Student Finance - Parent and student information evening
08 February 2008
LJMU recognised for outstanding research
In recognition of three decades of outstanding research, LJMU's Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences (RISES) has been awarded the Ergonomics Society's prestigious President's Medal.
The Medal relates to work carried out by staff in the RISES' Chronobiology Research Group. Over the last 30 years, the Group's research has helped us better understand the impact of circadian rhythms and the human body clock.
Using their 'gold standard' specialist laboratories, the LJMU researchers have been able to manipulate and study the human body clock to tackle 'real world' issues. These include how to alleviate some of the problems associated with working shifts or long-haul flights, including sleep disorders and fatigue. The team have also advised British Olympic athletes and the House of Lords on the effects of jet lag and long-haul flights on human performance and health.
Greg Atkinson, Professor in Chronobiology and Exercise, explains: "The efficiency with which we can complete tasks that need muscle power and strength peaks around 6-9pm. Over the last 50 years, almost every track and field record has been set in the evening. However, tasks which require the use of our short term memory are best performed in the late morning. In terms of human health, events like myocardial infarction and stroke tend to be more common in the morning hours. We try to investigate the reasons for these observations in controlled experiments."
Professor Atkinson stresses that the President's Medal is a team award, praising the commitment and expertise of the Chronobiology Research Group (pictured below). "Professor Tom Reilly, the Director of RISES, was one of the first in the country to explore the impact of the body clock on human performance, especially in relation to sports," he says. "He is a real trail-blazer, not just in chronobiology but in the whole field of sports-related ergonomics."
He also highlighted the work of his colleague, Jim Waterhouse, LJMU's Professor of Biological Rhythms, who has completed a substantial body of work on human biological timekeeping as it applies to travel, work, sport, ageing and medicine. "His work in these areas has made a profound contribution to our knowledge and understanding of this fascinating subject," says Professor Atkinson.
The Ergonomics Society awards its President's Medal to institutions or groups that have carried out significant original research within the field of ergonomics. Though commonly associated with product design, ergonomics actually relates to the study of how humans interact with their working environment, and how, by making certain adaptations, humans can optimise their performance and safety.
The President's Medal will be formally presented to Professor Reilly during the Ergonomics Society's annual conference on April 2.
- Top: LJMU's research is helping us better understand the human body clock
- Bottom: The Chronobiology Research Group