Personal profile

Scholarly biography

Dr Alan Richardson is the Associate Dean for Academic Operations in the School of Sport and Health Sciences. Previously Alan has been Subject Lead for the Sport & Physical Activity courses and Course Leader for the Sport and Exercise Science course at the University of Brighton. His teaching and research focuses on the physiological changes and human tolerance to severe stressors, whether this be heat, hypoxia, endurance activity or recovery from critical illness.

While completing his PhD at the University of Brighton (2010), Alan worked as a research exercise physiologist on the Centre for Aviation, Space and Extreme Environment Medicine Xtreme Everest Project in 2007 and 2009, carrying out cardiopulmonary exercise testing in trekkers ascending to Everest Base Camp. He then went on to work as a Clinical Exercise Physiologist at UCLH using CPET for operative assessment.  Alan joined the University of Brighton as a Lecturer in Exercise Physiology in 2008.

Research interests

Alan's research focuses on how the human body tolerates or adapts to physiological extremes. This can have a number of applications such as the use of altitude training for elite athletes, to hypoxic exposure as a means of weight loss, the use of exercise for rehabilitation of critically ill, through to repeated extreme heat exposure potentially causing cellular damage in Fire Instructors. The work of our Environmental Extremes Research Group can be found here.

In 2013, Alan led a research project taking 30 Sport and Exercise Science students to Peru and undertaking a large number of physiological tests before, during and after the three weeks in Peru. While in Peru students and staff helped rebuild a school and then trekked for four days to Machu Picchu.

Alan is currently working on a number of projects with UK and international firefighters on reducing the health impact of severe thermal and contaminant exposure. Information on the current and past projects can be found here. 

Since March 2020, Alan has been working on a COVID19 recovery time course and rehabilitation project with hospitals around the South East of England. This project aims to explore the time course of cardiopulmonary and functional capacity improvement in previously critically ill patients. 

Approach to teaching

I really try to make my lectures as entertaining as possible. I remember back to when I was a student and try to think of what made me engage and remember content. I think the key to lecturing is not to try and get too much across in a short space of time, but get key information across so that students can understand the content.

I also realise that keeping attention and making sure content is understood by all is really difficult, so I try to break up large group lectures into a number of chunks separated by activities that check understanding and allow students to verbalise what has just been discussed.

I prefer to then engage the students in laboratory sessions to develop what they have learned in the theory-based lectures. Students learn far better through doing and applying what they do to theory. That is why we try to encourage students at Brighton into the labs as much as possible.

Supervisory Interests

At present i am currently looking to help supervise students interested in the following projects:

  • Remote monitoring of recovery from critical illness rehabilitation.
  • Exercise and physical activity for prehabilitation
  • Real time health and performance evaluation of athletes during mass participation endurance activities. 
  • Evaluating the consequence of exposure loads for occupational and health based applications.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Brighton

Award Date: 13 Oct 2010


  • QP Physiology
  • RZ Other systems of medicine
  • U Military Science (General)


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