GB Success for DSES Lecturer

Dr Heather Massey (who is also a member of Portsmouth and Northsea Swimming) teaches Environmental Physiology and one of her research interests investigates the effects of cold water exposure on the body. Recently she has enjoyed sporting success in firstly qualifying to represent Great Britain and then competing at the World Ice Swimming Championships held in Burghausen, Germany in January. The championships were held during the European cold snap which saw significant snow fall and cold conditions. She raced various distances from 50 m to 1 km in the lake in water temperatures of 2-3 o C with air temperatures between -5 and -14 o C. Gaining age group medals in the 200 m freestyle (1st place), 50 m Breaststroke (2nd place) and 1 km freestyle (3rd place). She has several longer open water swims planned for the summer and will be supporting two solos across the English Channel this year, as well as taking part in a channel relay herself. In her spare time, she can be found swimming along the beaches of Portsmouth in most weather and sea conditions!


Alumni becomes US Soccer’s High Performance Director

James Bunce, who completed a BSc Sport & Exercise Science (2007) & MSc Sports Performance (2011) in DSES, has recently been appointed as US Soccer’s first high performance director. James’s proactive approach to gaining sports science experience paid off when after his undergraduate degree he was appointed as an intern at Southampton FC. He stayed at the club for 8 years, going from intern to part-time, to full-time, then on to become the Head of Athletic Development. He was later offered a role as Head of Sport Science at the Premier League, subsequently becoming Head of Elite Performance within the organisation. In his new role James will be looking to implement a systematic and evidence-led approach to provide all male and female senior and youth national teams with world class performance and medical support. The advice to current students from our successful alumni? “You must make yourself stand out from the crowd. Seek experience within a club or organisation, attend as many courses and conferences as you can and build a strong network – it’s not easy but the rewards long-term will definitely be worth it!”


Dr Tom Webb from DSES Launches Book

Dr Tom Webb adds to the list of DSES staff who have recently published books with his book ‘Elite Soccer Referees; Officiating in the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A’ scheduled for launch in April 2017.


The book provides an in-depth exploration of the evolution of the match official and includes exclusive interviews with elite and ex-elite referees, as well as with professional soccer managers. The book is a fascinating read for all students with an interest in soccer, sport history, sport policy, sport management and the sociology of sport.


Tom’s referee and match official research has received a great deal of interest from the national and international media, where he has been interviewed by broadcasters such as BBC Radio 5 live, Talk Sport, Times, Radio 4 and Sky Sports. Tom’s book will soon be available online and in all good bookshops!


International Opportunities for DSES students

Chris Hughes, DSES Associate Head (Education), recently visited Universities in both Canada and USA to establish partnerships for student exchange and study abroad opportunities. Each institution was chosen due their differing size, location and exchange offering. SUNY Brockport is a relatively small college in upstate New York which had a friendly community feel. Brock Ontario is in the beautiful Niagara region; close to the USA border for students who wish to travel a little further afield.


Western Ontario has a very good academic standing and based within an attractive, traditional campus with a full range of facilities. Minnesota is a city-centre campus within the twin cities Minneapolis and St Pauls, one of the top ranked Universities in USA. Each exchange opportunity would offer something slightly different depending on the student’s preference. As you might imagine the sports facilities at both Canadian and USA Universities are extensive and of the very highest standard; something to be seen! All institutions offered a very warm welcome, signed the agreements and are keen to see the movement of students between their institutions and the University of Portsmouth.


Kate Gritsinina (BSc Sports Management with Business Communication, Level 6) undertook a work placement with Nelo Kayaks – the largest canoe manufacturer in the world, based in Portugal, as part of the Erasmus+ scheme last summer. During this two-month internship she was involved in event organisation, marketing and worked in a sponsorship management role. Kate said “This work placement with an international sports corporation allowed me to experience a new culture, explore the country, establish further career plans and to gain valuable experience within numerous managerial disciplines within sporting industry, which I also consider being as a major boost to my employment opportunities”.


For discussion about international opportunities for 2017-18 or 2018-19 contact


Wear a Hat Day Fundraising for Brain Tumour Research

On Thursday 30th March the Science Faculty office took part in Wear A Hat Day in order to raise money for Brain Tumour Research who fund our Centre of Excellence here at the University.


The Centre of Excellence dedicates its research to focusing on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of brain tumour development and progression in response to therapy. Geoff Pilkington and his team of specialist researchers within the Cellular and Molecular Neuro-Oncology Group work tirelessly to find new levels of understanding of all types of brain tumour and the methods required to cure them. Their team is strengthened with MSc and Erasmus students. Geoff meets with many brain tumour patients and carers throughout the year and this charity and the team's associated research is close to their hearts.


The faculty office helped raise money for vital brain tumour research by coming to work wearing hats and bringing in hat themed cakes to sell as well as a 'Name the Llama' sweepstake. The event was a huge success which saw staff and students from throughout the faculty and the University pop in and buy a cake and donate some money. It was great to see so many people wearing hats and supporting a fantastic cause.


The faculty managed to raise an impressive £170 from selling badges, cakes, sweepstake entries and also a few online donations. 

A massive thank you to everyone involved who donated, wore a hat, baked cakes and got into the spirit of raising money for charity- it couldn't have been done without you!


Check out some of our pictures from the day below.


Sports Management Student Wins BUCS Sports Bursary

Article from the Sport and Recreation website.


Sport and Recreation Tennis Coordinator and Sports Management Masters student, Emma Boucher, has won the Chris Potter Sports Bursary!


British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) have awarded the Chris Potter Sports Bursary to a committed tennis player and coach from the University of Portsmouth.

Emma Boucher, a Sports Management Masters student at Portsmouth, was awarded the first prize of £750 for the significant contribution she has made to tennis whilst at university.


Whilst studying for her undergraduate degree, Emma took on the role of Tennis Activator as part of our Get Active, Stay Active programme. Throughout her volunteering, she was able to build an inclusive tennis programme for both team and recreational players. Emma worked hard to deliver sessions such as Beginner Tennis, Returner Tennis, Campus Sport Box League, Monthly and Termly tournaments, Drop In Cardio Tennis and Touch Tennis, BUCS Doubles team training and Doubles Club recreational coached sessions.


In addition to her role as Tennis Activator, Emma also undertook roles within the University Tennis Club. During her undergraduate degree, she was Vice President, Women’s 1st Team Captain and University Tennis Ambassador. In her third year, she also took on the role of President whilst continuing her role as University Tennis Ambassador.


Currently completing her Masters degree, Emma also works for the Department of Sport and Recreation as the University Tennis Coordinator. In addition to this, she is also Women’s 1st Team Captain for the University Tennis Club.


Her involvement has helped to contribute to a 41% increase in student club membership at the tennis club this year.


“I am extremely grateful to all the support given to me by the University of Portsmouth”


After hearing the news of winning the bursary, Emma had the following comments:


“I am truly grateful and very privileged to be awarded the Chris Potter Sports Bursary for 2017. My sincere thanks go to BUCS, the family of Chris Potter and the Department of Sport and Recreation. Without their invaluable support, this bursary would not have been possible.  My love for tennis is a key motivator in making this fantastic game accessible to all students, whatever their ability, and to ensure their student experience, whilst at University, is enhanced by sport.


I am extremely grateful to all the support given to me by the University of Portsmouth, The Lawn Tennis Association, Tennis Foundation and many local sports organisations who continue to support my vision of making tennis available to all who have a desire to play. This bursary will secure the funding for my level 3 tennis coaching qualification, ensuring the University can continue to offer students the opportunity to participate in this great sport at all levels.”


Emma will be officially recognised for the bursary at the BUCS Awards Dinner on Thursday 13 July 2017.


The Chris Potter Sports Bursary has been running for the last 26 years. Applications for the annual bursary will be open again at the start of 2017-18 academic year. To find out more on the Chris Potter Sports Bursary, please click here.



DSES staff raise £2k for charity in memory of a colleague

In February DSES were extremely saddened by the loss of their colleague Dr Alex Milligan who lost her fight with leukaemia after a brave and inspirational 15 month battle. Alex had been part of the department for 10 years, as an UG and Masters student and later as a PhD student and Senior Research Associate, and was a popular and much loved colleague and friend to many. In response 17 members of DSES took part in a ‘DeChox’ challenge during March where chocolate (and anything with cocoa in it!) was banned to raise money for Bloodwise, a UK specialist blood cancer charity. To-date ‘Team DeChox’ has raised an impressive £2000.


It is not too late to donate to this worthy cause, please visit our JustGiving page (


Alex was passionate about raising awareness of the importance of blood and stem cell donation and encouraging people to become donors as she benefited from this throughout her treatment. For more information on how to become a donor please visit and


School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences Careers Conference

On the 7th February the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences hosted its first combined careers conference for Biomedical Science and Pharmacology undergraduates. Building upon the successes of our original Biomedical Science conference and appealing to a wider audience, the day revolved around a variety of external speakers, many of whom were School alumni, representing a diverse range of careers. Spanning careers in biomedical and clinical science, clinical medicine, research, medical sales and the pharma industry, students were able to learn about careers directly associated with their own degree pathways. Valuable careers advice was available during a dynamic ‘ask the guest’ session, expertly compèred by the Pharmacology course leader Dr. David Laight. To add some variety, and broaden student horizons, a publishing editor, biotech innovator and teacher also enhanced the day, ensuring there was something on offer for everyone.


A networking lunch, supported by Purple Door, added another dimension to really enable students to gain the most from the event. Students not only had the opportunity to reflect on the morning’s events, but to talk to the guests individually and ask more probing questions about their careers and personal experiences. Jonathan Crowe, Editor-in- Chief from Oxford University Press and guest speaker at the conference said “With the graduate jobs market being more competitive than ever, it is great to see colleagues at Portsmouth going the extra mile to give their students the best chance of success in their future careers. It is an important initiative that I’m delighted to support.”


Kate Mallinder and Laura Neculai, both second year student representatives, found the event a valuable addition to their studies and said "The careers conference provided a wide range of useful information that can help students make a thoroughly informed decision regarding their future, post-graduation."  Whereas Gavin Knight, course leader for the Biomedical Science degree and one of the conference organisers said “I am really pleased with the way this event came together and the contribution of all those involved was incredibly valuable; student engagement throughout the event was exemplary and we couldn’t have been more proud of how our students engaged with our guests”.


With this success, planning for next year’s Biomedical Science and Pharmacology careers conference starts in earnest.


Professor Arthur Butt awarded Grant for Research into critical function of Kir4.1 for a healthy brain

Professor of Cellular Neurophysiology, Professor Arthur Butt from the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences has been awarded a grant from the Medical Research Council (MRC) to research the critical function of Kir4.1 for the life-long generation of oligodendrocytes and myelin in contribution to the maintenance of a healthy aging brain.


The massive computing power of the brain depends on the insulation of nerve cell connections with myelin sheaths, by cells known as oligodendrocytes. Bundles of these 'myelinated' connections form the white matter that is very prominent in the human cortex. The loss of myelin is a feature of multiple neuropathologies, most notably Multiple Sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases.


However, myelin loss is also important in the poor clinical outcomes of cerebral palsy, stroke, and traumatic injury. Importantly, oligodendrocytes are continuously being lost and regenerated from a pool of stem cells in the brain, called oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs). These regenerative processes are essential for the life-long maintenance of myelin and for repair of myelin following damage. The failure or impairment of repair results in the loss of myelin and can have devastating effects on brain function.


Professor Arthur Butt and his research team have identified a key factor that is essential for oligodendrocyte generation, known as Kir4.1 channels. The aim of this project is to determine the mechanisms by which Kir4.1 in OPCs controls the life-long generation of oligodendrocytes and myelin and maintenance of a healthy ageing brain.


This will provide new knowledge on the mechanisms controlling the generation of myelin and how this may go wrong in pathology and may ultimately lead to the identification of new cellular targets for protecting myelin and preserving a healthy brain.


In addition to the MRC grant, Arthur has also recently published a high profile paper in the journal PLoSBiol about a study funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the MS Society UK. The study focuses on on identifying drugs for brain repair in PLOS Biology. Read the paper here:


Biological Sciences Employer's Fair

The School of Biological Sciences held its first Employer’s Fair in the Atrium, Portland Building on Thursday 23 March. Exhibitors included ThermoFisher Scientific, Furgo, Operation Wallacea, Oil Spill Rescue, and Enterprise. In addition, alumni members were present along with the team from Purple Door.


The event was attended by approximately 60 -70 students during its two-hour duration, after they had given their poster presentations at the School’s Research Day. Some students were given 15-minute interviews during the Fair, providing them with the chance to improve their interview technique.


The Fair formed part of the School’s Research Day and some of the exhibitors attended the student’s poster session earlier in the day. This inclusion was probably responsible for its apparent success, with students being well informed that the Fair formed part of their day. The programme was published in advance along with information on posters and the research talk and Moodle was used to help advertise the event. Lunch was provided for everyone in the foyer of King Henry Building, after which postgraduate students and staff also attended the Fair. The exhibitors from ThermoFisher Scientific also sent out messages to staff that they deal with in the University, inviting them to attend the event.


The exhibitors appeared to have enjoyed themselves, with one team stating that the event was one of the best attended that they had participated with so far. Advice was given to students on a variety of subjects, including work placements and working abroad, and freebies available included pens, calendars, sweets and memory sticks. It was noticed that the event attracted people from outside the department, who interacted with the exhibitors.


Thanks go to Ian Hendry and Chris Beatie, who helped organise the event, and to Darren Mernagh, Joy Watts, Garry Scarlett and Liz Holford, who gave 15-minute interviews to students.


Images below from left to right: Fisher Scientific stand, Operation Wallacea stand, Oil Spill Response stand, 2 of our Alumni- Andy from Fugro (left) and Miles from Illumina (right), Liz Holford (Purple Door) giving advice to two students, Andy from Fugro talking with students.


DSES Careers Development Prize

This year’s DSES-sponsored £500 Career Development Prize has been presented to Rosaria Barretto (Pictured Centre, BSc Exercise & Fitness Management, level 5) towards gaining a Level 3 Diploma in Sports Massage. Further awards of £250 were awarded to Adrian Fautly (MSc Clinical Exercise Science), Matt Blandford (MRes Science), Jack Thomas (BSc Sport & Exercise Science, Level 6), Marcus Campopiano (MSc Sports Performance) and Ryan Edge (Not pictured, BSc Sport & Exercise Science, Level 6) for a variety of courses and workshops.


These awards provide financial support to successful applicants who can clearly demonstrate how the award will enhance their career development and future employment prospects. Well done all!


The Extreme Environments Laboratory, DSES Television Appearances

Written by Professor Mike Tipton


Times have changed. Twenty five years ago academics who worked with the media tended to be ostracised by the academic community, now they are embraced; with folk like Professor Brian Cox becoming “personalities”. This has occurred with the realisation that the media is a direct route to inform and engage the public and, hopefully, influence youngsters to follow academic, in our case scientific, careers.


In the Extreme Environments Laboratory (EEL) of DSES, mostly because of our excellent facilities, photogenic staff and subject area expertise, we get a lot of media enquiries each year; over 40 in 2016. Included in these are about a dozen requests to film in EEL. We try to filter these by determining 1. Is the programme going to inform and increase the awareness and safety of the public? 2. Is the programme going to enhance the profile and reputation of the University? As a result of these questions we have refused a programme provisionally entitled “Miracles in Medicine”, we also refused “Top Gear” who wanted to see if one of the presenters froze sooner than a BMW!


The most recent programme to be broadcast that was filmed in EEL was Channel 4's “Staying Healthy: A Drs Guide” with Dr Pixie McKenna. Although broadcast recently, they filmed in EEL several months ago. The filming day follows the same pattern each time, early start and late finish, lots of repetition and about one hour of filming per minute of broadcast time! However, the benefit is that you will have the opportunity to speak and demonstrate to 2-3 million people in one go; that’s a lot of lectures! In the show we demonstrate and talk about “cold shock”, which we have researched for many years and which is the primary cause of death on immersion in cold water. We immersed three boxers in 12 °C water, making sure we were well out of arms reach! It is young men who make up the largest group in the drowning statistics and who are most resistant to safety messages. The boxers struggled to hold their breath and had a big cardiac response. We explained the dangers of cold shock and how to reduce these problems whilst still enjoying the water. Job done, message broadcast and hopefully received by a few at least.


In the UK there is an immersion-related death, on average, every 20 hours. For each death there are many more who suffer life-long morbidity. If programmes such as the most recent reduce these desperate statistics then we will have achieved one of our ongoing aims. Over the last thirty years we have seen the number of immersion deaths in the UK almost halved, from about 750 to about 400, this is still too many.


The UK National Drowning Prevention Strategy aims to “reduce accidental drowning fatalities in the UK by 50% by 2026, and reduce risk amongst the highest risk populations, groups and communities”. This year, as in previous years, we and our work will support the RNLI’s “Respect the Water Campaign”. This year’s campaign will be launched on the 25th May and will focus on how to stay alive during the first minutes of immersion; so the 5 minute film made in EEL, and broadcast in the programme with Dr Pixie McKenna, will provide an excellent accompaniment to that theme, and to that laudable aim.


Watch Mike's segment with the EEL from "Staying Healthy: A Dr's Guide" here at 32 minutes into the programme:


Dean of Science, Professor Sherria Hoskins, wins funding to change lives

-Article from UoP News


Disadvantaged students are to benefit from a new project, led by the University of Portsmouth, which aims to challenge stereotypes to raise the expectations of students and their teachers and to build belief in their abilities.


The project, run by Professor Sherria Hoskins, Dean of Science at the University of Portsmouth, has been awarded £500,000 by Hefce, the Higher Education Funding Council for England.


She and Dr Jessica Gagnon, senior research fellow in the University’s School of Education and Childhood Studies, will lead the project with 5,200 university students and 800 university staff who work with them at five universities.


The students who will benefit are from the groups least likely to apply to university and, if they do attend, most likely to drop out, or not perform well academically, despite entering with excellent qualifications.


The main aim of the project is to try and close the attainment gap in black and minority ethnic groups and those from the working class.


The changing mindsets project includes helping overturn sometimes deeply-held beliefs and prejudices that an individual can’t achieve, and replacing it with an understanding that the ability to do things grows through effort and by embracing challenges. It has been reported to have had a profound effect on children and their teachers in previous trials.


Professor Hoskins said: “This is the first time a group of UK universities have joined forces to trial a project which has the potential to eradicate the impact of stereotype threat on performance in university students.


“I am delighted to have won funding; it underlines the urgent need to find out why some people who are more than capable intellectually of studying at university so often fail to complete their courses, or do so with lower grades.  It is not acceptable to continue to accept the achievement gap between students who enter with similar grades.


“Our belief is that growth mindset techniques – which is relatively simple to apply – will help change the culture in higher education institutions, by working with students and teaching staff.


“We expect the results will help bring about a sea change for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who have the potential to study and do extremely well at university.”


Read more on UoP News.



Funding Success for Glaciology Research Group

The members of the University of Portsmouth’s Glaciology Research Group (UoPG) have managed to secure a number of research and travel grants for the 2017 fieldwork season. Harold Lovell and Clare Boston, both senior lecturers in the department, have been awarded £937 from the Quaternary Research Association (QRA) for their planned fieldwork in Cumbria, UK. The project will employ the department’s ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to investigate the subsurface architecture of the Brampton kame belt. This is one of the largest glaciofluvial systems in the UK and holds valuable information about the deglaciation of the last British-Irish Ice Sheet.


The group’s PhD students Lauren Knight and Paul Weber have been equally successful in obtaining funding. Both have received grants from the University’s Science Faculty to support research placements overseas. Lauren will be working with the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) in Dublin on a project closely related to her PhD research in the Wicklow Mountains, Ireland. Paul, whose PhD research focuses on plateau icefields in Norway, will collaborate with the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) in Oslo.


In addition, Paul has been successful with two major fieldwork grants. He has been awarded the QRA’s New Research Workers’ Award (£900) and the Royal Geographical Society’s RGS-IBG Postgraduate Research Award (£2,000) to support his upcoming field campaign at the Øksfjordjøkelen icefield, northern Norway. His project will document the recessional landforms and retreat patterns of the icefield since the Little Ice Age (LIA) and examine how icefield recession dynamics are influenced by local topographic and hypsometric factors. The findings of this project will be useful to help predict the effect of future climate change on the retreat dynamics of small Arctic ice masses.


Altogether, a series of funding successes for UoPG.


Collaborative research between University of Portsmouth (UoP) and Edith Cowen University (ECU) Australia

On June 17th Ken Street, Course Leader BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science, will fly out to Darwin Australia to begin working with Dave Reid, Director of Paramedical Programs ECU, on a qualitative research project investigating and comparing the educational differences between paramedic teaching in Australia and the UK. This collaboration has four partners; ECU; St John (NT); UoP and South Central Ambulance Service. 


Dave is Lead Investigator and he will be supervised by Dr. Shelley Beatty, Associate Professor ECU, and has secured funding of $10,000 AUS to support this research. This funding will pay for Ken’s visit in June, a reciprocal visit for Dave in July and a research intern. The research question is:


What are the strengths and weaknesses of skills acquisition of Australian and United Kingdom tertiary paramedic training programs?


Key protagonists from within paramedic education, to include, representatives from the both the Australian and UK ambulance services, academic staff from both institutions who are directly involved in the delivery of paramedic education, current student paramedics and qualified paramedics will be invited to attend a number of semi-structured focus groups in both Australia and the UK. The ultimate aim will be a publication in a peer reviewed journal by the end of 2017. 



Dr Mick Harper from SHSSW awarded Principal Fellowship

The Higher Education Academy is an independent organisation committed to pursuing world class teaching in HE. The HEA runs a fellowships programme, fully aligned with the UK professional standards framework and is a mark of quality and international recognition of commitment to  professionalism in teaching and learning.  Dr Mick Harper has recently been awarded his Principal Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA) of which there are fewer than 700 currently registered internationally. PFHEA is only awarded to senior HE staff who have demonstrated sustained strategic leadership and impact in teaching and learning and is the highest fellowship to be awarded.


Mick states ‘ I am very proud to receive my PFHEA status and become the 8th PFHEA in the UoP. I look forward to working more closely with the HEA and others in the pursuance of excellence in teaching and learning’.