Approved projects

The gut microbiome community profile changes quickly in response to dietary and physiological changes. This is of interest to athletes who follow diets with major macro- and micro-nutrient changes based on claims of greater training adaptation and enhanced performance.  This study will profile the gut microbiome of highly trained athletes and determine if changes in the community profile occur with highly controlled exposure to three different training diets (high-carbohydrate [CHO], high-fat low-CHO, and a periodised diet combining high- and low-CHO). Decisions about the suitability of these diets should consider potential health implications, including changes to the gut microbiome

Project lead

Professor Louise Burke, Australian Institute of Sport

Project collaborators

  • Associate Professor Katrina Campbell, Bond University
  • Professor Mark Morrison, University of Queensland (UQ - Diamantina Institute)
  • Dr Meg Ross, Australian Institute of Sport
  • Dr Hayley O’Neill, Bond University
  • Dr Nicole Vlahovich, Australian Institute of Sport

Bodybuilding is an appearance-oriented sport that involves performing a series of poses on stage where judges rank each competitor on muscular mass, symmetry and definition. In contrast, powerlifting is a sport that consists of the maximal weight lifted for three lifts (i.e. squat, bench press, and deadlift). Even though resistance training is a central component in preparation for bodybuilding and powerlifting competitions, exercise specifics and dietary practices reportedly differ due to the requirements of these respective sports. This cross-sectional study design aims to examine the physique traits, muscle performance, and health of individuals that compete in natural bodybuilding and powerlifting.

Project lead

Dr Daniel Hackett, University of Sydney

Project collaborators

  • Dr Helen O Conner, University of Sydney
  • Dr Yorgi Mavros, University of Sydney
  • Dr Jillian Clarke, University of Sydney
  • Dr Gary Slater, University of Sunshine Coast
  • Associate Professor Justin Keogh, Bond University
  • Associate Professor Chris McLellan, Bond University
  • Ms Mandy Hagstrom, University of New England

Using a recently developed experimental method (Cramer and Jay, J Appl Physiol (2014)), we will assess, for the first time, the independent influence of Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) level (i.e. tetraplegics (above C7), low paraplegics (below T5)), on thermoregulatory responses during and following exercise in the heat. Individuals with SCI have disrupted vasomotor and sudomotor functioning below their spinal lesion levels. However, due to limitations in experimental design, no study has yet fully illustrated how thermoregulatory capacity is truly altered. This information is critical for preventing heat-related illness in SCI athletes, and for developing optimal cooling strategies.

Project lead

Dr Ollie Jay, University of Sydney

Project collaborators

  • Dr Kate Pumpa, University of Canberra
  • Associate Professor Chris McLellan, Bond University
  • Dr Jo Vaile, Australian Institute of Sport
  • Prof Kevin Thompson, University of Canberra
  • Ms Peta Forsyth, University of Canberra

Ectopic fat stored in the liver and pancreas contributes to the pathology of type 2 diabetes. Weight loss to reduce this is unrealistic and unsustainable long-term, and whilst exercise is a known “polypill” most people fail to meet recommended exercise levels. High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a time-efficient strategy that has been shown to elicit health benefits in overweight non-diabetic cohorts. This research will be the first to use innovative techniques and randomised controlled design to examine the effect of novel HIIT and traditional exercise interventions on ectopic fat and cardiometabolic health in people with type 2 diabetes.

Project lead

Dr Nathan Johnson, University of Sydney

Project collaborators

  • Dr Michael Baker, Australian Catholic University
  • Dr Vivienne Chuter, University of Newcastle
  • Ms Shelley Keating, University of Queensland
  • Professor Jacob George, University of Sydney
  • Professor Ian Caterson, University of Sydney
  • Professor Nuala Byrne, Bond University

This project seeks to investigate the interaction between habitual diet and fuel utilisation during exercise. Specifically, we will examine if there is an association between carbohydrate intake and changes in maximal rates of fat oxidation. Within this question however is a deeper exploration of how to best describe habitual diet within the community context and what, if any, interactions there are between the choices individuals make in regarding diet and exercise engagement. Using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies we will gain insights that will improve translation of exercise science research into public health policy and social practice.

Project lead

Dr Kieron Rooney, University of Sydney

Project collaborators

  • Professor Dick Stevenson, Macquarie University
  • Dr. Dale Hancock, University of Sydney
  • Professor Nuala Byrne, Bond University
  • Mr Tom Gwinn, University of Sydney
  • Ms Anneliese Reeves, University of Sydney
  • Associate Professor Vernon Coffey, Bond University
  • Dr. Kristen MacKenzie, Bond University

Higher levels of cortisol are associated with worse cognition, and may predict cognitive decline.  This investigation intends to measure cortisol levels in saliva collected at rest (30 min after awakening), and before and after a physical stressor, cognitive stressor and a control condition in adults with mild cognitive impairment. These tests were repeated after a 6-month randomised controlled trial of resistance training or cognitive training, and again 12 months after completion of the intervention.  We aim to determine if 6 months of PRT significantly reduced salivary cortisol at rest, as well as in response to a physical and cognitive stressor.

Project lead

Dr Yorgi Mavros, University of Sydney

Project collaborators

  • Professor Perminder Sachdev, UNSW
  • Professor Bernhard Baune, University of Adelaide
  • Professor Maria Fiatarone, Singh University of Sydney
  • Dr Nicola Gates, UNSW
  • Professor Henry Brodaty, UNSW
  • Dr Hayley O’Neill, Bond University

This study will form the initial component of a larger longitudinal study that will determine what “normal” pathoanatomical changes occur in a swimmers shoulder over a number of years of training and whether these changes correlate to pain.  This study will have a direct impact on how we treat and modify training load of our elite swimmers.

MRIs of both shoulders of elite swimmers will be performed at baseline and the swimmers will be followed for 12 months during this first stage of the study.  Pattern of shoulder symptoms, wellness scores, training loads, time lost to injury etc will be recorded daily through the AIS Athlete Management System over the duration.

This project will provide preliminary evidence to support a larger longitudinal study examining training load and development of shoulder injury in elite swimmers. It will answer a fundamental exercise and sport science question as to the relationship between pathology, injury and training load in elite swimmers.

Project Lead

Ms Kylie Holt, Australian Institute of Sport 

Project Collaborators

Dr Craig Boettcher University of Sydney

Dr Mark Osborne University of Queensland

Prof Gordon Waddington Australian Institute of Sport /University of Canberra

Prof Wayne Hing Bond University