Alan Richardson

Great questions from UCTC - Me and Emma were impressed!!

Favourite Thing: I like seeing students engaging with science through working in the labs and developing over the three years they are here.



Tideway School, Newhaven 1995-2000, Lewes Sixth Form 2000-02, University of Brighton BSc 2002-2005, PhD 2005 – 2009.


BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science, PhD in Exercise Physiology, PGCHE (Postgraduate certificate in Higher Education – Teaching qualification)

Work History:

Personal Trainer – Wave Leisure 2002-05, Teaching Assistant – University of Brighton 2005-2007, Physiologist on Everest – Caudwell Xtreme Everest 2007, Cardiopulmonary Exercise Physiologist – University College London 2007-2008, Lecturer – University of Brighton 2008-Current

Current Job:

Senior Lecturer and Course Leader for Sport and Exercise Science, University of Brighton


University of Brighton

Me and my work

Much of my research looks at how and why people tolerate extreme environments such as heat, cold and hypoxia (altitude).

My Typical Day

Impossible to say – everyday is very different.

Aside from the steadily growing pile of marking this time of year, much of my day is spent dealing with the Sport and Exercise Science course at the University of Brighton. I do approximately six hours of contact teaching per week plus lots of tutorials and other course based tasks.

I spend a much of my time working with PhD students conducting studies in our labs on extreme heat, cold or hypoxia (altitude). I currently have three PhD students, one working part time at the English Institute of Sport studying the use of altitude training for elite UK athletes. The second is investigating the use of internal and external cooling and the third is investigating the use of altitude and hypoxia on fat metabolism (breakdown) and appetite.

Part of my contract is obviously to do research at the university which at present is mainly spent on the Peru Project and Fire Service Health Project discussed below.

What I'd do with the money

Help the undergraduate students to make videos for school children on how people adapt to environmental extremes.

The videos would explain what goes on in the body that allows people to tolerate extreme environments. This would be explained by the undergraduate Sport and Exercise Science students, in a way that relates to children, adolescents and their peers. Explaining it in a way that is exciting and understandable, yet still discusses the science behind the adaptations. These explanations will use the labs we have here at the university to visualise the changes in outdoor environment.

– How do fire fighters cope with going into fires?

– How do people adapt to altitude in order to climb Mount Everest?

– How has the ‘Icemans’  body adapted to allow him to swim in ice cold seas with icebergs!?


My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Organised Conscientious Logical

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Ben Howard

What's your favourite food?

Singapore Vermicelli and Kung Po Chicken! Yum!

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Travelling around the East coast of America with my mates for summer

What did you want to be after you left school?

A professional rugby player

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Never – I was what you would describe as teachers pet.

What was your favourite subject at school?

Human Biology

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Work at cardiopulmonary exercise physiology Lab at Everest Base Camp, Nepal.

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

I just loved knowing about the human body ans was interested in knowing how far you could train it.

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

Sports Journalist

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

To not have to worry about money, To have a happy and healthy family, To play Augusta

Tell us a joke.

Why can’t you hear a pterodactyl in the bathroom? Because it has a silent pee

Other stuff

Work photos:


Lecturing at University of Brighton involves lots of time spent in the labs with undergraduate and postgraduate students doing all sorts of physiological tests. Here is a picture of me using a hypoxic mask while undertaking maximal contractions on a leg press until I fatigue.


I mainly lecture on the effects of extreme environments, which means the students have to undergo those conditions so we can see how people react, here is Ben in the heat chamber at 40C and 50% humidity


We also run training modules to investigate the use of environmental extremes in athletic training


I spend a lot of time teaching the methods use to measure cardiovascular fitness, sometimes we then go and take these into the wider world. Here are some students running the maximal oxygen uptake tests at the Brighton Marathon Expo



In 2007 I worked for Caudwell Xtreme Everest, which was a medical research expedition to Everest, looking at how people adapt to altitude. We did lots of tests on 200 trekkers on their way up to Everest Base Camp. My main role was to help set up the exercise labs and then run cardiopulmonary exercise tests.

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Recently in April I lead a research expedition to Peru with 30 undergraduate students. The purpose of this was to better understand how humans adapt to going to altitude and how we may possibly screen or predict whether some individuals get ill while others do not. If you want to find out more please go to my blog that I have created with the help of some of the undergraduate students.

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Fire Service

Currently my main research interest is with the Fire Service and trying to investigate whether fire instructors get ill because of all the training in the hot environments they have to do. I am also looking at ways in which we can help to reduce this effect on the instructors.

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