Exercise and Nutrition Research Group
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The focus of the research undertaken by the Exercise and Nutrition Research Group (ENRG) is on selected aspects of skeletal muscle energy metabolism related to exercise training and health, with a particular emphasis on the regulation of carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism and the mechanisms regulating their use as substrates for muscle during exercise, and in the early (3-4 hours) post-exercise recovery period. In addition, recent work has targeted the molecular adaptations to resistance and endurance exercise and the role of nutrient availability in amplifying this response. Human, animal and cell culture models are employed to assess the impact of dietary and exercise interventions on both whole body metabolism and organ-specific sites.
The aim of the clinical studies undertaken by the ENRG is to find ways to improve the health and well-being of all individuals, but particularly those with insulin resistance (a precursor to type 2 diabetes), a condition that currently affects one in 13 Australians.
The ENRG is internationally renowned and the team has ongoing collaborations with scientists in Sweden, the U.S.A., Canada and New Zealand as well as several National organisations. The ENRG maintains a highly prolific output having published 94 manuscripts in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals during the past seven years (an average of one per month).
Featured video - A longer and healthier life
RMIT University, has partnered with the Australian Institute of Sport and Nestle International as part of an Australian Research Council (ARC) project looking at how diet and exercise can promote and maintain muscle growth and help keep people active longer.
- Professor John A. Hawley, Research Group Leader
- Dr Vernon Coffey, Australian Postdoctoral Industry (APDI) Fellow
- Mr Donny Camera, PhD candidate
- Mr Stephen Lane, PhD candidate
- Mr José Areta, PhD candidate
- Ms Evelyn Parr, PhD candidate
- Ms Erin Stephenson, PhD candidate
- Mr Seán Klinkradt, PhD candidate
The research undertaken by staff of the EMG is funded by research grants from the Australian Research Council, Diabetes Australia Research Trust, National Heart Foundation, Australian Sports Commission, Nestlé Nutrition (Switzerland) and Dairy Health and Nutrition Consortium (DHNC).
Dr Vernon Coffey (Project leader)
- The molecular bases of training adaptation in muscle
- The specificity of training adaptation
- Role of amino acids in modifying training adaptation and performance
- Can early ‘gene’ responses predict training adaptation?
Mr Donny Camera
- Exercise specific cell signalling for translation initiation and glucose metabolism in muscle
- Nutrient-training interactions to promote adaptation in human skeletal muscle
Mr Stephen Lane
- Novel strategies to enhance endurance performance capacity
- Substrate metabolism during triathlon training and competition
Mr José Areta
- Protein ingestion strategies to optimise muscle mass
- Amino acid transport in skeletal muscle
Ms Evelyn Parr
- Substrate metabolism in endurance training
- Gender differences in the metabolic response to exercise
Ms Erin Stephenson
- Effects of "diabesity" on skeletal muscle metabolism
- Exercise mimetics and mitochondrial function
Mr Seán Klinkradt
- β Adrenergic signalling in skeletal muscle
- Metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease
Our research collaborators
- Prof. Louise Burke: Head of Sports Nutrition, Australian Institute of Sport
- Prof. Stuart Phillips: Exercise Metabolism Research Group, McMaster University
- Prof. Steven Britton: Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Michigan
- Prof. Ben Yaspelkis III: Exercise Physiology and Biochemistry Laboratories, California State University Northridge
- Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA)
- American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
- European College of Sport Science (ECSS)
- Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA)
Recent publications (2009-2011)
- Yeo WK, Carey AL, Burke L, Spriet LL, Hawley JA. Fat adaptation in well-trained athletes: effects on cell metabolism. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2011 Feb;36(1):12-22.
- Rivas DA, Lessard SJ, Saito M, Friedhuber AM, Koch LG, Britton SL, Yaspelkis BB 3rd, Hawley JA. Low intrinsic running capacity is associated with reduced skeletal muscle substrate oxidation and lower mitochondrial content in white skeletal muscle. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2011 Apr;300(4):R835-43. Epub 2011 Jan 26.
- Coffey VG, Moore DR, Burd NA, Rerecich T, Stellingwerff T, Garnham AP, Phillips SM, Hawley JA. Nutrient provision increases signalling and protein synthesis in human skeletal muscle after repeated sprints. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010 Dec 17. [Epub ahead of print]
- Lessard SJ, Rivas DA, Stephenson EJ, Yaspelkis BB 3rd, Koch LG, Britton SL, Hawley JA. Exercise training reverses impaired skeletal muscle metabolism induced by artificial selection for low aerobic capacity. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2011 Jan;300(1):R175-82. Epub 2010 Nov 3.
- Hawley JA, Burke LM, Phillips SM, Spriet LL. Nutritional modulation of training-induced skeletal muscle adaptations. J Appl Physiol. 2011 Mar;110(3):834-45. Epub 2010 Oct 28.
- Hawley JA, Burke LM. Carbohydrate availability and training adaptation: effects on cell metabolism. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2010 Oct;38(4):152-60. Review.
- Yaspelkis BB 3rd, Kvasha IA, Lessard SJ, Rivas DA, Hawley JA. Aerobic training reverses high-fat diet-induced pro-inflammatory signalling in rat skeletal muscle. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010 Nov;110(4):779-88. Epub 2010 Jul 2.
- Karagounis LG, Hawley JA. Skeletal muscle: increasing the size of the locomotor cell. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2010 Sep;42(9):1376-9. Epub 2010 Jun 9. Review.
- Karagounis LG, Yaspelkis BB 3rd, Reeder DW, Lancaster GI, Hawley JA, Coffey VG. Contraction-induced changes in TNFalpha and Akt-mediated signalling are associated with increased myofibrillar protein in rat skeletal muscle. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010 Jul;109(5):839-48. Epub 2010 Mar 13.
- Camera DM, Edge J, Short MJ, Hawley JA, Coffey VG. Early time course of Akt phosphorylation after endurance and resistance exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Oct;42(10):1843-52.
- Yeo WK, McGee SL, Carey AL, Paton CD, Garnham AP, Hargreaves M, Hawley JA. Acute signalling responses to intense endurance training commenced with low or normal muscle glycogen. Exp Physiol. 2010 Feb;95(2):351-8.
- Lessard SJ, Rivas DA, Chen ZP, van Denderen BJ, Watt MJ, Koch LG, Britton SL, Kemp BE, Hawley JA. Impaired skeletal muscle beta-adrenergic activation and lipolysis are associated with whole-body insulin resistance in rats bred for low intrinsic exercise capacity. Endocrinology. 2009 Nov;150(11):4883-91.
- Kirwan GM, Coffey VG, Niere JO, Hawley JA, Adams MJ. Spectroscopic correlation analysis of NMR-based metabonomics in exercise science. Anal Chim Acta. 2009 Oct 12;652(1-2):173-9.
- Coffey VG, Jemiolo B, Edge J, Garnham AP, Trappe SW, Hawley JA. Effect of consecutive repeated sprint and resistance exercise bouts on acute adaptive responses in human skeletal muscle. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2009 Nov;297(5):R1441-51. 7.
- Karagounis LG, Hawley JA. The 5' adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase: regulating the ebb and flow of cellular energetics. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2009 Dec;41(12):2360-3.
- Rivas DA, Yaspelkis BB 3rd, Hawley JA, Lessard SJ. Lipid-induced mTOR activation in rat skeletal muscle reversed by exercise and 5'-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-beta-D-ribofuranoside. J Endocrinol. 2009 Sep;202(3):441-51.
- Hawley JA, Gibala MJ. Exercise intensity and insulin sensitivity: how low can you go? Diabetologia. 2009 Sep;52(9):1709-13.
- Hawley JA. Molecular responses to strength and endurance training: Are they incompatible? Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 34:355-61, 2009.
- Stepto NK, VG Coffey, AL Carey, AP Ponnampalam, BJ Canny, D Powell, and JA Hawley. Global gene expression in skeletal muscle from well-trained strength and endurance athletes. Med Sci Sports Exerc 41:546-65, 2009.
- Hawley JA and JO Holloszy. Exercise : It’s the real thing! Nut Rev 67: 172-178, 2009.
- Coffey VG, H Pilegaard, AP Garnham, BJ O’Brien, and JA Hawley. Consecutive bouts of diverse contractile activity alter acute responses in human skeletal muscle. J Appl Physiol 106:1187-97, 2009.
Why not join us?
All enquiries about joining the group as Honours and Postgraduate students or as Postdoctoral Fellows should be directed to Professor John Hawley.
The research programs are funded from many sources and applications are considered at any time of the year.