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Sporting great opens King's Sport Science facilities

King’s alumna Dame Katherine Grainger, Great Britain’s most decorated female Olympian joined staff and students in the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine today to officially open two new teaching and research facilities.

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Katherine Grainger

The Olympic rower and King’s alumna opened the new Biomechanics and Motor Control Laboratory and a new Exercise Physiology suite which will be used by students on the new Sport & Exercise Medical Sciences BSc.

Ranked first in London for research in Sport and Exercise Sciences (REF2014), King’s launched its first undergraduate course in the subject in 2018. Taught by both research scientists and clinicians, the Sport & Exercise Medical Sciences BSc combines sport and exercise sciences with a medical focus. The course brings together a unique combination of experts in cell biology, physiology, biomechanics, nutrition and psychology as well as clinicians and physical activity epidemiologists.

Dame Katharine toured the Centre for Human & Applied Physiological Sciences meeting academic staff including Centre Director, Professor Stephen Harridge and Dr Richard Bruce, Course Director for Sport & Exercise Medical Sciences BSc. 

The Biomechanics and Motor Control Laboratory contains a fully integrated motion capture system which is used by students to investigate the mechanisms involved in the control of movements in athletes, the elderly and patients. Students using the facility will learn to assess the impact on treatment, training and rehabilitation programmes on their ability to support the recovery or improvement of performance.

The Exercise Physiology Laboratories are a facility for academics, clinicians and students working on a variety of projects involving the assessment of physiological e aspects of exercise performance and responses to training from athletes to patients.

Dr Bruce said, ‘This type of course is ever more relevant with the growing focus on public health approaches that aim to treat or prevent disease/injury through physical activity and lifestyle interventions. Here at King’s, we are aiming to run a high-level sport sciences course which encompasses the different ways exercise is important across the lifespan and in different populations. It feels fitting to have one of the country’s most respected athletes here today to officially open the facilities and help put King’s on the map for sport and exercise medical sciences’.

King's has a proud history with athletes from a wide range of sports having studied here on their way to achieving success in their chosen discipline at a professional, national or international level. In addition to Dame Katharine Grainger, recent King’s alumna, Dina Asher-Smith is currently European Champion over 100m and 200m  and an Olympic Bronze medallist. The King's Sport Performance programme supports and develops some of the most talented athletes and teams within our student body and offers University Sports Scholarships to students who compete in their chosen sport at the highest level whilst studying at King’s.

During the tour of the Centre, Dame Katherine was also given a demonstration of the Environmental Chamber; this facility is widely used by King’s physiology students to test how the human body responds to different extreme environments, and how physical and psychological performance can be affected by conditions such as prolonged high temperature and humidity, or low levels of oxygen like that at high altitude. 

Professor Stephen Harridge commented:  We are delighted to now have these new state-of-the-art facilities to allow us to deliver both a fantastic educational experience to our students as well as providing new opportunities or research. Getting more people to become more physically active is arguably the most important issue for improving population health.