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Professor Greg Atkinson

Professor (Research)

Greg Atkinson

About Greg Atkinson

Greg is a Professor of Health Sciences and Biostatistics Research.  He completed his degree in Sports Science at Liverpool Polytechnic. In 1994, he completed his PhD programme, entitled 'The effects of age on human circadian rhythms'. Greg has a long-standing interest in translational physiology and joined HSCI in March of 2012.

Greg now has over 250 peer-reviewed publications listed in Scopus (as of August 2017). This number does not include abstracts in Conference proceedings. His H-Index (Scopus) is 48. His various research outputs have been cited 10,245 times in 7662 publications.

He leads the Journal Club on Lifestyle, Nutrition & Health Research (to support and develop the skills of PhD students and early stage researchers).

Research interests and activities

Greg's research interests focus on the translation of knowledge about human physiology to real world problems.  He has researched health issues relating to working shifts, as well as the mechanisms surrounding the circadian variation in sudden cardiac and cerebral events. He is particularly interested in the role of the ‘morning surge’ in blood pressure in explaining why these events are more common in the morning. He is also interested in travel health, with particular emphasis on the disturbance of the body clock by jet-lag. Greg is a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society and has published widely in research methods and statistics.  Another of Greg's interests is general exercise science, particularly the relationships between physical activity and cardiovascular health, as well as issues relating to world class cycling performance.

Specific Research interests 

·  Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
·  Circadian Rhythms
·  Physiological size scaling (allometry)
·  Biostatistics
·  Individual differences in the response to an intervention (personalised medicine)
·  Cardiovascular health

Research projects & external funding

Greg has researched the human body clock for 27 years, with the value of his expertise highlighted by, amongst other things, his selection as a presenter for an episode of the BBC Horizon programme on this topic. His primary impact case study for REF2021 is on the treatment of jet lag symptoms. This case study was one of several scored as 4* in the recent mock REF exercise. He is the School “Impact Champion” and am well aware of the processes involved in impact generation and monitoring.

As a principal applicant, Greg has personally generated over £300,000 of funding since 2004 and has been a co-investigator on many more successful grant applications totalling over £0.5 million between 2004 and now. Some of his projects have been high profile, e.g., the National Prevention Research Initiative project on shift-workers, and he has always completed these projects on time and within budget. Evidence of esteem from this funding comes from his many invites to be a keynote speaker at various international conferences, as well as the research prizes he has been awarded (e.g. The President’s Medal of the Ergonomics Society and the Bupa Prize for excellence in occupational health research). Recently, he delivered “The Tom Reilly Lecture” at the annual congress of the European College of Sports Science in Vienna. He has initiated many on-going partnerships with other academics and with businesses, especially during his NPRI project on shift-work and health. For example, he acquired funding from Lumie (Outside In Ltd) for a project on bright light interventions for the human body clock. He has also worked on projects in collaboration with staff from Manchester United Football Club. He has been involved in projects funded by research councils, besides his NPRI project, e.g. the project on modelling of training characteristics funded by the EPSRC.

PhD and research opportunities

PhD supervision

·  Mohammad Zaregarizi – Chronobiology/ Cardiovascular Physiology (completed 2009)
·  Sarah Fullick – Shiftwork and Health (completed 2010)
·  Chris Morris – Shiftwork and Health (completed 2010)
·  Lee Graves – Childrens Physical Activity including use of WII-FIT (completed 2010)
·  Nia Lewis – Circadian variation in factors influencing syncope (completed 2011)
·  Chloe Taylor – Sources of variation in human haemodynamics (completed 2011)
·  Colin Robertson – Training and time of day (completed 2013)
·  Tori Sprung – Physical Activity and PCOS (completed 2012)
·  Kelly Marrin – Chronobiology (completed 2012)
·  Andrew Thompson – Bright Light, Lumie project (completed 2013)
·  Robin Thorpe – Heart rate recovery, Manchester Utd project (part-time, on-going)
·  David Kelly – Training predictors, Manchester Utd project (part-time, on-going)
·  Sophie Suri – Exercise and Sleep Apnoea (full-time, on-going)
·  Emma Mead – Childhood obesity (full-time, on-going)
·  John Franklin – Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (full-time, on-going)
·  Om Sah – Fluoride metabolism at high and low altitudes (full-time, on-going)
·  Lorenzo Lolli – Normalisation of health-related indices (full-time, on-going)
·  Philip Williamson – Individual differences in the response to a health intervention (full-time, on-going)

External roles and professional activities


Professor of Health Sciences and Biostatistics Research

Deputy Chair, School of Health and Social Care Ethics Committee

Coordinator of the Exercise Science and Health Research group

“Impact Champion” for TU REF submission to UoA3

Consultant for potential TU REF submission in Sports Science

TU Open Access Publication (TeesRep) Committee Representative for School

Administrator, Health and Social Care Institute Twitter account: @hsciResearch

Visiting Professor (Liverpool John Moores University)


Advisory boards: 

  • Member of Editorial Advisory Board of British Medical Journal (BMJ Open)

  • Editor of International Journal of Sports Medicine (2007-2014)

  • Member of the Cancer Prevention Research Network until 2012 (Christie Hospital, Manchester)

  • Member of National Prevention Research Network community of researchers (Medical Research Council)

  • Scientific committee member for 1st WCSS International conference on Science and Cycling (Edinburgh, June, 2010).

  • Member of RfPB NIHR funding selection board

  • Member of Editorial Board for “Sports Medicine”

  • Co-Editor in Chief of the Journal of Science and Cycling


Academic societies and committee membership (2008-present):

  • Member of the Institute for Human Factors and Ergonomics

  • Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society (FRSS)

  • Member of the Physiological Society**. Organiser of a symposium at ‘Physiology 2010’ (Annual conference, Manchester)

  • Member of the European College of Sport Science

  • Guest Editor of Physiology and Behavior, and Ergonomics

  • Member of Institute of Mathematics and its Applications(IMA) Scientific Committee – Mathematical modelling in sport congress (Salford, 2007 and 2011)

  • Scientific committee – International Society for Chronobiology Conference. Viga, Spain 2010.

  • Scientific committee – European College of Sport Science annual conference (Liverpool, 2011).

  • Scientific committee – World Congress for Science and Cycling (Leeds, 2014)

  • Lead of the Northern Special Interest Group in Clinical Exercise Science (Seminar Day organiser 2014)

  • Member of the Yorkshire and North East Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Funding Committee (2014-2017)

  • Official study rater for NIHR Dissemination Centre


Awards and Prizes

  • Principal applicant and co-recipient of The Presidents Medal (Ergonomics Society) for world-leading research in Chronobiology (April, 2008) -

  • Principal applicant of the 2010 BUPA research award for excellence in occupational medicine (November, 2010) -

  • Director of Studies of recipient (Sarah Fullick) of a best poster prize at the European College of Sports Sciences annual conference (Portugal, 2008)

  • Director of Studies of recipient (Nia Lewis) of best combined oral and poster presentation at Institute of Health Research conference (Liverpool, 2009)

  • Director of Studies of recipient (Chloe Taylor) of best oral presentation award at Faculty of Science Conference (Liverpool, 2010)

  • Director of Studies of recipient (Nia Lewis) of best presentation involving an international collaboration at Institute of Health Research conference (Liverpool 2010)

  • Supervisor of recipient (Tori Sprung) of best poster award at Faculty of Science Conference (Liverpool, 2010)

  • Director of Studies of recipient (Andrew Thompson) of runner-up poster award at Faculty of Science Conference (Liverpool, 2011)

  • Supervisor of recipient (Tori Sprung) for best oral presentation award at Faculty of Science Conference (Liverpool, 2011)

  • Supervisor of recipient (Tori Sprung) for best oral presentation award at BASES annual student conference (2011)

  • Supervisor of recipient (Tori Sprung) for runner up in poster competition at ECSS annual conference (Liverpool, 2011)

  • Director of Studies of recipient (Chloe Taylor) of best oral and poster presentation award at Institute of Health Research conference (Liverpool, 2011)

  • Director of Studies of recipient (Chloe Taylor) of best research collaboration award at Institute of Health Research conference (Liverpool, 2011)

  • Director of Studies of recipient (Chloe Taylor) of best poster presentation award at The Physiological Society Annual meeting (Oxford, 2011)

  • Director of Studies of recipient (Andrew Thompson) of runner-up oral and poster presentation award at Institute of Health Research conference (Liverpool, 2011)

  • 2nd Prize in Teesside Social Enterprise Challenge for development of a shiftworker information source (2012)

  • Teesside University VC Prize for excellence in research, 2014, (Runner up) 

Invited speaker duties (2008-present):

  • ECSS congress: Symposium on thermoregulation (Portugal, 2008). Chair of two other sessions.

  • Invited lecture for International Course on Chronopharmacology (University of Mannheim, 2007 and 2008)

  • FINA congress: Invited lecture on circadian rhythms and swimming performance (Manchester, 2008)

  • UK Society for Behavioural Medicine: NPRI invited speaker (Exeter, 2009)

  • Japanese Physiological Society: invited speaker on thermoregulation and time of day (Kyoto, 2009)

  • The Royal Society: Presenter at joint workshop (University of Witwatersrand, 2009)

  • The Physiological Society: Organiser, Chair and presenter of symposium on human circadian rhythms (Manchester, 2010).

  • The Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors: Organiser and presenter in the “Tom Reilly Symposium” (Keele, 2010).

  • Chronobiology Summer School. Invited lecture on Jet-lag. (University of Mannheim, Germany, 2007,2008, 2009, 2011).

  • European Science Foundation Workshop on Sports Participation Research. (Rome, Italy). September 14-17, 2011

  • Danish Sleep Society invited lecture (Copenhagen, Denmark). March, 2012

  • University of Saarland invited speaker (Saarbrucken, Germany). March 2012

  • German Sports Medicine Congress invited speaker (Frankfurt, Germany) September, 2013

  • Invited seminar speaker (Northumbria University). 2014

  • Invited seminar speaker (University of Swansea) June, 2014

  • European College of Sports Sciences Annual Congress (Vienna 2016). Invited to deliver the Tom Reilly Memorial lecture, which is the final presentation of the congress.

  • Asian Football Federation (November 2017). Invited to participate in consensus committee for jet lag coping policies

  • Fuse Physical Activity Interest Group Seminar (Northumbria University) – Speaking on individual differences in exercise response, 31st October, 2017

  • Invited seminar speaker (University of Swansea – Dept. of Psychology), Feb, 2018

External research collaborations

Selected International Collaborations that have resulted in recent publications

·        Gregson, W. (Aspire, Qatar)

·        Cable, N.T. (Aspire, Qatar)

·        Green, D.J. (University of Western Australia, Australia)

·        Ainslie, P.N. (University of British Columbia, Canada)

·        Lewis, N.C.S. (University of British Columbia, Canada)

·        Thijssen, D.H.J. (Radboud University, Netherlands)

·        Hopman, M.T.E. (Radboud University, Netherlands)

·        Taylor, C.E. (University of Western Sydney, Australia)

·        Tzeng, Y.C. (Otago University, New Zealand)

·        Morris, C. (Harvard Medical School, USA)   

·        Bailey, T.G. (University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia)    

·        Buchheit, M. (Paris St Germain FC, France).           

·        Flegr, J. (Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic)           

·        Kratochvíl, L. (Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic)

·        Kario, K. (Jichi Medical University, Japan)   

Learning and teaching interests

Greg contributes to the following modules:

·        Advanced Research Methods for Independent Work (Professional Doctorate)

·        Using a Human Factors approach to quality improvement in health and social care

·        Undergraduate Physiotherapy Research Dissertation

·        Professional Doctorate Dissertation

·        Professional Doctorate Dissertation

·        Advanced Inquiry for MSc Nursing

Enterprise interest and activities

Greg offers consultancy in any aspect of statistical support work.


Selected publications since 2015

1.       Williamson, P.J., Atkinson, G., and Batterham, A.M. (2017). ‘Inter-Individual Responses of Maximal Oxygen Uptake to Exercise Training: A Critical Review’. Sports Medicine: p. 1-13.

2.       Thorpe, R.T., et al., (2017). ‘The influence of changes in acute training load on daily sensitivity of morning-measured fatigue variables in elite soccer players’. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. 12: p. 107-113.

3.       Thorpe, R.T., et al. (2017). ‘Monitoring fatigue status in elite team-sport athletes: Implications for practice’. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. 12: p. 27-34.

4.       Ryan, C.G., et al., (2017). ‘The association between baseline persistent pain and weight change in patients attending a specialist weight management service’. PLoS ONE. 12(6).

5.       Lolli, L., et al., (2017). ‘Size Exponents for Scaling Maximal Oxygen Uptake in Over 6500 Humans: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis’. Sports Medicine. 47(7): p. 1405-1419.

6.       Atkinson, G. and A.M. Batterham. (2017). ‘The Impact of Random Individual Differences in Weight Change on the Measurable Objectives of Lifestyle Weight Management Services’. Sports Medicine: p. 1-6.

7.       Wellburn, S., et al., (2016). ‘Displacing sedentary time: Association with cardiovascular disease prevalence’. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 48(4): p. 641-647.

8.       Thorpe, R.T., et al., (2016). ‘Tracking morning fatigue status across in-season training weeks in elite soccer players’. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. 11(7): p. 947-952.

9.       Mead, E., et al., (2016). ‘Predicting future weight status from measurements made in early childhood: A novel longitudinal approach applied to Millennium Cohort Study data’. Nutrition and Diabetes. 6.

10.     Mead, E., et al., (2016). ‘Drug interventions for the treatment of obesity in children and adolescents’. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (11).

11.     Kelly, D.M., et al., (2016) ‘The within-participant correlation between perception of effort and heart rate-based estimations of training load in elite soccer players’. Journal of Sports Sciences. 34(14): p. 1328-1332.

12.     Ehrenbrusthoff, K., et al., (2016). ‘The intra- and inter-observer reliability of a novel protocol for two-point discrimination in individuals with chronic low back pain’. Physiological Measurement. 37(7): p. 1074-1088.

13.     Douglas, J.A., et al., (2016). ‘Acute Exercise and Appetite-Regulating Hormones in Overweight and Obese Individuals: A Meta-Analysis’. Journal of Obesity.

14.     Bailey, T.G., et al., (2016). ‘Exercise training reduces the acute physiological severity of post-menopausal hot flushes’. Journal of Physiology. 594(3): p. 657-667.

15.     Atkinson, G., Lolli, L., and Batterham, A.M. (2016) ‘Presence of a high-flow-mediated constriction phenomenon prior to flow-mediated dilatation in normal weight, overweight, and obese children and adolescents’. Journal of Clinical Ultrasound. 44(7): p. 446-447.

17.     Atkinson, G., et al., (2016). ‘Brachial artery diameter, but not flow-mediated dilation, is associated with sleep apnoea in the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis’. Journal of Hypertension. 34(3): p. 410-413.

18.     Thorpe, R.T., et al., (2015) ‘Monitoring fatigue during the in-season competitive phase in elite soccer players’. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. 10(8): p. 958-964.

19.     Suri, S., et al., (2015). ‘Cross-sectional Association between Walking Pace and Sleep-disordered Breathing’. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 36(10): p. 843-847.

20.     Shaw, A.J., et al., (2015) ‘The correlation between running economy and maximal oxygen uptake: Cross-sectional and longitudinal relationships in highly trained distance runners’. PLoS ONE. 10(4).

View Greg Atkinson's Publications on TeesRep

In the news

  • Fuse workshop
    Northumbria University (Web) 02/11/2017:
    This event is focused on physical activity for the prevention and management of long term conditions Confirmed speakers include Professor Greg Atkinson (Teesside University)

  • BMJ Open - Editorial Board
    BMJ Open, 23.08.2015
    Greg Atkinson and Alan Battenham, mentioned as board members.

  • Century stand
    Evening Gazette (Teesside), 08/06/2013, p.9,
    Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation aims to find 100 Teessiders willing to donate £19 per month to help them carry out more charity work to inspire the local community. The project wil

  • Fight For Teesside As A Centurion
    Middlesbrough FC (Web), 06/06/2013
    Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation aim to quickly find 100 Teessiders willing to donate 19 per month to help them carry out more charity work to inspire the local community, helping r

  • Fight for Teesside as a centurion (Web), 05/06/2013
    One of the region’s fastest-growing charities is looking for people to join their fundraising army fighting for Teesside. Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation aim to quickly find 100 Te

  • Blood pressure medication may cause fainting when used for other ailments
    Health Canal (Web), 06/04/2013
    An international UBC-led study has found that a common blood-pressure drug can cause lightheadedness and possible fainting in some patients. The research team included Ainslie of UBC; Greg Atkinson of

  • Why fainting can result from blood pressure drug used in conjunction with other disorders
    Science Daily (Web), 12/03/2013
    A new study led by a Canadian research team has identified the reason why prazosin, a drug commonly used to reduce high blood pressure, may cause lightheadedness and possible fainting upon standing in

  • Different beat for athletes
    Evening Gazette, 18/07/2012, p.19
    A TEESSIDE University professor is investigating how the tempo of music set by drums is used by athletes to optimise their performance. Olympic gold medallist runner Haile Gerbrselassie is known to ha

  • Health prof is back home
    Evening Gazette, 28/04/2012, p.11
    An expert on the human body clock has returned to his roots to take up a position at Teesside University. Professor Greg Atkinson, 45, originally from Middlesbrough, has been appointed as a professor