Dr Sam Lucas PhD, BSc, BPhEd (hons)

Dr Sam Lucas

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Lecturer in Exercise and Environmental Physiology

Contact details

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Sam Lucas is an integrative physiologist whose primary research interests are focused on the mechanisms that regulate human cerebral blood flow in health and disease. He has a specific interest in how cerebral blood flow is regulated with ageing and during stress (esp. hypoxia, exercise, orthostatic, thermal and cognitive) and the resultant impact on function (e.g., breathing control, neurophysiological and psychological responses). His research direction is to continue to expand knowledge in this area, as well as investigate how and what forms of exercise best improve brain and systemic vascular function.


2008 Doctor of Philosophy, University of Otago

2002  Bachelor of Science (Physiology), University of Otago

2001  Bachelor of Physical Education (Honours, 1st Class), University of Otago


Dr Lucas completed his PhD in 2008 at the University of Otago, New Zealand. His thesis investigated the physiological and cognitive consequences of prolonged exercise. Dr Lucas then had 5 years post-doctoral training focused primarily around techniques to measure cerebral perfusion and understanding the integrative mechanisms that regulate cerebral blood flow during stress and how this may be altered in different populations.

He joined SportEx as a Lecturer in March 2013 and also holds an Honorary Lectureship in the Department of Physiology, University of Otago, New Zealand.


Dr Lucas contributes to the Environmental Physiology 3rd year Module and to the Exercise Physiology 2nd year module.

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Lucas is currently supervising four doctoral researchers (based in New Zealand) and welcomes applications from prospective doctoral researchers in his areas of interest, particularly those interested in examining the relation between cerebrovascular function, exercise and cognition.


Regulation of cerebral blood flow in health and disease; exercise and brain health; cerebral blood flow, exercise and cognition; role of cerebral blood flow in breathing control; Exercise and Environmental Physiology.

Other activities

Member of The UK Physiological Society and the European College of Sport Science


Guiney, H., Lucas, S.J.E., Cotter, J.D., Machado, L. (2014). Evidence superior brain blood flow regulation mediates physical activity-related cognitive benefits in healthy young adults. Neuropsychology, in press.

Faull, O.K., Cotter, J.D., Lucas, S.J.E. (2014). Cerebrovascular responses during rowing performance: Do circadian rhythms explain a difference between morning and afternoon performance? Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, in press

Perry, B.G., Lucas, S.J.E., Thomas, K.N., Cochrane, D.J., Mündel, T. (2014). The effect of hypercapnia on static cerebral autoregulation. Physiological Report, in press

Burgess, K.R., Lucas, S.J.E., Thomas, K.N., Shepherd, K., Dawson, A., Swart, M., Lucas, R.A.I., Donnelly, J., Peebles, K.C., Basnyat, R., & Ainslie, P.N. (2014). Influence of cerebral blood flow on central sleep apnoea at high altitude. Sleep, in press.

Lizamore, C.A., Stoner, L, Lucas, S.J.E., Lucero, A., Hamlin, M.J. (2014). Does arterial health affect VO2peak and muscle oxygenation in a sedentary cohort. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, in press.

Thomas, K.N., Cotter, J.D., Lucas, S.J.E., Hill, B.G., van Rij, A.M. (2014). The reliability of contrast-enhanced ultrasound for the assessment of muscle perfusion in health and peripheral vascular disease. Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, in press

Francois, M.E., Manning, P.J., Baldi, J.C. Lucas, S.J.E, Hawley, J.H. Cotter, J.D. (2014). Cardiometabolic benefits of ‘exercise snacking’ in pre-diabetes. Diabetologia, doi: 10.1007/s00125-014-3244-6

Perry, B.G., Mündel, T, Cochrane, D.J., Cotter, J.D., Lucas, S.J.E. (2014). The cerebrovascular response to graded Valsalva maneuvers whilst standing. Physiological Reports, doi: 10.1002/phy2.233.

Foster, G.E., Ainslie, P.N., Stembridge, M. Day, T.A., Bakker, A., Lucas, S.J.E., Lewis, N.C.S., Macleod, D., Lovering, A.T. (2014). Pulmonary hemodynamics and shunting: a comparison of sea-level inhabitants to high altitude Sherpas. Journal of Physiology, 592(6):1397-409

Smirl, J.D., Lucas, S.J.E., Lewis, N.C.S, duManior, G., Smith, K.J., Sherpa, N., Basnet, A.S., Ainslie, P.N. (2014). Cerebral pressure-flow relationship in lowlanders and natives at high altitude. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism,  34:248-57

Lewis, N.C.S., Bailey, D.M., DuManoir, G.R., Messinger, L., Lucas, S.J.E., Cotter, J.D.  Donnelly, J., McEneny, J. Young, I.S., Stembridge, M., Burgess, K.R., Basnet, A.S., Ainslie, P.N. (2014). Conduit artery structure and function in lowlanders and native highlanders: relationships with oxidative stress and role of sympathoexcitation. Journal of Physiology, 592(5):1009-24

Perry, B.G., Schalder, Z.J., Barnes, M.J., Cochrane, D.J., Lucas, S.J.E., Mündel, T. (2014). Hemodynamic response to upright resistance exercise: effect of load and repetition. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 46(3):479-87

Ainslie, P.N., Lucas, S.J.E., Burgess, K.R. (2013). Breathing and sleep at high altitude: Invited review: Special issue “Sleep and Breathing” of Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology, 188(3):233-56

Lucas, S.J.E., Lewis, N.C.S., Sikken, E.L.G., Ainslie, P.N. (2013). Slow breathing as a means to improve orthostatic intolerance: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Applied Physiology, 115(2):202-11

Perry, B.G., Schalder, Z.J., Raman, A., Cochrane, D.J., Lucas, S.J.E., Mündel, T. (2013). Middle cerebral artery blood velocity in response to lower body positive pressure. Clinical Physiology Functional Imaging, 33(6):483-8.

Cotter, J.D., Lucas, S.J.E., Mündel, T. (2013). Environmental physiology research presented at ICEE2013. Extreme Physiology & Medicine, 2(1):22

Burgess, K.R., Lucas, S.J.E., Shepherd, K., Dawson, A., Swart, M., Thomas, K.N., Lucas, R.A.I., Peebles, K.C., Basnyat, R., & Ainslie, P.N. (2013). Worsening of central sleep apnea at high altitude – a role for cerebrovascular function. Journal of Applied Physiology, 114(8):1021-8.

Croft, J. L., Button, C., Hodge, K., Lucas, S.J.E. & Cotter, J.D. (2013). The effect of training on physiological response to cold-water immersion in inexperienced swimmers. ASEM, 84 (8): 850-855.

Lewis, N.C.S., Ainslie, P.N., Atkinson, G., Jones, H., Lucas, S.J.E. (2013). Initial orthostatic hypotension: effect of alpha-1 adrenoreceptor activity. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 304(2):R147-54.

Murrell, C.J., Cotter, J.D., Thomas, K.N., Lucas, S.J.E., Williams M.J.A. & Ainslie, P.N. (2013). Cerebral blood flow and cerebrovascular reactivity at rest and during sub-maximal exercise: Effect of age and 12 weeks exercise training. Age, 35, 905-920.

Ainslie, P.N., Lucas, S.J.E., Fan, J-L., Thomas, K.N., Cotter, J.D., Tzeng, Y.C. & Burgess, K.R. (2012). Influence of sympathoexcitation at high altitude on cerebrovascular function and ventilatory control in humans. Journal of Applied Physiology, 113(7):1058-67.

Lewis, N.C.S., Ainslie, P.N., Atkinson G., Jones H., Grant E.J.M. & Lucas, S.J.E. (2012). The effect of time of day on orthostatic tolerance under conditions of sympathetic blockade. Chronobiology International, 29(7): 882-90.

Andrews, G., Ainslie, P.N., Shepherd, K., Dawson, A., Swart, M., Lucas, S.J.E., & Burgess, K.R. (2012). The effect of partial acclimatisation to high altitude on loop gain and central sleep apnoea severity. Respirology, 17 (5): 835-40.

Lucas, S.J.E., Cotter, J.D., Murrell, C., Thomas, K.N., Franz, E.A., & Ainslie, P.N. (2012). Role of brain perfusion and oxygenation in exercise-induced improvements in cognition for young and old participants. Experimental Gerontology, 47 (8): 541-51.

Fan JL, Burgess KR, Thomas KN, Lucas SJ, Cotter JD, Kayser B, Peebles KC, Ainslie PN. Effects of acetazolamide on cerebrovascular function and breathing stability at 5050 m. J Physiol. 2012 Mar 1;590(Pt 5):1213-25.

Ross EZ, Cotter JD, Wilson L, Fan JL, Lucas SJ, Ainslie PN. Cerebrovascular and corticomotor function during progressive passive hyperthermia in humans. J Appl Physiol. 2012 Mar;112(5):748-58.

Donnelly J, Cowan DC, Yeoman DJ, Lucas SJ, Herbison GP, Thomas KN, Ainslie PN, Taylor DR. Exhaled nitric oxide and pulmonary artery pressures during graded ascent to high altitude. Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2011 Aug 15;177(3):213-7.

Donnelly J, Lucas SJ, Thomas KN, Galvin SD, Ainslie PN. Profound hyperventilation and development of periodic breathing during exceptional orthostatic stress in a 21-year-old man. Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2011 Jun 30;177(1):66-70.

Jones H, Lewis NC, Green DJ, Ainslie PN, Lucas SJ, Tzeng YC, Grant EJ, Atkinson G. α1-Adrenoreceptor activity does not explain lower morning endothelial-dependent, flow-mediated dilation in humans. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2011 Jun;300(6):R1437-42.

Fan JL, Burgess KR, Thomas KN, Peebles KC, Lucas SJ, Lucas RA, Cotter JD, Ainslie PN. Influence of indomethacin on the ventilatory and cerebrovascular responsiveness to hypoxia. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2011 Apr;111(4):601-10.

Willie CK, Colino FL, Bailey DM, Tzeng YC, Binsted G, Jones LW, Haykowsky MJ, Bellapart J, Ogoh S, Smith KJ, Smirl JD, Day TA, Lucas SJ, Eller LK, Ainslie PN. Utility of transcranial Doppler ultrasound for the integrative assessment of cerebrovascular function. J Neurosci Methods. 2011 Mar 30;196(2):221-37.

Lewis NC, Atkinson G, Lucas SJ, Grant EJ, Jones H, Tzeng YC, Horsman H, Ainslie PN. Is there diurnal variation in initial and delayed orthostatic hypotension during standing and head-up tilt? Chronobiol Int. 2011 Mar;28(2):135-45.

Lucas SJ, Burgess KR, Thomas KN, Donnelly J, Peebles KC, Lucas RA, Fan JL, Cotter JD, Basnyat R, Ainslie PN. Alterations in cerebral blood flow and cerebrovascular reactivity during 14 days at 5050 m. J Physiol. 2011 Feb 1;589(Pt 3):741-53.

Geertsema L, Lucas SJ, Cotter JD, Hock B, McKenzie J, Fernyhough LJ. The cardiovascular risk factor, soluble CD40 ligand (CD154), but not soluble CD40 is lowered by ultra-endurance exercise in athletes. Br J Sports Med. 2011 Jan;45(1):42-5.

Tzeng YC, Willie CK, Atkinson G, Lucas SJ, Wong A, Ainslie PN. Cerebrovascular regulation during transient hypotension and hypertension in humans. Hypertension. 2010 Aug;56(2):268-73.

Thomas KN, Burgess KR, Basnyat R, Lucas SJ, Cotter JD, Fan JL, Peebles KC, Lucas RA, Ainslie PN. Initial orthostatic hypotension at high altitude. High Alt Med Biol. 2010 Summer;11(2):163-7.

Lewis NC, Atkinson G, Lucas SJ, Grant EJ, Jones H, Tzeng YC, Horsman H, Ainslie PN. Diurnal variation in time to presyncope and associated circulatory changes during a controlled orthostatic challenge. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2010 Jul;299(1):R55-61.

Fan JL, Burgess KR, Thomas KN, Peebles KC, Lucas SJ, Lucas RA, Cotter JD, Ainslie PN. Influence of indomethacin on ventilatory and cerebrovascular responsiveness to CO2 and breathing stability: the influence of PCO2 gradients. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2010 Jun;298(6):R1648-58.

Lucas SJ, Tzeng YC, Ainslie PN. The Cerebrovascular Pressure-Flow Relationship: A Simple Concept But a Complex Phenomenon. Hypertension. 2010 May 10. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed

Cowan DC, Hewitt RS, Cowan JO, Palmay R, Williamson A, Lucas SJ, Murrell CJ, Thomas KN, Taylor DR. Exercise-induced wheeze: Fraction of exhaled nitric oxide-directed management. Respirology. 2010 May;15(4):683-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1843.2010.01740.x. Epub 2010 Mar 16.

Tzeng YC, Lucas SJ, Atkinson G, Willie CK, Ainslie PN. Fundamental relationships between arterial baroreflex sensitivity and dynamic cerebral autoregulation in humans. J Appl Physiol. 2010 May;108(5):1162-8.

Burgess KR, Fan JL, Peebles K, Thomas K, Lucas S, Lucas R, Dawson A, Swart M, Shepherd K, Ainslie P. Exacerbation of obstructive sleep apnea by oral indomethacin. Chest. 2010 Mar;137(3):707-10.

Lucas SJ, Tzeng YC, Galvin SD, Thomas KN, Ogoh S, Ainslie PN. Influence of changes in blood pressure on cerebral perfusion and oxygenation. Hypertension. 2010 Mar;55(3):698-705.

Fan JL, Burgess KR, Basnyat R, Thomas KN, Peebles KC, Lucas SJ, Lucas RA, Donnelly J, Cotter JD, Ainslie PN. Influence of high altitude on cerebrovascular and ventilatory responsiveness to CO2. J Physiol. 2010 Feb 1;588(Pt 3):539-49.

Ogoh S, Tzeng YC, Lucas SJ, Galvin SD, Ainslie PN. Influence of baroreflex-mediated tachycardia on the regulation of dynamic cerebral perfusion during acute hypotension in humans. J Physiol. 2010 Jan 15;588(Pt 2):365-71.

Tzeng YC, Sin PY, Lucas SJ, Ainslie PN. Respiratory modulation of cardiovagal baroreflex sensitivity. J Appl Physiol. 2009 Sep;107(3):718-24.

Lucas SJ, Anson JG, Palmer CD, Hellemans IJ, Cotter JD. The impact of 100 hours of exercise and sleep deprivation on cognitive function and physical capacities. J Sports Sci. 2009 May;27(7):719-28.

Ainslie PN, Cotter JD, George KP, Lucas S, Murrell C, Shave R, Thomas KN, Williams MJ, Atkinson G. Elevation in cerebral blood flow velocity with aerobic fitness throughout healthy human ageing. J Physiol. 2008 Aug 15;586(16):4005-10.

Lucas SJ, Cotter JD, Murrell C, Wilson L, Anson JG, Gaze D, George KP, Ainslie PN. Mechanisms of orthostatic intolerance following very prolonged exercise. J Appl Physiol. 2008 Jul;105(1):213-25.

Anglem N, Lucas SJ, Rose EA, Cotter JD. Mood, illness and injury responses and recovery with adventure racing. Wilderness Environ Med. 2008 Spring;19(1):30-8.

Lucas SJ, Anglem N, Roberts WS, Anson JG, Palmer CD, Walker RJ, Cook CJ, Cotter JD. Intensity and physiological strain of competitive ultra-endurance exercise in humans. J Sports Sci. 2008 Mar;26(5):477-89.

Helge JW, Rehrer NJ, Pilegaard H, Manning P, Lucas SJ, Gerrard DF, Cotter JD. Increased fat oxidation and regulation of metabolic genes with ultraendurance exercise. Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2007 Sep;191(1):77-86.

Murrell C, Wilson L, Cotter JD, Lucas S, Ogoh S, George K, Ainslie PN. Alterations in autonomic function and cerebral hemodynamics to orthostatic challenge following a mountain marathon. J Appl Physiol. 2007 Jul;103(1):88-96.