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Prof Glyn Howatson

Professor of Human & Applied Physiology/Director of Research and Innovation

Department: Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation

Glyn is the Director of Research and Innovation for the Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation and the research theme leader for “Optimising Human Performance”, which has developed a reputation for international research excellence. He provides teaching, research, consultancy expertise to sport and exercise physiology, nutrition and strength and condition science.

Following a six year stint in the British Army and working in the security industry, Glyn moved to Higher Education by completing undergraduate and doctoral degrees in Sports Science and Exercise Physiology, respectively. Glyn lectured and Kingston University and St. Mary's University College, London before arriving at Northumbria in 2009, where he is now Professor in Human and Applied Physiology. 

Glyn is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES), he is on the Editorial Boards for the Journal of Sport Sciences and the European Journal of Sport Sciences and Chair for the BASES Laboratory Directors' and Laboratory Accreditation groups.  Glyn collaborates extensively with colleagues across the UK and the globe in academia, elite sport, national governing bodies and industry. He has been a consultant physiologist to professional rugby Premier leagues football, UK Athletics, GB Canoeing.  His work as an applied physiologist and researcher has contributed to the support of numerous international athletes that include, European, World and Olympic medallists. He continues to work closely with colleagues in the English Institute of Sport across a number of areas to enhance performance such as exercise recovery and optimising neuromuscular adaptation.

NRL Link


Twitter: @GlynHowatson & @NUSportEx


Glyn Howatson

Campus Address

Northumberland Building

0191 227 3573


  • PhD
  • ACSS
  • CSci
  • FHEA

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

Glyn’s research interests are broad, but are centrally focussed on understanding the consequence of strenuous exercise and how to optimise recovery strategies to reduce the negative consequences of exercise.  In addition, Glyn and his research team are particularly interested in the neuromuscular aspects of recovery and physiological adaptation and how different exercise stressors can improve the function of the neuromuscular system. Glyn has published extensively in this area and has more than 150 peer-reviewed original research and review articles.  He is a regular contributor to the popular press where he translates research and applied experience to expert commentary to the wider population.

In recent years the research group had an increasing interest in the use of functional foods (such as cherry juice and beetroot) to improve exercise recovery and how these might be applied to improve human health.  Although a majority of work is focussed on human performance there is increasing application and translation from this work to the general population to maintain health along the life span, but also to improve the prognosis in clinical populations.

Professional Activity

  • Section Editor - Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
  • Editorial Board Member – Frontiers in Nutrition
  • Associate Editor - European Journal of Sport Sciences
  • Extra-ordinary Professor - North West University, South Africa
  • Scientific Advisory Board – GlaxoSmithKline Human Performance Lab
  • External examiner- MSc Exercise Physiology, Loughborough University
  • Chair of the BASES Laboratory Director’s Group
  • Chair of the BASES Laboratory Accreditation group
  • BASES Laboratory Accreditor
  • Invited expert advisor - English Institute of Sport
  • Invited expert advisor - UK Sport
  • Invited examiner for 26 Doctoral theses
  • BASES Laboratory Accreditor

Sponsors and Collaborators

  • Dr Dawson Kidgell, Monash University, Austalia
  • Professor Tibor Hortobagyi – University of Groningen, NL
  • Dr Malachy McHugh – Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma, USA
  • Professor Emma Stevenson - Newcastle University
  • Dr Angus Hunter – University of Stirling
  • Dr Jonathan Folland – Loughborough University
  • Professor Gareth Davison – University of Ulster
  • Professor Rob Shave – University of British Columbia, Canada
  • Professor Ken van Someren – GSK Human Performance Lab
  • Dr Jonathan Leeder, Alex Wolf, Dr Emma Ross, Dr Nathan Lewis - English Institute of Sport
  • Dr Charlie Pedlar – St Mary’s University College
  • Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme
  • GSK Human Performance Laboratory
  • Cherry Marketing Institute
  • Naturex
  • G’s Fresh
  • English Institute of Sport
  • UEFA
  • NIHR
  • LucazadeRibenaSuntory

Current/Recent Projects

Title:              Application of novel function foods in exercise recovery and sleep

Role:              Co-investigator (PI: Karen Keane)

Agency:        Active Edge Nutrition

Date:             2018-2019



Title:              Physiological demands of gymnastics

Role:              Principal investigator

Agency:        English Institute of Sport

Date:             2018-2022



Title:              Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR) as a therapy for psychological trauma

Role:              Co-investigator (PI: Andrea Scott-Bell)

Agency:        EMDR UK and Ireland

Date:             2018-2021       



Title:              The effect of 4 weeks Aronox® on cycling performance and exercise recovery following damaging exercise

Role:              Principal investigator (Co-I: Karen Keane)

Agency:        Naturex

Date:             2018-2020



Title:              Investigating concurrent training and human cognition following strenuous exercise

Role:              Principal investigator (Co-I: Crystal Haskell-Ramsay)

Agency:        GlaxoSmithKline

Date:             2017-2018



Title:              Monitoring Athlete Training Load

Role:              Co-investigator (PI: Kevin Thomas)

Agency:        Newcastle United Football Club

Date:             2017-2020    



Title:              Physiology of Olympic Sailing

Role:              Principal investigator

Agency:        British Sailing

Date:             2017-2021



Title:              Influence of tart cherry juice on health indices blood flow in middle aged adults

Role:              Principal investigator (Co-I: Karen Keane and John Lodge)

Agency:        Cherry Marketing Institute, USA and Northumbria University HEIF

Date:             2017-2020



Title:              Microbiome and performance responses to modulation of diet in well trained endurance athletes.

Role:              Co-investigator (PI: Darren Smith)

Agency:        GSK

Date:             2016-2017



Title:              Student athletes and exercise recovery

Role:              Principal investigator (Co-I: Kevin Thomas)

Agency:        Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS)

Date:             2016-2019



Title:              Fatigue & recovery of central nervous system function following heavy and explosive resistance exercise

Role:              Co-investigator (PI: Kevin Thomas)

Agency:        UKSCA

Date:             2016



Title:              Optimising player performance and readiness to train: fatigue and recovery of neuromuscular function following football match-play

Role:            Co-investigator (PI: Kevin Thomas)

Agency:       UEFA

Date:            2015



Title:              Investigating the strength and power training and its role in human performance

Role:              Principal investigator (Co-I: Duncan French)

Agency:        English Institute of Sport

Date:             2015-2018



Title:              Recovery implications from strenuous physical activity in females

Role:              Principal investigator

Agency:        Cherry Marketing Institute, USA

Date:             2015-2016



Title:              Investigating the efficacy of beetroot consumption on indices of health

Role:              Principal investigator

Agency:        G’s Fresh

Date:             2014-2017



Title:              Developement of a novel technology-based biomarker for identification of mild traumatic brain injury

Role:              Co-investigator (PI: Magdalena Ietswaart, Striling University)

Agency:        NIHR –Brain Injury: Innovation Small Competition Funding

Date:             2014-2015




Title:              Literature review on protein ingestion and exercise-induced muscle damage

Role:              Co-investigator (PI: Emma Stevenson)

Agency:        LucozadeRibenaSuntory

Date:             2014



Title:              Investigating the role of protein and cognition on human performance

Role:              Principal investigator

Agency:        GSK – Human Performance Laboratory

Date:             2014-2017



Title:              Investigating the efficacy of PWR on exercise-induced muscle damage and recovery

Role:              Co-investigator (PI - Emma Stevenson)

Agency:        G’s Fresh (PWR)

Date:             2014-2017



Title:              Monitoring and optimizing training load for sports performance

Role:              Principal investigator

Agency:        English Institute of Sport

Date:             2013-2018



Title:              Cherry juice and recovery following strenuous metabolic exercise

Role:              Principal investigator (Co-I: Emma Stevenson)

Agency:        Cherry Marketing Institute, USA

Date:             2013-2014



Title:              Influence of tart cherry juice on blood flow, cognition and exercise efficiency

Role:              Principal investigator (Co-I: Trevor George and John Lodge)

Agency:        Cherry Marketing Institute, USA

Date:             2013-2015

Key Publications

  1. Škarabot, J., Tallent, J., Goodall, S., Durbaba, R. and Howatson, G. (in press). Corticospinal excitability during shortening and lengthening actions with incremental torque output". Experimental Physiology.
  2. Thomas, K., Brownstein, C.G., Dent, J., Parker, P., Goodall, S., and Howatson, G. (10.1249/MSS.0000000000001733). Neuromuscular fatigue and recovery after heavy resistance, jump, and sprint training. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
  3. Goodall, S., Thomas, K., Barwood, M., Keane, K., Gonzalez, J.T., St Clair Gibson, A., and Howatson, G. (in press awaiting DOI). Neuromuscular changes and the rapid adaptation following a bout of damaging eccentric exercise. Acta Physiologica.
  4. Zult, T., Goodall, S., Thomas, K., Solnik, S., Hortobagyi, T., and Howatson, G. (2016). Mirror training augments the cross-education of strength and affects inhibitory paths. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 48, 1001-13.
  5. Kidgell, D.J., Frazer, A.K., Daly, R.M., Rantalainen, T., Ruotsalainen, I., Ahtiainen, J., Avela, J., and Howatson, G. (2015). Increased cross-education of muscle strength and reduced corticospinal inhibition following eccentric strength training. Neuroscience, 300, 566-575.
  6. Zult, T., Goodall, S., Thomas, K., Hortobagyi, T., and Howatson, G. (2015). Mirror illusion reduces motor cortical inhibition in the ipsilateral primary motor cortex during forceful unilateral muscle contractions. Journal of Neurophysiology, 113, 2262-70.

PGR Supervision

Director of studies

  1. Rachel Kimble. PhD thesis entitled: Influence of tart cherry juice on health indices blood flow in middle aged adults. Commenced September 2017.
  2. Alex Anastasiou, PhD thesis entitled: Physiological demands of Olympic Sailing. Commenced July 2017.
  3. Lee Eddens. PhD thesis entitled: The influence of dietary protein on recovery and adaptation. Commenced September 2014
  4. Mehdi Kordi. PT, PhD thesis entitled: Elucidating the morphological and neuromuscular basis of maximum power development in cycling performance. Commenced October 2013
  5. David Green. PT, PhD Thesis entitled:  Eccentric training and athletic performance. Commenced October 2013
  6. Susan Kwiecien. PhD thesis entitled: The use of a phase change material on managing exercise-induced muscle damage and surgically induced trauma
  7. Mellissa Harden. PhD thesis entitled: Maximising to morphological and neuromuscular adaptations to resistance exercise through effective training programme design

Co supervision

  1. Paul Andsell. PhD thesis entitled: Sex differences in excise-induced fatigue.
  2. Callum Brownstein. PhD thesis entitled: Neuromuscular responses to repeated sprint activity
  3. Paula Ellison. PhD thesis entitled: Neurophysiological correlates of fatigue and the feasibility of progressive resistance training in fatigued people with multiple sclerosis
  4. Sarah Browne. PhD thesis entitled: Cognition and human performance
  5. Steven Marshall. PhD thesis entitled: Sex differences and interventions to attenuate exercise-induced muscle damage
  6. Paul Andsell. PhD thesis entitled: Sex differences in neuromuscular fatigue


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