Dr Tom E. Nightingale PhD, BSc(Hons)

Dr Tom E. Nightingale

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

Dr. Nightingale is an integrative physiologist with an interest in understanding the impact of physical activity on cardiometabolic and cerebrovascular health outcomes in individuals with neurological conditions. Primarily, Tom’s research has focused on the efficacy of therapeutic interventions (exercise and neuromodulation) to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals with a spinal cord injury.


2016, Doctor of Philosophy (Exercise Physiology), University of Bath

2010, Bachelor of Science (Sport and Exercise Science with industrial placement), University of Bath


Tom received his undergraduate degree at the University of Bath and worked as an Assistant Scientific Officer for the Occupational Medicine Department (Headquarters Army Recruiting and Training Division) during his industrial placement. He was awarded his PhD from the University of Bath in 2016 (Department for Health) and transitioned into a Research Associate position at the same institution. Tom moved to the USA to take up a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Virginia Commonwealth University, working out of the Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Service at the Hunter Holmes McGuire Veteran Affairs Medical Center. Most recently, Tom worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Faculty of Medicine, Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of British Columbia. During this time, he also worked as an external research collaborator at the Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute in Minneapolis on the ‘Epidural Stimulation After Neurologic Damage (E-STAND)’ clinical trial. Tom maintains an ongoing affiliation with the world-renowned International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD) spinal cord injury research centre, Vancouver, Canada.

Postgraduate supervision

Tom welcomes applications from potential PhD or MSc (by research) students on topics relating to exercise and health in individuals with neurological conditions.

Current Students:

University of British Columbia

- Shane Balthazaar, PhD candidate (committee member). April 2020 – Present. Time-course changes in indices of cardiac function and structure following spinal cord injury.

- Abdullah Alrashidi, PhD candidate (committee member). April 2019 – Present. Cardiorespiratory fitness changes in response to exercise training in individuals with chronic, motor-complete spinal cord injury.


  • Measurement of physical activity energy expenditure in clinical populations (wheelchair users and lower limb amputees).
  • Therapeutic interventions incorporating specific exercise paradigms and/or neuromodulation approaches to reduce cardiometabolic disease risk factors and secondary conditions associated with spinal cord injury.
  • The cerebrovascular and neurocognitive consequences of aberrant blood pressure fluctuations following spinal cord injury.
Tom’s interests focus around the implementation of exercise rehabilitation strategies for individuals following a traumatic injury or acquired neurological condition, to minimize physical deconditioning and the ensuing development of chronic diseases. During his recent Postdoctoral Fellowship, Tom’s research involved the assessment of cerebrovascular health (cognitive functioning, neurovascular coupling, and brain blood flow in response to an orthostatic challenge). Specifically, his research has attempted to understand the cerebrovascular consequences of autonomic dysregulation in individuals with a spinal cord injury. Tom’s preliminary research suggests that the use of neuroprosthetics, which deliver a targeted electrical stimulus to the spinal cord, can be successfully utilized to modulate key autonomic functions and improve exercise performance. Tom retains strong collaborative links with colleagues at the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), University of British Columbia. He is a co-investigator on ongoing projects supported by the PRAXIS Spinal Cord Institute and International Spinal Research Trust assessing the impact of activity-based therapy and non-invasive neuromodulation on autonomic functions (i.e. cardiovascular regulation, along with bowel and bladder control).

Other activities

Knowledge dissemination

- Spinal Cord Injury Research Evidence (SCIRE) video. Neuromodulation for recovery after spinal cord injury. 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rr_A8fq0ZM8

- Guest blog - SCI-BC magazine (The Spin), Reality Check on Neurostimulation strategies. 2019. https://sci-bc.ca/reality-check/

- Conversation article, Electrical stimulation technique helps patients with spinal cord injury. 2019.


- Conversation article, Glasgow’s para-sport legacy must change behaviour as well as attitudes. 2014. https://theconversation.com/glasgows-para-sport-legacy-must-change-behaviour-as-well-as-attitudes-29861


Editorial/Committee memberships

- Editorial Board Member (Spinal Cord). June 2019 – Present. https://www.nature.com/sc/editors/editorial-board

- Member of the American Spinal Injury Association Early Career Committee. May 2019 – Present. https://asia-spinalinjury.org/committees-early-career/


Professional memberships

- Associate Member, International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD). April 2020 – Present.

- The Physiological Society. Dec 2019 - Present

- American Spinal Injury Association. Feb 2019 - Present

- American College of Sports Medicine. May 2014 - Present


Professional distinctions

- Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health Innovation Fund Postdoctoral Trainee Award. Sept 2019. https://www.centreforbrainhealth.ca/news/2019/11/28/fall-2019-innovation-fund-trainee-award-recipients

- Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research/International Collaboration On Repair Discoveries Trainee Award. Sept 2018 – Feb 2020. https://www.msfhr.org/tom-nightingale


Invited Reviewer

Biologia (From 2020), Rehabilitation Psychology (From 2019), Frontiers in Physiology (From 2019),

Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (From 2019), Frontiers in Neurology (From 2019), Spinal

Cord (From 2018), Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (From 2018), Spinal Cord Series

and Cases (From 2018), J Neurotrauma (From 2018), Research Square (From 2017), Trials (From

2017), BioMed Research International (From 2017), European Journal of Applied Physiology (From

2017), Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism (From 2017), The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine (From 2017), Journal of Sports Sciences (From 2016), International Journal of Sports

Medicine (From 2014).


Recent publications


Nabata, K, Tse, E, Nightingale, TE, Lee, AHX, Eng, JJ, Queree, M, Walter, M & Krassioukov, A 2021, 'The therapeutic potential and usage patterns of cannabinoids in people with spinal cord injuries: a systematic review', Current Neuropharmacology, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 401-431. https://doi.org/10.2174/1570159X18666200420085712

Sachdeva, R, Nightingale, TE, Pawar, K, Kalimullina, T, Mesa, A, Marwaha, A, Williams, AMM, Lam, T & Krassioukov, A 2021, 'Translational evidence of noninvasive spinal cord stimulation for cardiovascular recovery after spinal cord injury', Neurotherapeutics.

Nightingale, TE, Bhangu, GS, Bilzon, JLJ & Krassioukov, AV 2020, 'A cross-sectional comparison between cardiorespiratory fitness, level of lesion and red blood cell distribution width in adults with chronic spinal cord injury', Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 106-111. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2019.08.015

Farrow, M, Maher, J, Nightingale, TE, Thompson, D & Bilzon, J 2020, 'A single bout of upper-body exercise has no effect on postprandial metabolism in persons with chronic paraplegia', Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

Nightingale, TE, Eginyan, G, Balthazaar, SJT, Williams, AMM, Lam, T & Krassioukov, A 2020, 'Accidental Boosting in an Individual with Tetraplegia - Considerations for the Interpretation of Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing: a Case Report', Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine.

Alrashidi, A, Balthazaar, SJT, Currie, K, Nightingale, TE & Krassioukov, A 2020, 'Associations between left ventricular structure and function with cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition in individuals with cervical and upper thoracic spinal cord injury', Spinal Cord. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41393-020-00591-4

Martin Ginis, KA, Ubeda-Colomer, J, Alrashidi, A, Nightingale, TE, Au, J, Currie, K, Hubli, M & Krassioukov, A 2020, 'Construct validation of the Leisure Time Physical Activity Questionnaire for people with SCI (LTPAQ-SCI)', Spinal Cord. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41393-020-00562-9

Nightingale, T, Zheng, MMZ, Sachdeva, R, Phillips, A & Krassioukov, A 2020, 'Diverse cognitive impairment after spinal cord injury is associated with orthostatic hypotension symptom burden', Physiology and Behavior, vol. 213, 112742. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2019.112742

Nightingale, TE & Breen, L 2020, 'Flip it and reverse it: Paralysis, intramuscular lipids and insulin resistance. CrossTalk proposal: Intramuscular lipid accumulation causes insulin resistance.', The Journal of Physiology.

Gee, C, Nightingale, TE, West, C & Krassioukov, A 2020, 'Infographic. Doping without drugs: how para-athletes may self-harm to boost performance', British Journal of Sports Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2020-101980


Nightingale, TE, Mehnert, U, Kessler, T & Krassioukov, A 2020, Autonomous nervous system dysfunction. in Oxford Textbook of Neurorehabilitation. 2 edn, Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/med/9780198824954.003.0010

Nightingale, TE & Gorgey, A 2020, Exercise Testing and Prescription for Populations with Other Chronic Diseases and Health Conditions (Spinal Cord). in American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM’s) Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. vol. 11th.


Alrashidi, A, Nightingale, TE & Krassioukov, A 2021, 'Time to reconsider the importance of autonomic function in Paralympic athletes with SCI', JAMA Cardiology.

Review article

Farrow, M, Nightingale, TE, Maher, J, McKay, CD, Thompson, D & Bilzon, J 2020, 'Effect of exercise on cardiometabolic risk factors in adults with chronic spinal cord injury: a systematic review', Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2020.04.020

Lim, C, Nightingale, T, Elliott, S & Krassioukov, A 2020, 'Lifestyle modifications and pharmacological approaches to improve sexual function and satisfaction in men with spinal cord injury: a narrative review', Spinal Cord, vol. 58, no. 4, pp. 391-401. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41393-019-0404-z

View all publications in research portal