Bedfordshire partners with Stanford University for elite athlete study

Thu 29 February, 2024
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Academics from the University of Bedfordshire are on the lookout for endurance athletes to take part in the Exercise at the Limit – Inherited Traits of Endurance (ELITE) study, in partnership with Stanford University in the US.

The project has set a recruitment goal of 10,000 athletes across the globe and Bedfordshire is searching for UK based endurance athletes with an exceptionally high maximum oxygen uptake (greater than 65 ml/kg/min for men and over 55 ml/kg/min for women). These statistics can be analysed by estimates on activity trackers such as an Apple/Garmin Watch or you can contact the team directly if you are unsure.

The Bedford-based branch of the ELITE study will be led by Dr Michael Newell from the Institue of Sport and Physical Activity Research (ISPAR), and aims to look at the genes of elite endurance athletes across the world and determine the role genetics play in athletic ability.

Speaking about this project, Dr Newell said: “I am immensely enthusiastic about this international collaboration's scope and potential. The study represents a pivotal step in understanding the genetic determinants of physical fitness in the world's most elite endurance athletes. We are hopeful that the outcomes of this study will provide ground-breaking insights into the complex tapestry of factors that contribute to elite endurance performance."

The research outcomes are anticipated to significantly impact both elite athletes and the general public. They aim to improve our understanding of individual responses to endurance training, enabling the creation of more personalised and effective exercise plans for each person.

A spokesperson for the Stanford University research group added: “We are incredibly grateful for our collaboration with Dr Newell at the University of Bedfordshire as he shares with us a deep passion for exercise physiology and plans to assist us with the ELITE study's recruitment effort, thus helping us conduct the first comprehensive genomic analysis of extreme aerobic fitness.”

For more information and to enrol in the study, click here or email


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