What we do

Our goal is to improve people’s musculoskeletal health by researching the development and ageing of muscle and bone. The research will allow us to understand what factors allow us to build a strong body and maintain it into old age.

Why it is important

We must find ways to prevent bone and muscle wasting diseases (i.e. osteoporosis and sarcopenia) because they are becoming more common. These diseases cause people to lose mobility, causing isolation and loneliness.

How it can benefit patients

Simply raising awareness is important because there are treatments for bone and muscle wasting, but most people who are living with these conditions are undiagnosed. One way we are doing this is through our podcast, Bone UP. We are discovering how lifestyle, diet, exercise, and environment can improve or reduce health so that people can take active steps to improve and maintain health. Finally, we are studying how calcium makes bone strong to identify new targets for future therapies.

Summary of current research:
Diagram showing a physiological comparison between ballet dancers versus controls: bone turnover, BMI, exercise and oestrogen metabolism.


We are about to start a new project studying musculoskeletal health in undergraduate dance students in a conservatoire setting. We will be working in close collaboration with the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in Twickenham. We will learn a lot about how dancers maintain strong bodies, which we can use to help the public. We hope that research into dancers will help bring attention to the importance of lifestyle and exercise in keeping fit and healthy.

We are also studying the effect of traffic pollution on bone health to understand why particles in urban air can accumulate in our bones and make them weak. Including heavy metals released by road, tyre, and engine wear.

We are investigating how calcium makes your bones strong so we can identify the treatments that work best for increasing bone strength and reducing the risk of fracture. The research underpins all of the work above because lifestyle, diet, exercise, and pollution all affect the calcium in our bones.

A video of bone surface strain measured using DIC during a tensile loading test

A video showing how bones stretch during a test where they're pulled in opposite directions, with measurements taken using Digital Image Correlation (DIC).

Additional information


PhD students

 • Richard Stavri
• Xing Zhou
• Joudi Altaleb
• James Rowe
• Xiwen Dai
• Monil Karia
• David Wilson

Our Researchers