Dr Gareth Wallis PhD, FHEA

Dr Gareth Wallis

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Senior Lecturer in Exercise Metabolism and Nutrition

Contact details

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

Dr Wallis draws on a diverse range of experiences and expertise, which includes academic and industrial scientist roles as well as practitioner experience with high performance athletes, to enable him to deliver leading edge research and education in the area of exercise metabolism and nutrition within the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences. He is also affiliated to the Medical Research Council-Arthritis Research UK Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing and the Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research.

Feedback and office hours

Office hours for University of Birmingham students: Tuesdays 9-11am, Rm 143 (SportExR). Please email to book an appointment.


  • BSc (Hons.) Sport and Exercise Sciences (University of Birmingham)
  • MSc (Dist.) Exercise Physiology (Loughborough University)
  • PhD Sport and Exercise Sciences (University of Birmingham)
  • Fellow, Higher Education Academy (UK), 2015 – present


Dr Wallis joined the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Birmingham in November 2011. In this role he conducts research and teaching in the area of exercise metabolism and nutrition in the context of health and sporting performance.

Dr Wallis’s basic training was in Sport and Exercise Sciences (Birmingham) and Exercise Physiology (Loughborough). Initially, he worked as a Sport Science practitioner delivering physiology support for high performance athletes (Human Performance Unit, University of Birmingham, 2001-2002) before commencing his PhD at Birmingham in the area of Exercise Metabolism and Nutrition. His doctoral studies, conducted under the direction of leading sports nutritionist Professor Asker Jeukendrup, focused on ‘Exercise Metabolism and Carbohydrate Ingestion in Men and Women’. Aspects of this research have made significant contributions to current Sports Nutrition guidelines for endurance athletes and impacted on nutritional product development in the sport nutrition manufacturing industry.

Dr Wallis conducted post-doctoral studies in the laboratory of world-leading exercise physiologist Professor George Brooks in Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. There, he researched in a broad range of areas related to whole-body and organ specific metabolic regulation in health and disease and during this time was awarded a Senior Research Training Fellowship from the American Lung Association.

Before joining the School, Dr Wallis worked as a Principal New Product Research Scientist at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Nutrition based in the UK (2008-2011). In this role he provided strategic scientific input, technical oversight and undertook human volunteer research study management in a scientific program developing innovative new product and claims opportunities for GSK Nutrition, with a particular emphasis on sport and exercise science/nutrition.


Dr Wallis coordinates a module in Sports Nutrition, available to final year undergraduate students studying BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Sciences. In addition, he lectures on the Biochemistry and Cell Physiology module for 1st year undergraduate students studying BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Sciences and the Nutrition and Metabolism module on the MSc Sport and Exercise Sciences. He also supervises BSc and MSc student projects in areas aligned with his research interests. 

Postgraduate supervision

Current PhD supervision as lead supervisor:

Gareth Fletcher, 2012-present, Gareth's research is focussed on determining novel nutritional strategies to modulate fuel metabolism during exercise. His research is supported by a BBSRC Industrial CASE Award (industrial partner: GlaxoSmithKline).

Scott Robinson, 2012-present, Scott's research is focussed on exploring the physiological significance of inter-individual variabity in substrate metabolism during exercise. His research is supported by a College of Life & Environmental Sciences Scholarship (University of Birmingham).

Nurul Abdullah, 2015 – present, Nurul’s research is focussed on exploring sex-differences in metabolic flexibility. She is supported by an Education Scholarship from the Malaysian Government.

Brandon Shad (Joint-supervisor with Professor Janice Thompson [Birmingham]; collaboration with Professor Luc van Loon [Maastricht]), 2015 – present. Brandon is investigating the influence of physical activity and sedentary time on skeletal muscle protein anabolism, physical function and metabolic health. His studentship is funded by the College of Life and Environmental Sciences (University of Birmingham), Exercise as Medicine Doctoral Training Centre.

Research student completions as lead supervisor:

Mr Jack Conway, MRes in Exercise and Sport Sciences (2015). Research area: Resistant starch, exercise and insulin sensitivity.

Dr Helen Bradley, PhD in Sport and Exercise Sciences (2013). Research area: Exercise, insulin sensitivity and GLUT4 translocation in human skeletal muscle. Current post – Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham.

For current PhD opportunities please see http://www.findaphd.com/search/ProjectDetails.aspx?PJID=67796&LID=151


My group is interested in defining optimal strategies that incorporate exercise as a means to prevent obesity and Type 2 diabetes. As well, we seek to generate deeper mechanistic understanding to contribute to the underpinning evidence for the benefits of exercise in maintaining good health. Finally, we are interested in how nutrition can influence responses to exercise, be that for the improvement of sports performance, or in the optimisation of exercise for health. To study these areas we utilise a range of experimental approaches that enable detailed profiling of metabolic responses to exercise and nutrition intervention in humans. This includes exercise testing, nutritional intervention, stable isotope tracer techniques, biological tissue/fluid collection and clinical and analytical chemistry including mass spectrometry.

Our research efforts to date have been focused on trying to understand why humans exhibit substantial inter-individual variability in their capacity to use fat as a fuel for exercise and also what the potential physiological and practical significance of this variability is. This has informed the development of several novel nutrition and exercise intervention strategies, which are currently under investigation, aimed at manipulating fat oxidation during exercise in order to ultimately produce improvements in metabolic health or physical performance.

To date these research efforts have been supported by BBSRC/GlaxoSmithKline, EPSRC, Lucozade Ribena Suntory Ltd, Allen Foundation Inc, the Birmingham-Nottingham (Universities) Strategic Collaboration Fund and the Wellcome Trust Institutional Support Fund. 

My core group consists of the PhD students described above, along with a Postdoctoral Fellow (Dr Helen Bradley) and a Research Assistant (Miss Colleen Deane). I collaborate internally (Professor Janice Thompson/Dr Sarah Aldred/Dr Andy Philp/Dr Thomas Solomon/Dr Frank Eves [all Sport & Exercise Sciences], Dr Konstantinos Manolopoulos/Dr Alice Turner [both Medicine]) and externally (Dr John Hattersley [Warwick], Dr Ed Chambers/Professor Gary Frost [Imperial], Professor Kevin Tipton/Dr Stuart Galloway [Stirling], Dr Javier Gonzalez [Bath]) to facilitate the delivery of my own research program and contribute to the research of others.  

Other activities



University Human Tissue Oversight Committee (2015 – present)

MRC Confidence in Concept and Proximity to Discovery (Institutional Funding Support) Steering Group (2014-present)

Academic lead – School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences Mass Spectrometry Facility

Research Committee Member, School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences (2014-present)

Collaborative Provisions Officer for degree programmes run in concert with the Professional Golfers Association (2014-present)

Business Links Lead - School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation Sciences (2013- present)

Health, Safety and Ethics Committee Member - School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation Sciences (2012-13)


Peer-review (2011-present): Journal of Applied Physiology, International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, European Journal of Applied Physiology, European Journal of Sport Sciences, Journal of Nutritional Metabolism, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Longevity and Healthspan, Scandinavian Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, International Journal of Sports Medicine, Experimental Physiology, Sports Medicine, Journal of Translational Medicine. 


Sugar Nutrition UK. Commissioned literature review on sucrose and sports performance (Jan-May 2012).

Coldeportes (Colombian Sports Institute). International advisor - unification of physiological testing guidelines for elite Colombian athletes (Bogota, Sept 2013).



Journal articles published

  1. Robinson SL, Chambers ES, Fletcher G, Wallis GA. Lipolytic markers, insulin and resting fat oxidation are Associated with maximal fat oxidation. International Journal of Sports Medicine, in press.
  2. Bradley H, Shaw CS, Bendtsen C, Worthington PL, Wilson OJ, Strauss JA, Wallis GA, Turner AM, Wagenmakers AJ. Visualization and quantitation of GLUT4 translocation in human skeletal muscle following glucose ingestion and exercise. Physiological Reports, 3(5):e12375, 2015.
  3. Robinson SL, Hattersley J, Frost GS, Chambers ES, Wallis GA. Maximal fat oxidation during exercise is positively associated with 24-hour fat oxidation and insulin sensitivity in young, healthy men. Journal of Applied Physiology, 118(11):1415-22, 2015.
  4. Vanhatalo A, Bailey SJ, DiMenna FJ. Blackwell JR, Wallis GA, Jones AM. Acute L-arginine supplementation does not enhance exercise efficiency or exercise tolerance in healthy adults. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 113(7):1805-19, 2013.
  5. Res PT, Groen B, Pennings B, Beelen M, Wallis GA, Gijsen AP, Senden JMG, van Loon LJC. Protein ingestion prior to sleep improves post-exercise overnight recovery. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 44(8):1560-9, 2012.
  6. Atkinson, G., Taylor CE, Morgan N, Ormond LR, Wallis GA. Pre-race dietary carbohydrate can independently influence sub-elite marathon running performance. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 32:1-7, 2011.
  7. Zarins ZA, Wallis GA, Faghihnia N, Johnson ML, Fattor JA, Horning MA, Brooks GA. Effects of endurance training on cardio respiratory fitness and substrate partitioning in postmenopausal women. Metabolism, 58(9):1338-46, 2009.
  8. Zarins ZA, Johnson ML, Faghihnia N, Horning MA, Wallis GA, Fattor JA, Brooks GA. Training improves the response in glucose flux to exercise in postmenopausal women. Journal of Applied Physiology, 107(1):90-7, 2009.
  9. Hulston CJ, Wallis GA, Jeukendrup AE. Exogenous carbohydrate oxidation with glucose plus fructose intake during exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 41(2):357-63, 2009.
  10. Wallis GA, Hulston CJ, Mann CH, Roper H, Tipton KD, Jeukendrup AE. Post exercise muscle glycogen synthesis with combined glucose and fructose ingestion. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 40(10):1789-94, 2008.
  11. Wallis GA, Friedlander AL, Jacobs KA, Horning MA, Fattor JA, Wolfel EE, Lopaschuk GD, Brooks GA. Substantial working muscle glycerol turnover during two-legged cycle ergometry. American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology and Metabolism, 293(4):E950-7, 2007.
  12. Wallis GA, Yeo SE, Blannin AK, Jeukendrup AE. Dose-response effects of ingested carbohydrate on exercise metabolism in women. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 39(1):131-138, 2007.
  13. Wallis GA, Dawson R, Achten J, Webber J, Jeukendrup AE. Metabolic response to carbohydrate ingestion during exercise in males and females. American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology and Metabolism, 290(4):E708-15, 2006.
  14. Wallis GA, Rowlands DS, Shaw C, Jentjens RLPG, Jeukendrup AE. Oxidation of combined maltodextrins and fructose ingestion during prolonged exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 37(3):426-432, 2005.
  15. Rowlands DS, Wallis GA, Shaw C, Jentjens RLPG, Jeukendrup, A.E. Glucose polymer molecular weight does not affect exogenous carbohydrate oxidation. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 37(9):1510-1516, 2005.
  16. Yeo SE, Jentjens RLPG, Wallis GA, Jeukendrup AE. Caffeine increases exogenous carbohydrate oxidation during prolonged exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 99(3):844-850, 2005.

Important notes, reviews and review articles

  1. Norton JE, Wallis GA, Spryopoulos F, Lilford PJ, Norton IT. Designing food structures for nutrition and health. Annual Review of Food Science and Technology, 5:177-95, 2014.
  2. Newell ML, Wallis GA, Galloway SD. Impact of carbohydrate nutrition on exercise metabolism and performance. Agro FOOD Industry Hi-Tech, 25(2): 32-36, 2014.
  3. Wallis GA, Wittekind A. Is there a specific role for sucrose in sports and exercise performance? International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 23(6):571-83, 2013.
  4. Henderson GC, Horning MA, Wallis GA, Brooks GA. Pyruvate metabolism in working human skeletal muscle. American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology and Metabolism, 292(1):E366, 2006.
  5. Jeukendrup AE, Wallis GA. Measurement of substrate oxidation during exercise by means of gas exchange measurements. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 26 Suppl 1:S28-37, 2005.


1.  Wallis, GA. The Role of Carbohydrate and Sugars in Sports Nutrition, 2015.  http://www.sugar.ca/SUGAR/media/Sugar-Main/PDFs/Facts-Carbs-Athletes_LR.pdf

2. Robinson SL, Wallis GA.  Fat oxidation during exercise: an alternative perspective. ‘The Sport and Exercise Scientist’, the quarterly magazine for the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Spring 2015.