The University of Brighton’s Welkin Sport and Exercise Science Laboratories, which house the Environmental Physiology facilities, is accredited by our national professional body (British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences, BASES). Our laboratories and procedures undergo regular risk assessment and standard operating procedures exist for our major pieces of equipment. All research studies will have received ethics approval before they commence in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki (2013).
The purpose-built environment chamber measures 47.25 m3 (4.5m x 3.5m x 3 mm) and computer controls ambient temperature (-20°C to +50°C) and relative humidity (15% to 95%).
This purpose-built chamber supports a vast array of research activity exploring thermal stress and physiological function during rest and exercise and for health, occupational and sporting purposes. The chamber may be used for thermal screening, evaluating interventions or acclimation purposes.
The hypoxic chamber measuring 35.84 m3 (3.2m x 4m x 2.8 m) can decrease the fractional concentration of inspired oxygen from 20.93% (normoxic) to 11% enabling the simulation of altitudes up to an equivalent of ~5000m.
This purpose-built chamber supports a considerable body of research activity allied to both sport and health purposes and may be used for screening, evaluating interventions and acclimation purposes.
Environmental Water Tank
The environmental water tank which measures 19.15 m3 (1.13m x 1.13m x 1.5 m) can contain a range of water temperatures (typically 10-40°C) for precooling and preheating manoeuvers, breath hold studies and underwater weighing for the determination of body density.
Heat Stress, Hydration Status, Sweat Analysis, Thermometry & Thermography
We house a wide range of equipment to support our environmental physiology teaching, research and consultancy activity. We use thermohygrometers to measure indoor and outdoor heat stress, colour charts, osmometers and refractometers to determine hydration status, have multiple methods for examining sweat and a range of data loggers to monitor thermoregulation in the body’s core (via rectal, intestinal or in the aural canal), skin (using wired, semi-wired, wireless or infrared systems) and muscle (via single use or indwelling probes
The FLIR E40bx infrared thermal camera allows imaging of the whole body, or specific sites to be taken to detect radiation. Thermograms which detect this radiation, enable us to observe variations in temperature from different thermal stressors.
In addition to our environmental physiology capacity, our laboratories comprise sophisticated exercise testing equipment. These laboratories have numerous dedicated motorised treadmills, adjustable electrically-braked cycle ergometers (for clinical and elite athlete populations) and a range of other ergometers that enable sport-specificity. We are able to carry out breath-by-breath and Douglas bag gas analysis, isokinetic dynamometry, blood gas analysis, blood lactate analysis, heart rate monitoring, 12 lead ECG, pulse-oximetry and we have a defibrillator on-site.
Capillary or venepuncture blood sampling can be carried out to measure a range of metabolites, hormonal and inflammatory markers. ELISA kits are used for some analysis.
There are also numerous facilities for routine data analysis (e.g. network of workstations), seminars and presentations for students, research students and post-docs (including visiting researchers). All our research students undertake a mock PhD viva before the real thing, often where many of our other research students will contribute thereby gaining from the experience too.