Department of Sport and Exercise Science

Breast Health

Research Group in Breast Health

The Research Group in Breast Health is internationally renowned for research on the biomechanics of the breast. The group are responsible for over half of the scientific publications in this area and regularly present work nationally and internationally. The Research Group is well known with millions of media mentions worldwide and commercial collaborations with many of the major lingerie, sports bra and sporting apparel manufacturers around the world.

The Research Group aims to increase scientific knowledge of breast health, and to raise awareness of this important aspect of women’s health.

The Group offer a number of services for potential collaborations;

The Group’s research spans many areas of breast health including:

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Current Research

Breast Health Education Workshop: Channel 4 Sex Education Show
Breast Health Education Workshop: Channel 4 Sex Education Show
04:06 minutes

Understanding Appropriate Breast Support

Our novel research focuses on establishing appropriate breast support for varying populations, environments and activities.  Our research is at the forefront of methodological developments that enable us to investigate the support provided by different bras, thermal responses to wearing a bra, factors that influence the support requirements throughout a woman’s life and much more.  Our research has shown that breast support requirements differ as we went different life stages, such as puberty, pregnancy, illness (breast cancer) and menopause.  Understanding breast support preferences and requirements throughout the life cycle is crucial to offer appropriate solutions for women throughout their lives.

We work with many manufacturers to inform the research and development of products with the aim of improving women’s quality of life.

Did You Know #15 - Breast Health
Did You Know #15 - Breast Health
01:12 minutes

Breast Health Education

We are actively investigating Breast Health Education for populations ranging from schoolgirls to sports women and many more. In June 2011 the groundbreaking Channel 4 series The Sex Education Show visited the Research Group to film one of our breast health educational workshops with schoolgirls. We thank Remarkable Television, Endemol UK for the use of this section of the programme on our website

70% of women are wearing the wrong size bra
70% of women are wearing the wrong size bra
02:30 minutes

Bra Fitting

With a large percentage of the population reported to be wearing the wrong size bra, an important area of our research focuses on bra fitting. In a recent study we identified that the traditional bra fitting method does not give the best fit. Instead we advocate a series of ‘Best Fit’ criteria, we believe it is important to education women on best fit, rather than using a tape measure to dictate your bra size.

‘One third of females taking part in the London Marathon 2012 experienced breast pain’

Breast Pain

Our research has shown that cyclic and non-cyclic breast pain affects half the female population in the UK, negatively impacting on their quality of life. This breast pain is exaggerated by breast movement, although the exact causes are unclear. We are conducting research in this area help broaden our understanding of breast pain and ultimately to help relieve the symptoms associated with this wide spread condition.

Weight loss to reduce breast size may not always be the answer

Breast Anthropometry

Our recent research in the area of breast and body size has shown that the relationship between the two is not as clear cut as originally thought. Our study showed that whilst clinicians make recommendations for obese women to lose weight to reduce their breast size, this may not be appropriate. Our study showed that in order to lose the same amount of breast tissue that is removed during surgery (an average of 775 g) a women would have to lose 51 kg, or 70% of her body weight! Our research in this area continues to provide important information on the changing trends in breast size.

Appropriate breast support can improve our running performance

Breast Biomechanics in Sport

Our research has identified that we change the way we run depending on the type of bra worn. These results make our research and development work with sports bra manufacturers vital, not only to improve breast support and comfort, but also to ensure that products optimise the way we move.


The Research Group have state of the art motion capture facilities to investigate the biomechanics of the breast. These cutting edge facilities are spread across two laboratories and include systems that allow us to monitor muscle activity, pressure and force application, mechanical strain, and thermal regulation, whilst simulating daily or sporting activities.



Bra Testing Services

Consumers deserve the best in breast support. Here at the University of Portsmouth, we can provide scientific bra testing services to help you develop the best product possible. Our international reputation is built on years of experience investigating the performance of bras and support, both for scientific purposes and in collaboration with brands around the world. As world-leading experts in breast biomechanics, we can help you inform future product design, development and marketing. We currently offer three new "off the shelf" bra testing packages;

Bronze Bra Testing Package
Silver Bra Evaluation Package
Gold Bra Development Package

For full details of these packages please see our Bra Testing Packages or contact

Additionally, we also offer bespoke research projects. The research group have a number of fundamental research proposals for which we are seeking commercial partners, but we are also keen to investigate key criteria that are important to industry, for further information please contact

Breast Science Educational Workshops

For the third year in succession the Research Group in Breast Health will be running  ‘The science behind breasts and bras’, a one-day educational workshop available to everyone. This workshop will offer you the chance to expand your knowledge and understanding of the science behind breasts and bras. You will learn about breast anatomy, the problems with breasts and the science behind how the breast moves. The workshop also presents the latest cutting edge research in breast biomechanics, breast support (both sports bras and everyday bras) and bra fit. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn from the world leaders in this area!

Attendees from the workshops commented that the workshop was "an excellent mix of interaction and presentation" and they found the workshop to be "informative and most of all good fun!” Opportunities were given for networking and "hearing research and meeting people with different backgrounds" were quoted as the most useful aspects of the workshop. 

The Research Group in Breast Health is in a unique position to be able to offer this exciting course, where information on the science of breasts and bras gained from research experience can be shared with bra manufacturers, designers, healthcare professionals and many other interested parties. There is currently no other workshop available on the market which is able to provide up-to-date and relevant information in this area.

Our next workshop will take place on Friday 1st April 2016.  Make a booking

*Please note there is an Earlybird Discount offer in place if you book before Friday 4th March 2016

Additionally we offer tailored workshops to meet the needs of the audience. For more information please contact

Research Group Members

This research group is coordinated by Dr Joanna Scurr, Reader in Biomechanics, and includes the following colleagues;

Get Involved

We are always seeking volunteers to take part in our research studies. These studies are often interesting and provide an insight in to the work we undertake. The requirements for participating vary for each study, for instance, some studies will require you to undertake daily activity or others, prolonged exercise. Similarly, some of our research may require a single visit to the laboratory, whereas others may require multiple visits. Our research involves the recruitment of female participants only and usually a small amount of money or gifts are available for volunteers to cover their expenses.

If you would like to get involved, would like to be added to our database of potential volunteers, or would like to discuss our research in greater detail, then please contact

Breast Health Newsletter PDF 410KB

Issue 3 of the Breast Health Newsletter from December 2014


Breast Health Newsletter Issue 4 PDF 410KB

Issue 4 of the Breast Health Newsletter from December 2015


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Breast Biomechanics - Information Leaflet PDF

Information leaflet about the Research Group in Breast Health