolio of research in Biomedical and Health Sciences.


Thus the Institute for Biomedical Research into Human Movement and Health (IRM) was formed around a highly successful core group of biomedical science researchers (12.3 FTE) with an international reputation and strong links to physiotherapy, gerontology, rehabilitation, and orthopaedics. The group achieved 5* (later upgraded to “6*”) rating in RAE 2001 with a submission in the area of fundamental and applied biomedical and neuromuscular sciences but within UoA69. Since 2001, and in line with University strategy, IRM research has been focussed on developments in the field of Biomedical Sciences related to Allied Health Professions and Studies: this has been supported by targeted recruitment which has increased the IRM category A staff from 12.3 to 29.8 FTE including 11 Early Career Researchers (ECR).


Philosophy and Aims

The philosophy of the IRM is succinctly summarized by the maxim of one of the father figures of biomedical sciences, Sir Joseph Barcroft (1872-1947), that: “Exercise is not a mere variant of rest … it is the essence of the human machine,” and thus the IRM Research Institute is committed to the study of human movement “in sickness and in health” and “from the cradle to the grave”.


To this end the IRM carries out research into normal and disordered human movement and health, integrating knowledge from different disciplines, and applying and disseminating that knowledge to health professionals, academics, and the public.

IRM research addresses the following inter-linked questions which are primarily, but not exclusively, associated with the research group indicated in brackets.


How does the capability for human movement change over the life span?

(Growth, Disuse and Ageing)


How do muscle and other cells grow, regenerate, and degenerate?

(Molecular and Cell Biology)


How are blood vessels formed and tissues perfused?

(Angiogenesis and Vascular Biology)


How do muscle cells generate and sustain mechanical output?

(Neuromuscular Function)


How is the mechanical output of muscle translated into movement?

(Musculo-skeletal Mechanics)


How is that movement controlled by the central nervous system?

(Neural and Visual control of Movement)


How can vulnerable populations be protected against infection?

(Infection and Immunity)



The research environment has seen significant developments since 2001 and compares very favourably with similar internationally recognised groups in terms of physical and human infrastructure. The IRM has developed a distinctive identity with a balance between fundamental and translational research, which embraces a wide range of international and national collaborations. The flow of visiting staff and research students between IRM and its partners around the world creates a vibrant environment with many training opportunities for research students and early career researchers (ECR) ensuring continuity and sustainable research activity.


Since RAE 2001 the University has greatly expanded its teaching portfolio in Health Sciences. Increased undergraduate provision in Biomedical Science and Clinical Physiology, together with the arrival of one of the largest schools of physiotherapy in the country, have resulted in the development of postgraduate studies for health-care professionals including the introduction of Professional Doctorates, and an increasing number of research students supervised by IRM members.


Research Students and research studentships

Support and Training for Research Students:

The international character of IRM, in combination with the world-class research facilities and staff, has attracted excellent students who have made a major contribution to the research culture and the field in general. In the period 2001-2007 there were 38 PhD and 16 Masters (Research) degrees awarded. There are currently 39 research students being supervised (plus 15 students writing-up).  


Many IRM students spend time working abroad with one of our collaborating institutions. Furthermore, as part of the formal partnership agreement with the Vrije University, Amsterdam, three MMU students have now been awarded a ‘European Double Doctorate’ having been examined first in MMU, and subsequently in Amsterdam in a public defence before an international panel. Six current students will complete the ‘European Double Doctorate’, which requires that supervision and a significant part of the research programme has been pursued in two or more EU countries.


MMU has a well-developed system of induction, support and monitoring of research students who are carefully integrated into the IRM research programme. They are assessed annually and are required to record all supervisory meetings in a log-book. Students attend a weekly IRM seminar at which staff and students give regular progress reports on their research. There is a range of visiting speakers, and seminars are given on advanced data analysis, software tools and statistical techniques. Students are also given experience of attending and presenting at major international conferences with support from an IRM ‘ring-fenced’ conference budget. There is a wide range of University support courses specifically for postgraduate students. The support and training given to these young researchers is best reflected in the quality of the publications (typically 4-5) from their PhD theses, including experimental and review papers in some of the most prestigious journals in the field.


Research Studentships:

External support for studentships has come from BBSRC, EU Framework-V, Foreign Government, European Space Agency (ESA), Cerebra (charity ‘for brain damaged children and young people’), and Chugai Pharmaceutical. Additionally, the University supports fully funded studentships awarded on a competitive basis to underpin its research portfolio and last year six full-time PhD studentships were awarded to the IRM. The IRM aims to achieve a minimal 2:1 research student to staff ratio in 2008/9 using a combination of MMU and externally funded studentships.



Research Income


External funding

The Research Institute has been building external research income since 2001 and has generated £2,200,000 audited through MMU, including grants from: BBSRC; The Joint Research Councils’ NDA and SPARC initiatives; Action Medical Research; Cerebra; and EU Framework V (“Physical Frailty and loss of functional independence in old age”) the latter programme being co-ordinated by MMU-IRM. Since the close of the audit period a Wellcome Grant (£310,000) has been awarded. Other major MMU-IRM applications are pending, including: EU Framework 7 (translational research into age-related muscle weakness); two applications to ‘New Dynamics of Ageing (NDA)’; and a short-listed bid for a ‘MRC Centre of Excellence in Life-long Health and Well-being’ in partnership with Manchester University. The IRM has a strategic target of increasing its external research income by 50% over the next two years encouraged by a ‘matched funding’ incentive to research groups, and ‘seed-corn’ funding of research to enable full grant applications to be formulated.


In addition to external funding audited through MMU, research output has been supported by external funds of £7,700,000 audited though its collaborators, and on which IRM staff have been named applicants and investigators. Taken together with the funding audited through MMU this amounts to something in the region of £261,000 per FTE (including ECRs). Externally audited funding is summarised in the list below:






IRM staff

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship

Birmingham Univ




European Space Agency

Karolinska Inst

and Turin




Wellcome Program. Grant and Prize Studentship

Bristol Univ





Bristol Univ




Action Med Research

Bristol Univ




Dutch Res. Council

Vrije Univ




EC Archibald Project

Vrije Univ




Assoc. International Cancer Research

Bristol Univ




Diabetes UK

Bristol Univ




Diabetes Research & Wellness Fund

Bristol Univ




Swiss National Science Foundation

Berne Univ




Defence Evaluation & Research Agency

Birmingham Univ




Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

Birmingham Univ




Food Standards Agency

Ulster Univ




PENED/PRAXE(Greek Secretariat of Research & Technology)

Ministry of Development




Europ. Space Agency





EU Framework V

EU Universities




MRC  Grant

Bristol Univ




BBVA Foundation Chair in Clinical Biomedicine

ICCC ST Pau Hospital Barcelona




Wellcome Trust Programme Grant

Manchester Univ




Action Medical Research

Keele Univ




GSRT Greek Ministry of Development

Thessaly Centre for Research and Technology



Baltzopoulos and Maganaris


Manchester University



Sargeant, Baltzopoulos

Plus 23 smaller grants from various bodies amounting to £542,684



Research Structure


Research Groups:

The constituent research groups constitute an inter-linked and multi-disciplinary approach.  Ageing and disuse of the musculo-skeletal system is a major theme which is addressed in Research Group 1, (RG1: Growth, Disuse and Ageing). In RG2 (Molecular and Cell Biology) the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling muscle growth and stem cell proliferation and differentiation are studied, and a similar study of the control of blood vessel growth is the topic of RG3 (Angiogenesis and Vascular Biology).  RG4 (Neuromuscular Function) moves up a level of organisation to consider muscle function at the tissue level, and the control and patterns of recruitment and fatigue. To understand movement it is essential to study muscle in combination with tendon and joint mechanics and this is the topic of RG5 (Musculo-skeletal Mechanics), and neither can it be separated from the complex control mechanisms which rely on visual and sensory feedback that are studied in RG6 (Neural and Visual control of Movement).  An important issue for elderly and other vulnerable populations is addressed in RG7 (Infection and Immunity) where research is pursued into wound healing, inflammatory responses, and the problems of detecting and avoiding a number of common infectious agents.


RG1: Growth, Disuse and Ageing

Marco V Narici, Jörn Rittweger, Nessar Ahmed, Olivier Seynnes (ECR), Keith Winwood (ECR), Gladys Onambele (ECR)

This research group studies the plasticity of the human musculoskeletal system throughout the life span with an emphasis on the effects of: ageing; disuse consequent upon bed-rest, immobilisation and micro-gravity; and increased use exemplified by rehabilitation and training. Changes in muscle architecture, tendon stiffness, bone geometry and strength have been studied, together with the mechanisms and effect of therapeutic interventions and their impact on locomotory performance. In collaboration with RG5 this group coordinated the EU Framework V study on muscle frailty and a BBSRC project on locomotory performance in the elderly. In collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), the effects of disuse and bed-rest have been studied together with various countermeasures that may prevent or minimise the muscle and bone wasting that occurs. The role of glycation and other post-translational modifications upon tissue properties as the mediator of ageing effects is also studied. Recently the cellular events relating to disuse atrophy have been elucidated with a human leg suspension model while at the opposite end of the continuum from disuse, but nevertheless informing those studies, is research into the effect of maintaining very high levels of activity as exemplified by Masters Athletes.

Main Achievements: The group has shown that both sarcopaenia and disuse-atrophy (induced by prolonged bed rest and lower limb suspension) involve alterations in muscle architecture with consequences for muscle mechanical output. In addition age-related and disuse-related deterioration in bone and tendon mechanical properties have been quantified and the reversibility of these changes with appropriate interventions demonstrated. This research is important for orthopaedic rehabilitation and the management of older people immobilised by accident or illness.



RG2: Molecular and Cell Biology

Claire Stewart, Pat Kumar, Bill Gilmore, Martin Flück, Nasser Al Shanti (ECR) Mikahajlo Zubko (ECR)

Much of the work in this research group, which extends from yeast through rodent to human cells and tissues, is concerned with fundamental signalling pathways but all aspects are relevant to understanding disease processes and changes that occur across the lifespan. Group members have extensive national and international research collaborations with Switzerland and France (Flück), Bristol and USA (Stewart) and Ulster (Gilmore).  Within the group there is a common interest in factors that regulate tissue growth and repair either of muscle fibres responding to changing workloads or of muscle and mesenchymal stem cells responding to changes in their hormonal and cytokine milieu.  Flück is concerned with the role of FAK as a key element linking mechanical and metabolic process in muscle fibres and brings special expertise in molecular biology and techniques for gene transfection. Stewart has made major advances in the isolation and characterisation of fat and muscle stem cells from children and is concerned with the interaction of growth factors and cytokines in regulating satellite cell proliferation and differentiation. Muscle activity is key to regulating fat metabolism and some aspects of the work are relevant to childhood obesity. In parallel with this, Kumar has pioneered a novel approach to determine the role of Pax3 in a variety of cancers including rhabdomyosarcoma. These researchers are applying systems biology approaches to questions concerned with the regulation of gene expression in relation to metabolic and physical stimuli which are relevant to ageing and rehabilitation.

Main Achievements: The group has made major advances in developing methods of human muscle and fat cell isolation, proliferation and differentiation. Optimisation of these technologies has facilitated the temporal investigation of ‘local’ cellular responses in peripheral metabolic tissues in both health and disease. It provides technologies for screening and evaluating the impact of specific products/treatments in age and tissue-specific human cell models. The development of muscle-targeted somatic gene therapy (rodent) and custom microarrays by this group has facilitated the manipulation and the study of the molecular regulators of striated muscle in vivo. Haematological investigations during pregnancy are important for policy on folate supplementation aimed at preventing developmental complications. Studies on haematopoietic cells have demonstrated a role for Annexin II in the treatment of acute leukaemias.


RG3: Angiogenesis and Vascular Biology

Mark Slevin, Shant Kumar, John Gaffney, May Azzawi (ECR) and Sabine Matou (ECR)

The research of this group is focussed on understanding the fundamental mechanisms that lead to blood vessel formation. Increased perfusion is a necessary response to restore or increase tissue function, as for example, in muscle during rehabilitation following bed-rest, in the brain following stroke, or in wound healing. Nevertheless there can also be problems associated with increased microvessel formation in diseases, such as, proliferative diabetic retinopathy, atherosclerosis and in solid tumour growth. Understanding the molecular processes involved in modulating new blood vessel formation could lead to improved recovery where increased perfusion is desirable but also more efficient therapies to treat conditions where angiogenesis is a problem.

Main Achievements: Included the demonstration of the pro-angiogenic properties of naturally occurring sulphated polysaccharides. Identification of Opticin as an inhibitor of angiogenesis associated with diabetic retinopathy and of CD105 as a major receptor of active endothelial cells, its involvement in TGF- signalling pathways and its potential as a vascular target to image renal and colorectal tumours in humans.  Changes in hyaluronan biosynthesis in the brain after ischaemic stroke have been demonstrated as has normal prion protein and C-reactive protein expression in neo-vasculature of unstable carotid atherosclerosis.


RG4: Neuromuscular Function

Hans Degens, Anthony J Sargeant, Arnold de Haan, David A Jones, Christopher Morse (ECR)

Members of this research group are primarily concerned with the biochemical and neuromuscular mechanisms which ultimately determine the mobility of an individual.  A feature of the group is the use of a wide range of techniques and preparations, from genetically modified mice to the whole human being, from studies on the contractile properties of isolated single muscle fibres to the perception of exertion as a component of central fatigue. The major areas of research concern the recruitment and patterns of use of muscle fibre types (Sargeant & de Haan); the mechanisms underlying fatigue (Jones); and the effects of use, disuse and inflammatory conditions on muscle size and function (Degens & Morse).  The group forms a link between the molecular and cell biology groups and the overarching interest of the IRM in the effects of disuse, training, disease, growth and ageing on health and mobility.

Main Achievements: The development of a micro-dissection technique combined with measurement of the phosphocreatine/creatine ratio as an indicator of recruitment in characterised single human muscle fibre fragments has shown that fatigue can be the result of selective fatigue of a small proportion of type II muscle fibres. In prolonged exercise the presence of a novel class of receptors in the mouth has been shown to play an important role in modulating central neural fatigue.


RG5: Musculoskeletal Mechanics

Vasilios Baltzopoulos, Costis N Maganaris, Neil Reeves (ECR)

While muscle generates the motive force, it acts through tendons and across joints.  This has important implications for understanding the limitations of the musculoskeletal system for various populations (e.g. the elderly) in demanding tasks (e.g. stair negotiation) and in pathological conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system (e.g. cerebral palsy). Using innovative imaging techniques and novel paradigms and models new insights have been gained into the biomechanical properties of tendons (Maganaris) and joints (Baltzopoulos) in human movement.  The work of the group complements much of that in RG1 (Physiology of Growth, Ageing and Disuse) and RG6 (Neural and Visual Control of Movement) concerning the interaction of muscle and tendon in maintaining balance.  There are also valuable collaborative links with the Vrije University, Amsterdam especially in the study of tripping. Some of the main applications concern stair negotiation, level walking, tripping and falls prevention in older adults where it has been shown that training older subjects improves the recovery of balance following a trip.  The effects of chronic disuse on tendon properties have been studied in spinal cord injury patients as have the effect of ageing and of training in older subjects.  The other main application of this research group relates to surgical interventions in cerebral palsy, where the purpose has been to establish the ultrasonography-based assessment of muscle-tendon length as an effective tool for treatment planning and monitoring.

Main Achievements: Include the discovery that elderly human tendons adapt to resistance exercise training by increasing their modulus of elasticity. Ultrasound techniques demonstrated that during walking calf muscles contract essentially isometrically close to their optima while tendon stretch and recoil favours energy economy. Important techniques to measure intrinsic human muscle strength in-vivo were developed enabling changes with disease, age, disuse, or rehabilitation to be accurately assessed.


RG6: Neural and Visual Control of Movement

Geert Savelsbergh, Dilwyn Marple-Horvat, Ian Loram (ECR)

This research group examines movement co-ordination and control, and how these change through learning and development, and in particular, the role and nature of visual information used in the regulation of movement. There are extensive national and international collaborations with colleagues at the Vrije University, Amsterdam, Bristol, Birmingham and Glasgow Universities.  The group studies motor behaviour (e.g. eye-movements, interceptive actions, balance and standing, locomotion and driving) and brain function in normal and special populations of children and adults (e.g. cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease and cerebellar patients). This research is relevant to the early detection and treatment/rehabilitation of developmental disturbances (e.g. setting up programmes for re-learning of complex tasks); to ergonomics and safety (e.g. eye movements and driving behaviour).

Main Achievements: Include paradigm shifting research showing that quiet human posture cannot be maintained by passive ankle stiffness, that the widely held stretch-reflex explanation for balance is inadequate, and formulating a new non-reflex theory. Research in cats has shown how cerebellar neurons encode motion of a visual target. In human cerebellar patients it was shown that simple eye movement rehearsal could make a major impact upon both eye movement and mobility. The importance of co-ordination between posture in walking and upper limb movement has been quantified and the decoupling associated with brain lesions identified. Thus important advances have been made in understanding fundamental principles of balance and the control of intentional movements which have exciting possibilities for applications in rehabilitation.


RG7: Infection and Immunity

Valerie Edwards-Jones, Andrew Fox, Maureen Dawson, Jason Ashworth (ECR)

As part of the IRM commitment to the promotion of life-long health and well-being this research group is focussed on understanding how pathogens are spread, and their rapid detection and prevention.  A greater understanding and application of real-time molecular diagnostic techniques has lead to conceptual advances in understanding the epidemiology and surveillance, prevention through vaccination and treatment of a number of medically important pathogens of significant public health concern, such as Neisseria meningitidis, MRSA, and Clostridium difficile. The research has been undertaken in collaboration with the Health Protection Agency (HPA) Manchester, Preston Microbiology Services and the HPA Centre for Infection, London. 

The interaction of wound dressings, topical antimicrobial agents, antibiotic resistant bacteria and host factors are being investigated as potential risk factors in the rare sequale of infection such as Toxic Shock Syndrome, in addition to their role in the development and prevention of chronic wounds. The antimicrobial effect of essential oils and their vapours are being studied as an alternative to conventional antimicrobials in order to help address the problem of emerging antibiotic resistance and a selection of blends are being developed as potential topical applications in catheters, dressings, creams and in diffusers for use in infection control for major pathogens (MRSA) involved in hospital acquired infections.

Main Achievements:  The development of our novel methods for non-culture detection, using real-time PCR to detect infectious agents causing food poisoning, septicaemia and meningitis from clinical specimens has been widely adopted. Hospital acquired infections are of serious concern and this research group has made major advances in understanding the spread of infection and in developing effective countermeasures. Demonstration that a steroid hormone precursor (DHEA) speeds up wound healing is of major therapeutic importance.


Mechanisms and Practices for Promoting and Sustaining Research

The devolved budget and autonomous nature of the Research Institute, which operates in parallel but separately from Faculty and Departmental structures, has guaranteed a strong research orientated culture. We are committed to providing a thriving and focussed environment in which ECRs can develop and high quality intellectual, human and financial investment is protected and sustained with an emphasis on maintaining depth in the IRM’s areas of expertise.


The IRM is led by a Director (Sargeant), who chairs the Research Institute Board comprised of:  representatives of each Research Group and the University Directorate; the Chief Technician; two student representatives; and an External Adviser (currently Professor P.E. di Prampero, University of Udine, Italy).


The IRM Board is responsible for reviewing scientific strategy; and approving staff appointments, studentships, allocation of devolved budgets to research groups, and the funding of core facilities. The IRM receives an allocated budget based on QR funding to cover research costs and salaries for some academic, technical and administrative staff.





The Research Institute has developed its dedicated research equipment infrastructure since 2001 with £1.3m in funding from HEFCE-SRIF1 (£400,000), HEFCE-SRIF3 (£672,000), and MRC-JREI (£237,000: with Salford and Manchester Universities). Together with major investment of over £2m in capital equipment from MMU this has allowed the creation of: 

Human Imaging Suite - including a research dedicated open coil MRI capable of scanning subjects in the upright and supine positions, 2D and 3D ultrasound scanners, and C-Arm X-ray video fluoroscope.

Exercise Rehabilitation and Training Suite equipped with a wide range of fitness and strength training equipment.

Osteoporosis and Bone Metabolism Laboratory equipped with DEXA and PcQT scanners; diamond saws, bone histology, and materials property testing equipment.

Cerebral Palsy and Motor Control Laboratory with limb and eye movement detection systems, EMG, ultra-sound scanners, car driving simulator and a car instrumented with eye and limb/steering wheel movement detection systems.

Movement and Gait Analysis Suite with VICON camera system in combination with Kistler force plates integrated into the floor and adjustable stair system, Inverted pendulum posture system, ultrasound scanners, surface EMG systems.

Human Exercise Laboratory with Breath-by-breath mass-spectrometers; electro-magnetic and conventional muscle/nerve stimulators; isokinetic ergometers, treadmills, and cycle ergometers; Delsys EMG system.

Single Fibre Muscle Mechanics Laboratory with Aurora permeabalized single muscle fibre ergometer and bath-system with an Olympus inverted microscope.

Cell Biology, Histology, and Biochemistry Laboratories including optical, and confocal microsopes; real time imaging of incubated cells, HPLC single muscle-fibre fragment analysis; flow-cytometry; real-time PCR; DNA sequencing and extensive biochemistry facilities.

Bioimaging Suite with multiscope scanning electron microscope with integral raman, electron backscattering and cathodoluminescence.


MMU recognises the need to maintain laboratory infrastructure in order to maintain the pre-eminent position of IRM and its ability to carry out world-class research and has committed substantial and appropriate funding.



MMU has committed an additional £2.5 million to locate the IRM in new purpose built laboratories in central Manchester by summer 2008. The IRM will thus maintain its distinctive research identity and be ideally situated to develop further collaborations and links with clinical and academic departments in Manchester University, The Wellcome Clinical Research Facility, and Manchester Royal Infirmary.


Student Facilities:

In addition to the standard University provision of library and other facilities all research students are allocated an individual work-station complete with computer and printer close to the IRM laboratories.


Research Assistants, Technical, and Administrative staff:

Currently 7.5 Research Assistants are appointed and further support is provided by 10.8 research technicians funded either as University establishment, from the IRM budget, or from external grants. The IRM has two fulltime administrative staff.


Research Governance

All of the research involving humans is conducted according to national and international guidelines and policies and is approved by the appropriate ethical committees and by the research governance committees of collaborating NHS Trusts. Research involving ionising radiation is approved by the Radiological Protection Division of the Health Protection Agency and exposure of volunteers is carried out by a Radiologist practitioner under IR(ME)R with externally appointed RPA and MPE. The University holds a research licence from the Human Tissue Authority.


Uptake of Research which has formed part of national or international guidelines

The IRM has begun a WHO funded collaboration with the UK National External Quality Control Scheme (Haematology) aimed at improving clinical practice in haematology. Direct detection and typing of pathogens causing meningitis has effected change in national diagnostic protocols. Research evidence into silver wound dressings and their barrier function has been incorporated into a number of NHS Trust policies for prevention of MRSA infection.


Information on relationships with research users, practitioners and policy makers.

IRM has a clear commitment to the translation of research to practice, policy, and industry. Research has contributed to devising reference ranges for lymphocyte sub-sets in elderly populations and by gender. Edwards-Jones advises and educates wound care specialists and infection control practitioners on MRSA colonisation and infection and has links to industrial partners in devising novel methods for prevention. Gilmore has links with food companies in devising functional foods and Matou has obtained an International Patent for compounds that modulate angiogenesis. Work on interventions with respect to ageing, bed-rest, osteoporosis, cerebral palsy and balance all have important translational aspects for physiotherapists, other health professionals and national policy, especially in relation to the ageing population.


Collaboration and the Research Environment

The philosophy and policy of the IRM has created a wide range of scientifically complementary collaborations which is reflected in the SCI publications. The 32 submitted staff have published more than 700 papers in SCI journals in the audit period 2001-2007 and of these more than 80% are the result of collaborations. Institutions with joint authorship of publications in SCI journals include: Vrije University Amsterdam, Karolinska Institutet, August Krogh Institute Copenhagen and the Universities of Barcelona, Pavia, Berne, Geneva, Nijmegen, Milan, Udine, Berlin, Birmingham, Florida, Glasgow, Brussels, Louvain, Keele, and Manchester (see )


In 2004 the IRM was one of the two founding institutions of BIOmove (the European Consortium for Research into Biological Movement) and Co-directs this initiative. The aim is to build upon the long tradition of research in the field of human locomotion and movement in Europe and facilitate active research collaborations between the member institutions. There are currently eight members of the consortium, Trondheim, Leuven, Nijmegen, Pavia, Amsterdam, Brussels, Krakow, and Manchester. An Inaugural meeting was held at MMU in 2005 at which over 150 delegates attended, and BIOmove symposium was part of the International Meeting of ECSS in Jyvaskyla, Finland in 2007.


The high level of collaborative research and the two-way movement of staff and students between institutions as part of the research programme immensely enrich the research environment and considerably extend its scientific power. The IRM has appointed di Prampero (Udine University, Italy), Hyde (Manchester University), Badimon (Barcelona) and Mafulli (Keele) as Visiting Professors in recognition of their contribution to the work of the IRM.



Staffing Policy

Category A staff:

The present submission is based upon the 32 Members of the IRM (29.8 FTE), which includes 11 Early Career Researchers. Quite exceptionally the IRM has been able to recruit and retain an outstanding group of internationally recognised staff in an extremely competitive market. The key to this success is a tightly focussed research programme on a series of closely connected topics which brings staff together in a mutually supportive, collaborative, and hence friendly and stimulating environment. Recruitment of senior staff has been supported by the University, which provides a start-up budget for research equipment, university studentships, and post-doctoral appointments. For establishment staff at all levels teaching and administrative tasks are kept to the minimum in recognition of their research activity.


Appointment to category A staff in the past 12 months have been Professors Gilmore, Flück, and S.Kumar (0.2) and five Early Career Researchers (see RA5B). All new appointments are aimed at recruiting staff with a strong record of published research who can contribute to the distinctive research focus of the IRM. A key element of IRM strategy is to develop research capability and sustainability and it has used QR Funding to appoint Early Career Researchers who are mentored by senior staff in each research group.


Category B staff:

Six staff are submitted having either retired (1) or moved to other institutions in the UK (3) and abroad (2). Taken together they made a significant contribution to the Research Institute publishing 25 SCI publications, supervising 6 research students, and generating external funding. However all of the category B staff have been replaced with research active staff of comparable or higher standing in line with our policy of maintaining a sustainable and critical mass in every research group.


Research Strategy

The future strategy of the IRM is aimed at maintaining and developing its international reputation for original and innovative research by investing in the existing research groups to ensure sustainability and thereby protect the intellectual, human, and infrastructure investment already made. We are especially concerned to continue to recruit to each research group a number of successful early career researchers, who are the ‘seed-corn’ of the future.


In relocating the IRM to the central campus we anticipate that we will be able to achieve a new level of collaboration with existing partners in Manchester and build new links. In particular we are planning with Manchester University to develop a ‘Centre of Excellence in Life-long Health and Well-being’ which is currently the subject of an invited and short-listed bid to the MRC. However, independently of the outcome of that bid both Universities are committed to the development of research capability in this area and in which MMU-IRM will lead the ‘Musculo-Skeletal Frailty’ theme, which is the subject of a number of national and international initiatives and priorities including: EU Framework 7; the Joint Research Councils NDA and SPARC initiatives; and the MRC Centres of Excellence. 


The university has already made a major commitment to support and further develop this flagship Research Institute as indicated in earlier sections. Future strategy will be based on a triennial self-evaluation of the IRM informed by independent external reviewers. 


IRM will host a bi-annual conference which will be associated with a post-graduate summer school with invited speakers and guest staff. This is part of our commitment to develop research capability, as well as disseminating research to practitioners in the Allied Health Professions.


Esteem indicators

All senior staff review regularly for journals, have been grant holders/co-applicants on grants, have served as external examiners, and have given numerous invited and keynote lectures to international conferences and details are not included here unless of special note.


Ahmed – Editor International Journal of Pathology 2005. Young Investigators Award by the World Association of Societies for Pathology and Laboratory Medicine 2003. Honorary Professor of Biochemistry, Ziauddin Medical University, Karachi Pakistan. Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry (honorary), University of Karachi, Pakistan.

Baltzopoulos – RAE2008 Panel member for Biomechanics UoA 46. Biomechanics Section Editor, Journal of Sports Sciences (2001-7). Keynote speaker International Society Biomechanics in Sports, Invited Presentations to World Congress of Biomechanics, IOC Congress, ECSS; frequent reviewer for SCI journals in the field of musculoskeletal mechanics.

Dawson – Member of the Immunology Subject Advisory Panel of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences 2002-6. Co-opted member of the education committee of Bioscience Federation.

de Haan – Editor Eur. J. Appl. Physiology; Co-Director of BIOmove (European Consortium for Research into Biological Movement); reviewer for major SCI journals; co-author of a standard textbook, ‘Skeletal Muscle from Molecules to Movement’ Churchill Livingstone 2004.

Degens – Editorial Board J. Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions, Consultancy Grant for Nijmegen University(2004-5), Reviewer grant applications for BBSRC(2005), Dutch Research Council(2005) etc. Reviewer of SCI Journals

Edwards-Jones –  Editorial Board International Burns; Deputy Chief Examiner, Institute of Biomedical Sciences; Member of the Medical Microbiology Advisory Panel; Honorary Treasurer SFAM.

Fox –  Member of the International Neisseria MLST website and Database Management Committee; Member of the Health Protection Agency Bioinformatics Board; Member of the International Campylobacter MLST Steering Group; Member of HPA Meningococcal reference Unit Strategic and Technical Groups.

Flück – Editor European. J. Physiology (since 2004) and Eur. J. Applied Physiology (since 2007); Winner of the Prince Alexandre de Merode Award, 7th IOC congress; Author of eleven invited SCI journal reviews in the audit period, including Experimental Physiology, Journal of Applied Physiology, Journal of Experimental Biology.

Gilmore – Awarded Medicina Cracoviensis 2000 Silver Medal University Medical School Cracow; Northern Ireland Leukaemia Research Fund Medical Advisory Panel member (until 2006); Visitor, Health Professions Council until 2008; Institute of Biomedical Sciences Representative on UK Universities Accreditation panels; Member of Laboratory Services Advisory Committee (LABSAC), Dept of Health, N.Ireland, (until 2006).

Jones – Chair of Research Assessment Panel for the Institute for Fundamental and Clinical Human Movement Sciences (Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences), Distributing Editor Journal of Physiology; Editor European Journal of Applied Physiology 2004; author of  standard textbook, ‘Skeletal Muscle from Molecules to Movement’, Churchill Livingstone, 2004; BBSRC panel member.

Kumar P – Board Member of the International Institute for Anti-cancer Research, Athens, Greece; First prize at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) special conference on melanoma biology, Milan; Editorial Board member of the International Journal of Anticancer Research and In Vivo.

Kumar S –Editorial board Int. J. Oncology, Anticancer Research, Pathobiology, Angiogenesis, J. Molecular Medicine; co-organiser/chair NATO angiogenesis meetings, angiogenesis sessions International Cancer Congresses and World Congress on Advances in Cancer; Consultant to Imgenex, San Diego, USA and Immunotech, Marseille, France

Maganaris – Post-Doctoral Scientist Award, American Society of Biomechanics 2001; Promising Young Scientist Award, International Society of Biomechanics 2003; Physiological Society Pfizer Prize 2002; Invited author of review papers in major SCI journals including Journal of Anatomy, Journal of Physiology, Journal of Biomechanics; Guest Editor Journal of Anatomy special issue ‘The Anatomy of Exercise’; Invited lectures in 14 major conferences, including World Congress of Biomechanics 2006, International Society of Biomechanics 2005; Society for Experimental Biology 2003.

Marple-Horvat – Honorary Research Fellow at Bristol University and joint holder of Wellcome and MRC collaborative grants; Invited presentation to Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety 2002; Invited speaker ‘Society for Neural Control of Movement’ (2003),

Narici –Scientific Co-ordinator/grant holder EU Framework V project ‘Better Ageing’; Visiting Professor Udine University; Chair and member of European Space Agency Panels; Invited speaker at more than 20 international conferences including Royal Society, Physiological Society, European Space Agency, Royal Society of Medicine; Invited author of reviews in 6 major SCI journals including J. Physiology, J Biomechanics, Muscle and Nerve, Exp. Physiology; Editorial Board Member BMC Physiology and Scand. J. Medicine and Science in Sports.

Rittweger – Associate editor J. Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions; Member European Veteran Athletics Association Advisory Board on Anti-doping and Research; ESA Berlin Bed rest study co-ordinator; member European Space Agency panels; invited review ‘Vibration Exercise’ Eur. J. Appl. Physiol; Invited courses for nurse and physiotherapist development programmes, Ulm, Germany (2006 – continuing).

Sargeant – Honorary Professor of Exercise Physiology, Vrije University, Amsterdam; Editor Eur. J. Appl. Physiol (since 1988); Foreign Consulting Editor Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise (1990-2003); Physiological Society Convenor Muscle Contraction Group (1996-2003); Co-Director of BIOmove (European Consortium for Research into Biological Movement); Physiological Society Symposium Lecturer 2001, 2002, and 2006 (the latter published as a major review in Experimental Physiology 2007).

Savelsbergh – Editor in Chief, Infant Behaviour and Development (since 1999); Consulting Editor, J. Motor Behaviour; Associate Editor, Int. J. Sports Psychology. Invited Keynote and symposia presentations at nine major conferences including European Science Foundation, Naples, Italy. Adviser to Dutch Research Council (NWO), Wellcome Trust, Research Council of Norway, National Science Foundation,USA.

Slevin – Appointed in open competition as Professor in Clinical Biomedicine, ICCC Cardiovascular Research Center, Barcelona, Spain 2007-8, Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Division of Laboratory and Regenerative Medicine, Manchester University. Grant Reviewer for Wellcome and MRC.

Stewart – Editorial Board Member of the World Journal of Medicine. Prize Lecturer awards at the 83rd and 84th Annual Meetings of Endocrinology Denver, USA; and The Alternative Muscle Club UK 2003; British Endocrine Society Research Award 2002; author or co-author on six invited reviews in SCI journals including Current Stem Cell Research, and Cytokine Growth Factor Review; committee member UK Growth Factor Group, and invited member British Collaborative Group on Stem Cell Repair of the Heart (since 2005).


Esteem Indicators - Early Career Researchers

Al-Shanti – Co-author, review in 2006 in Cytochrome Growth Factor Research (impact factor 11). Author, Invited Commercial Product Review Synopsis, of SuperArray Bioscience’s GEArray Q Series (2006) and MiniOptiocn Real Time PCR (2006) 

Sequence submission to GenBank, accession number AY911673 (2005).

Protein submission to swissprot 

Ashworth – Invited Speaker, 16th Annual Symposium on Advance Wound Care; Author on invited reviews in Clinics in Dermatology (2007), American Journal of Clinical Dermatology (2003), Biogerontology (2002); and book chapter in Modulating Aging and Longevity, Kluwer, (2003)

Azzawi – Invited to write review on ‘Vascular Function’ for Biomedical Science; Reviewer for Cardiovascular Research.

Loram – Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship (2004-2006); Eleven papers published in the Journal of Physiology, 3 of which have been the subject of ‘Editorial Comment’; Frequent reviewer in the last few years for J.Neurophysiology, J.Physiology etc; Invited speaker at IBRO Satellite meeting of the World Conference of Neuroscience 2007, Motor Control Conference, Bulgaria, 2007, American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting 2007.

Matou – Holder of International Patent on use of highly sulphated and low molecular weight polysaccharides to modulate angiogenesis

Morse  –  Invited speaker International Society of Electrophysiology and Kinesiology Workshop, Rome, 2006; Invited Reviewer for J.Appl.Physiology (2007); Eur.J.Appl.Physiology (2007); Acta Physiologica (2006).

Onambele –Invited presentations: British Society of Gerontology, Bangor (2006); BBSRC Dissemination Event Royal Society of Physicians (2006); National Falls Day, SPARC/Local Government (2007); Royal Society Science Week (2004). Reviewer on age related research for SCI journals.

Reeves – Pfizer Prize for best oral presentation at the Physiological Society, 2002; Invited member of an expert panel for EU framework 7 (“understanding and combating age related muscle weakness”); Reviewing for SCI journals; Co-author on three SCI journal invited reviews on tendon plasticity and age; Six invited presentations at international conferences.

Seynnes  – Reviewer for J.Physiol, Eur.J.Appl.Physiol, Sports Medicine, J.Ageing and Phys.Activity; Invited Speaker, Motor Efficiency Seminar, UFR STAPS.

Winwood  – Reviewer for J.Biomechanics, J.Med.Eng.Physics, Eur.J.Appl.Physiol, J.Musculoskeletal and.Neuronal Interactions; Referee for MRC Grant Application (2007).

Zubko – Invited Review Mitochondrial tuning fork in nuclear homeotic functions in Trends in Plant Science (2004); author on original research papers in Cell and Nature.