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CHaRT research group

Using physical activity, exercise, nutrition, and new technologies to enhance people's quality of life

Established in 2017, the Clinical, Health and Rehabilitation Team (CHaRT) is dedicated to advancing applied research and consultancy aimed at supporting individuals of all ages in leading healthy and active lives. Our research, conducted with partners in the healthcare, community and commercial/industrial sectors, also aims to support the development of enhanced professional practice and policy.

Our Research and Impact

CHaRT undertakes world-leading interdisciplinary research to advance knowledge and understanding of the effects of sport, exercise, physical activity and nutrition in health and disease. The group comprises a multidisciplinary team with expertise across qualitative and quantitative methods of enquiry, in the disciplines of physiology, biomechanics, psychology, strength and conditioning and nutrition. We are developing novel interventions to improve health outcomes in people with long-term conditions in community-based and primary healthcare settings as well as the general population. 

The team is supported by a state-of the-art laboratory infrastructure, equipped for basic and applied studies that are internationally excellent and world-leading.

The aims of the Clinical, Health and Rehabilitation Team (CHaRT) are to undertake research and knowledge exchange activity to promote a multidisciplinary approach to:

  • investigate mechanisms and factors (environmental and contextual) that underpin human health across the lifespan
  • investigate the role of physical activity, exercise and nutrition in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease, and in the promotion of psychological well-being
  • the biomechanical, medical and psychological factors that contribute to sports performance and the management, prognosis and rehabilitation of sports injuries

The population groups that we conduct research with include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • People living with long-term physical and mental health conditions
  • Older adults (including those with frailty and sarcopenia)
  • Children and young people
  • Athletes from community to Olympic / Paralympic and professional sport
  • Healthcare professionals

Our key areas of research

Photo of children swimming at Ravelin Sport Centre - Ravelin Activities

Physical activity and exercise strategies to support health and wellbeing

Research within this group primarily investigates the integration and optimisation of exercise and physical activity into routine health care and daily life in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease. Examples include research that supports ways of supporting people with long-term conditions (e.g. cystic fibrosis, cancer, kidney, diabetes) to engage in safe and appropriate physical activity. Particular expertise in the group also focuses on rehabilitation and prehabilitation for surgery and understanding and improving intraoperative outcomes. Physical activity focused research is also using co-creation to bring communities closer together and support, for example, refugees and asylum seekers.

CHaRT Website Photo

Assistive and digital health technologies

We are investigating the use of assistive technologies, such as using robotics to support rehabilitation, and novel prosthetic and orthotic interventions for foot drop and amputees. We are also working in the development and evaluation of digital health applications and websites to enhance physical activity and support virtual consultations and home monitoring in people with long-term conditions.

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Mechanisms of Disease and Therapeutics

Our research group employs innovative techniques to gain a comprehensive understanding of disease pathophysiology, including environment-related disorders (EDS, heat illness, malignant hyperthermia, NFCI). We examine drug mechanisms of action, as well as the impact of nutrition and ergogenic aids on health and performance. We also explore nature-based alternatives to pharmacological interventions. Our multifaceted approach aims to reshape disease understanding and therapeutic strategies, paving the way for enhanced patient care.

PFC Womens Match

Athlete health and welfare

Multidisciplinary researchers are investigating athlete mental and physical health and injuries in sport, including female-specific considerations. We apply epidemiology, biomechanics, physiology and psychology to the study of sports injuries to understand injury risk, as well as develop ways to reduce this. Current research spans all levels of sport, including Paralympic athletes. Research is also seeking to understand and improve lifelong health in athletes following retirement, including improving rehabilitation within the orthopaedic surgery setting and welfare and care pathways. Our research positively impacts the safety and welfare of athletes across all levels of sport and the globe.

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Professional practice of health and care professionals

Work within this group has developed professional standards focused on the implementation of exercise practices and professionals (such as registered Clinical Exercise Physiologists in the UK) into healthcare. Other work has developed guidelines for allied health professionals working with people living with long-term conditions and athletes, surgeons, and psychologists. The team has particular expertise in the implementation of physical activity outcomes, exercise testing and exercise training within healthcare.

Hear about our research

Explore our work as part of Life Solved, our weekly University research podcast.

Recent projects

Portsmouth FC Player Testing

We worked with Portsmouth Football Club to measure a player's movement during their recover from injury — and shared our findings with the medical team at Portsmouth FC to inform their next steps of rehabilitation. 

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The University of Portsmouth in partnership with Portsmouth Football Club.

The School of Sport, Health and Exercise Science have been working with Portsmouth FC to provide support during a player's rehabilitation following injury. 

Using state of the art motion capture and force plate technologies, they can measure a player's movement and forces they produce. 

This data is then provided to the medical team at Portsmouth FC to help inform the next steps of rehabilitation. 

Your time. Your place. University of Portsmouth. 

 

Partnerships and Collaborations

CHaRT collaborates extensively with healthcare, cultural, governmental, and physical activity organisations. We work closely with charities, industry partners, the military, and the NHS. We have established a world-wide reputation and our research is published by leading academic publishers, high-quality peer-reviewed journals, and informs policy and guidelines nationally and internationally. Our recent research activity has been funded from a number of sources including the National Institute of Health and Care Research (NIHR), local NHS Trusts, and a wide range of medically-oriented charity funders (e.g. GUTS UK, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, the British Lung Foundation, Kidney Research UK) and a range of other international partners and agencies. In addition, we continue to attract industry-funded research support. There is ongoing media interest in our research, and we engage widely in dissemination of our findings with local, national and international partners.

RIS Photoshoots; June 2019

Work with us

A special focus of the Clinical, Health and Rehabilitation Team (CHaRT) is to develop partnerships with local communities and healthcare services and organisations (incl. NGO, businesses and industries) to facilitate high-quality translational research that offers benefits to patients and the wider society. We are committed to the development of strategic partnerships to address our research priorities and have established links with NHS Trusts, charities, community organisations and leading national and international academic research centres. These partnerships work to inform policies and practice.

Postgraduate study 

CHaRT offers postgraduate research supervision expertise across our areas of expertise. We welcome applications from individuals with interests in research that focuses on health, nutritional status and quality of life of people, the professional practice of health and care professionals, and the development of health and care policy. A key driver of our postgraduate research training is the use of collaborative partnerships to facilitate applied research programmes of high relevance to our key stakeholder communities (e.g. consumers, patients, industry, NHS). 

We have extensive experience of the supervision of postgraduate research and we offer research training via our MSc Clinical Exercise Physiology, MSc Physiotherapy (Pre-Registration), PhD and Professional Doctorate degree routes. Initial enquiries can be made to Associate Professor Zoe Saynor (CHaRT Lead) or to individual members of the team who are engaged in the relevant area of research.

Meet the team

Zoe Louise Saynor Portrait

Dr Zoe Saynor

Reader in Clinical Exercise Physiology

zoe.saynor@port.ac.uk

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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Anthony Ian Shepherd Portrait

Dr Ant Shepherd

Associate Professor in Clinical Exercise Physiology

ant.shepherd@port.ac.uk

School of Sport, Health, and Exercise Science

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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Maria Christina Perissiou Portrait

Dr Maria Perissiou

Senior Lecturer

maria.perissiou@port.ac.uk

School of Sport, Health, and Exercise Science

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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Andrew Scott Portrait

Dr Andrew Scott

Senior Lecturer

Andrew.Scott@port.ac.uk

School of Sport, Health, and Exercise Science

Faculty of Science and Health

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Mitch Lomax Portrait

Dr Mitch Lomax

Reader in Pulmonary Exercise Physiology

Mitch.Lomax@port.ac.uk

School of Sport, Health, and Exercise Science

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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Heather Claire Massey Portrait

Media ready expert

Dr Heather Massey

Senior Lecturer

Heather.Massey@port.ac.uk

School of Sport, Health, and Exercise Science

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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Joseph Michael Moore Portrait

Dr Joe Moore

Senior Lecturer

joseph.moore@port.ac.uk

School of Sport, Health, and Exercise Science

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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Amy Rebecca Wright Portrait

Miss Amy Wright

Senior Lecturer

Amy.Wright@port.ac.uk

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Ana Carolina Viera Goncalves Portrait

Dr Carolina Goncalves

Lecturer

Carolina.Goncalves@port.ac.uk

School of Sport, Health, and Exercise Science

Faculty of Science and Health

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Helena Marie Drummond Portrait

Mrs Helena Drummond

Senior Teaching Fellow

Helena.Drummond@port.ac.uk

Faculty of Science and Health

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Chadwick Selby George Witcher Portrait

Dr Chad Witcher

Senior Lecturer

chad.witcher@port.ac.uk

School of Sport, Health, and Exercise Science

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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Chloe Ryder Portrait

Miss Chloe Ryder

Lecturer

chloe.ryder@port.ac.uk

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Jo Corbett Portrait

Dr Jo Corbett

Reader in Environmental Physiology

Deputy Associate Dean

Jo.Corbett@port.ac.uk

School of Sport, Health, and Exercise Science

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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Chris Mills Portrait

Dr Chris Mills

Associate Head (Academic)

Chris.Mills@port.ac.uk

School of Sport, Health, and Exercise Science

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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Thierry Robert Frederic Middleton Portrait

Dr Thierry Middleton

Senior Lecturer

Thierry.Middleton@port.ac.uk

School of Sport, Health, and Exercise Science

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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Timothy Exell Portrait

Dr Timothy Exell

Associate Head (Employability and Placements)

tim.exell@port.ac.uk

School of Sport, Health, and Exercise Science

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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Holly Victoria Lord Portrait

Mrs Holly Lord

Teaching Fellow

holly.lord@port.ac.uk

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Mr Thomas James

Research Associate

Thomas.James@port.ac.uk

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Visiting staff

  • Fiona Wilson - Visiting Professor
  • Osman Ahmed - Visiting Senior Lecturer
  • Jamie Wood - Visiting Senior Lecturer
  • Nadeem Afzal - Visiting Associate Professor
  • Ed St. John - Visiting Associate Professor

Research assistants

  • Poppy Marsh
  • Mohammad Alnajjar
  • Joshua Ferreira
  • Maddison Geeves - Respiratory Physiologist and NIHR ARC Wessex Intern

Doctoral researchers

  • Lauren Clayton
  • Emeka Uzoma
  • Hannah Prieto 
  • Josie Morris
  • Catherine Wharfe
  • Daniel Piccolo
  • Thomas James
  • Aaron Kinsey
  • Ben Steele-Turner
  • Ruth De Vos
  • Lisa Morrison 
  • Ruth Leskovar

Contact the Clinical, Health and Rehabilitation team

For further information please contact Associate Professor Zoe Saynor

Our contact us by post: 

Clinical, Health and Rehabilitation Team
School of Sport, Health and Exercise Science
University of Portsmouth
Spinnaker Building
Cambridge Road
Portsmouth 
PO1 2ER