Environmental Extremes Lab Team Prepare for Tokyo 2020!

The University of Brighton’s Environmental Extremes Lab (EEL) have been commissioned by the English Institute of Sport (EIS) to produce a resource pack that will contribute to developing the EIS’ heat optimisation strategy leading up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. On Thursday 11th January, we brought together the minds of twenty-one of the EEL team (twenty-two if you include Carl James on Skype) to scope out the challenges and potential strategies that can be captured in the resource pack. The pack will be for practitioners, other SSM staff and coaches working with athletes from a variety of sports / events to help them best prepare for the Tokyo environment.

EEL Members present at ICEE Conference in Kobe, Japan

 

Conference attendees (Ash, Emily & Kirsty circled, left picture)

Three of our members presented at the recent International Congress on Environmental Ergonomics (ICEE, http://www.environmental-ergonomics.org/) in Kobe, Japan. Emily Watkins (oral and poster presentation), Ash Willmott (oral presentation) and Kirsty Waldock (oral presentation).

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Congratulations to Dr Willmott who secures PhD

It is with great pleasure that I can announce Ash Willmott successfully defended his PhD thesis on Friday 27th October 2017 entitled, ‘Optimising heat acclimation state and refining strategies for the acquisition of heat adaptations’. It has been a very emotional “journey” for Ash with many challenges that he has had to overcome, not least within his family. Therefore, seeing Ash perform as well as he did was immensely rewarding and Ash should be very proud of what he has accomplished. His external examiners [Dr Doug Thake (Coventry University) and Dr Jo Costello (University of Portsmouth)] were very impressed with his thesis, the volume of work and how prepared he was for the viva and as such, he has only very minor amendments to make.

Ash was supervised by Drs Neil Maxwell, Mark Hayes and Jeanne Dekerle and each of them were pivotal in his success.  Alongside his supervisors, all the members of the Environmental Extremes Lab have been a wonderful support to him throughout it all and should receive recognition too. Ash’s PhD adds to a good number that have gone before him associated with evaluating heat alleviating strategies and is truly giving us an international reputation in the field.

Well done Ash!

Supervisors, Mark Hayes and Neil Maxwell, congratulating Ash for having submitted his PhD thesis (left) and then Ash taking a much-earned break post PhD viva in Seoul ahead of the Kobe ICEE Conference (right).

New PhD Students Join EEL!

Welcome to three new PhD students to the Environmental Extremes Lab. All three are graduates from either our BSc or MSc degrees.

Gregor Eichhorn – Heat acclimation strategies in the elderly to promote cellular resistance in hypoxic environments. Self-funded project with support from the University of Brighton. (supervisors: Neil Maxwell, Mark Hayes and Oli Gibson)

Rosie Lewis – An exploration into cross-adaptation: heat acclimation and hypoxic performance. Self-funded project with support from the University of Brighton.(supervisors: Alan Richardson, Mark Hayes and Oli Gibson)

Jemma Gibbons – The performance and well-being of the Paralympic Athlete exercising in the heat. Self-funded project with support from the University of Brighton(supervisors: Gary Brickley and Nick Webborn)

Good luck in your studies!

EEL Beat the Heat with Science!

Dr Neil Maxwell and a number of the Environmental Extremes Lab presented ‘Beat the heat with science’ at the British Science Festival Event in Falmer on the 5th September 2017. The presentation consisted of live experiments, myths and a range of other content delivered to some very enthusiastic members of the public as well as medical/science students.

 

Dr Neil Maxwell at the British Science Festival with (from left to right) Gregor Eichhorn (PhD Student), Kirsty Waldock (PhD Student), Bill Norton (MSc Student and Technician), Dr Mark Hayes (Senior Lecturer), Rebecca Relf (PhD Student and Technical Instructor) and Associate Professor Peter Watt (not pictured)

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EEL Contribute to PHE’s Annual Heat Wave Seminar

Dr Neil Maxwell and Kirsty Waldock (PhD student), presented at Public Health England’s Annual Heatwave Seminar on March 14 2017 that reviewed the Heatwave Plan in an attempt to reduce the number of deaths, reduce illness and hospital visits and increase public awareness. The seminar hosted delegates and speakers from PHE, NHS, Met Office, national climate change committees and charities, as well as regional council public health departments and universities from around the country. International representation also came from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Background

In Europe, 71,000 people died during the 2003 heat wave, with over 2000 of these excess deaths in England and Wales. For every 1°C above 23.3°C, an extra 75 deaths per week are estimated in the UK [Public Health England (PHE), 2015]. Last year was the third consecutive warmest year since records began and as the earth’s climate is warming with the frequency, intensity and duration of heatwaves increasing, this presents a significant health risk to vulnerable populations (e.g. elderly, children, chronically ill and those with heat sensitivity). Continue reading

EEL Present at a House of Lords Select Committee

Head of EEL, Dr Neil Maxwell and PhD student, Rebecca Relf, were invited to present to a House of Lords Government Select Committee on Breast Cancer Symptom Management in November 2016, to talk about their up-coming research linked to heat sensitivity amongst breast cancer survivors. Following breast cancer, survivors experience intense heat reactions (hot flashes) and night sweats similar to symptoms associated with menopause that can be very debilitating and impact quality of life. In addition to pharmaceutically-based interventions to treat these symptoms, there is interest in non-pharmaceutically based methods. However, current methods have shown variable success. After hearing about the research coming out of the University of Brighton linked to applied heat-alleviation methods, the committee were keen to learn whether cooling interventions could be potential candidates to recommend post treatment.

The committee were very encouraged by the planned research programme, offered their assistance as the project develops and have linked the research team [Neil, Rebecca, Dr Mel Flint (School of Pharmacy and Biological Sciences) and Dr Louisa Beale] with a Brighton-based Oncologist Consultant. The meeting was held at the Breast Cancer UK headquarters in London and was nevertheless a great experience for both Neil and Rebecca to showcase the research activity of the Environmental Extremes Lab.

The presentation was a bit of a baptism of fire for Rebecca who had only started her PhD seven weeks beforehand. However, she did an excellent job and the committee were very encouraged by the planned research programme, offered their assistance as the project develops and have linked the research team [Neil, Rebecca, Dr Mel Flint (School of Pharmacy and Biological Sciences) and Dr Louisa Beale] with a Brighton-based Oncologist Consultant. Unfortunately, the meeting was moved from Westminster to the Breast Cancer UK Headquarters, but was nevertheless a great experience for both Neil and Rebecca to showcase the research activity of SESAME’s Environmental Extremes Lab.

 

Associate Prof Peter Watt Keynote Speaker

Congratulations to Associate Professor Peter Watt who was invited to be a keynote speaker at the UIPM (Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne) World Coaches Conference in Manchester on 11 November. The conference was a chance for international Olympic coaches involved in the modern pentathlon to get together and share information and updates. There were approximately 100 delegates from the president and organising committee, to coaches at different stages of their careers from all around the world.