Professor Carolyn Greig BSc MSc PhD FTPS

Professor Carolyn Greig

Professor of Musculoskeletal Ageing and Health

Contact details

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

Carolyn Greig is a physiologist with expertise in muscle health in older age. She is particularly research active in the design and conduct of nutritional and physical activity interventions to maintain functional ability in older adults living with frailty. Carolyn has a number of national and international collaborations and is currently involved in healthy ageing projects in Brazil, Rwanda, Pakistan and Burkina Faso. She is also a member of the UK Chief Medical Officers Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults Working Group.


  • PhD ‘Force Generating Capacity of Human Muscle’, Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA) 1988

  •  MSc. (Human and Applied Physiology), University of London King's College, 1982

  • BSc. Hons (Physiology) 2:1, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, 1981


Carolyn is a physiologist and a translational scientist with an overarching interest in the responsiveness of human muscle to use, disuse, atrophy and ageing. Her basic science training allows her to translate primary research findings into the design and conduct of interventions (physical activity/ exercise/ pharma) to improve musculoskeletal health. After graduating from the University of Newcastle (BSc Physiology) and the University of London King’s College (MSc Human and Applied Physiology), Carolyn initially worked with younger athletes (PhD funded by the Sports Council of Great Britain) before moving into postdoctoral research with a focus on exercise and muscle function in older adults, within University Departments of Geriatric Medicine in London (1988-1992) and Edinburgh (2000-2012 following a career break). Carolyn secured a Research into Ageing (now AgeUK) research fellowship in 2003, which enabled her to develop her research with a diverse range of older adults, investigating their muscle health and associated functional ability/ physical performance in response to exercise. Carolyn’s major interests since taking up her post at the University of Birmingham focus on the use of combined interventions; physical activity (resistance exercise training/ reducing sitting time) and nutritional supplementation (vitamin D3/ fish oil/ protein/ essential amino acids) to mitigate the adverse functional consequences of sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass and function), and frailty on physical and cognitive performance in older age. She is the Interventions theme co-lead for the MRC-Versus Arthritis Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research. As Deputy lead of the Institute for Global Innovation’s Ageing, Frailty and Resilience theme, Carolyn is also active internationally, with ongoing collaborative projects in Brazil, Rwanda, Pakistan and Burkina Faso.


Carolyn contributes to a number of BSc and MSci modules within SportexR. She is a team member for the Y1 Becoming a Researcher module and Y4 Interdisciplinary Research and Impact module. She is currently an External Examiner for the University of Loughborough.

Postgraduate supervision

Carolyn has supervised/ co-supervised 5 doctoral students to completion and currently supervises a further 10 students as well as MSc/ MRes students. 


Carolyn’s research is focussed on sarcopenia and frailty and in particular, optimising maintenance and improvement of muscle mass and function in older healthy men and women and in frail patient groups (including upper GI cancer, stroke). She has a keen interest in the following areas: skeletal muscle responsiveness to physical activity/ nutritional/ pharmacological interventions; molecular, biochemical and functional (imaging) biomarker discovery and evaluation; measurement of muscle protein synthesis; direct monitoring of physical activity; physiological and psychological responses to sedentariness and the development of interventions to reduce sitting time

Current projects:

  1. Investigating barriers to protein intake and protein responsiveness in frail older adults living in nursing homes (MRC-Versus Arthritis funded studentship)
  2. Sarcopenia evaluation project and interventions to maintain muscle health in patients with chronic inflammatory diseases (NIHR Birmingham BRC Inflammation; Sarcopenia theme PI)
  3. A Dehydroepiandrosterone and Pharmacokinetics in Trauma study (ADaPT)
  4. Influence of exercise and fish oil supplementation on body composition and functional ability in healthy older women (collaboration with Prof Eduardo Ferriolli, USP, Brazil funded by UoB/FAPESP)

Other activities

Within the University of Birmingham, Carolyn co-leads the interventions theme for the MRC-Versus Arthritis UK Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research. She co-Chairs the University of Birmingham STEM Research Ethics Committee and is the College of Life and Environmental Sciences Director of Research Integrity, Ethics and Governance.

Carolyn has a number of external roles, including membership of the Chief Medical Officer UK Physical Activity Guidelines update: Older Adults panel. She is an active member of the UK Physiological Society and most recently has served as a member of the Society’s Meetings Committee. She is also a member of the British Geriatrics Society. In addition, Carolyn acts as reviewer for a number of peer-reviewed journals and national and international funding bodies.


Recent publications


Marshall, RN, McKendry, J, Smeuninx, B, Seabright, AP, Morgan, PT, Greig, C & Breen, L 2023, 'Acute resistance exercise training does not augment mitochondrial remodelling in master athletes or untrained older adults', Frontiers in Physiology, vol. 13, 1097988.

Willett, M, Rushton, A, Stephens, G, Fenton, S, Rich, S, Greig, C & Duda, J 2023, 'Feasibility of a theoretically grounded, multicomponent, physiotherapy intervention aiming to promote autonomous motivation to adopt and maintain physical activity in patients with lower-limb osteoarthritis: protocol for a single-arm trial', Pilot and Feasibility Studies, vol. 9, no. 1, 54.

Quinlan, JI, Dhaliwal, A, Williams, FR, Allen, SL, Choudhary, S, Rowlands, A, Breen, L, Lavery, GG, Lord, JM, Elsharkawy, AM, Armstrong, MJ & Greig, CA 2023, 'Impaired lower limb muscle mass, quality and function in end stage liver disease: A cross‐sectional study', Experimental Physiology, vol. 108, no. 8, 1066-1079.

Stanley, B, Greig, C, Jackson, T, Lewis, D, Moorey, H, Majid, Z, Masud, T, Pinkney, T & Welch, C 2023, 'Investigating the impact of fluid status on the ultrasound assessment of muscle quantity and quality in the diagnosis of sarcopenia – a multidimensional cross-sectional study', BMC Geriatrics, vol. 23, no. 1, 493.

Quinlan, JI, Dhaliwal, A, Williams, F, Allen, SL, Breen, L, Greig, CA, Lord, JM, Armstrong, MJ & Elsharkawy, AM 2022, 'Feasibility, Efficacy, and Safety of Percutaneous Muscle Biopsies in Patients With Chronic Liver Disease', Frontiers in Physiology, vol. 12, 817152.

Welch, C, Greig, C, Majid, Z, Masud, T, Moorey, H, Pinkney, T & Jackson, T 2022, 'Induced frailty and acute sarcopenia are overlapping consequences of hospitalisation in older adults', Journal of frailty, sarcopenia and falls, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 103-116.

Welford, AE, Darling, AL, Allison, SJ, Lanham-New, SA & Greig, CA 2022, 'Lack of significant seasonal association between serum 25(OH)D concentration, muscle mass and strength in postmenopausal women from the D-FINES longitudinal study', Journal of nutritional science, vol. 11, e107.

Towey, J, Ngonadi, C, Rajoriya, N, Holt, A, Greig, C & Armstrong, MJ 2022, 'Protocol for a case-control prospective study to investigate the impact of Hepatic Encephalopathy on Nutritional Intake and Sarcopenia status in patients with end-stage LIVer disease: HENS-LIV study', BMJ Open Gastroenterology, vol. 9, no. 1, e001052.

Quinlan, JI, Jones, C, Bissonnette, E, Dhaliwal, A, Williams, F, Choudhary, S, Breen, L, Lavery, GG, Armstrong, MJ, Elsharkawy, AM, Lord, JM & Greig, CA 2022, 'The Impact of Slice Interval and Equation on the Accuracy of Magnetic Resonance Image Estimation of Quadriceps Muscle Volume in End Stage Liver Disease', Frontiers in rehabilitation sciences, vol. 3, 854041.

Allen, SL, Seabright, AP, Quinlan, JI, Dhaliwal, A, Williams, FR, Fine, NHF, Hodson, DJ, Armstrong, MJ, Elsharkaway, AM, Greig, CA, Lai, Y-C, Lord, JM, Lavery, GG & Breen, L 2022, 'The effect of ex vivo human serum from liver disease patients on cellular protein synthesis and growth', Cells, vol. 11, no. 7, 1098.

Welch, C, Greig, C, Lewis, D, Majid, Z, Masud, T, Moorey, H, Pinkney, T, Stanley, B & Jackson, T 2022, 'Trajectories of muscle quantity, quality and function measurements in hospitalized older adults', Geriatrics & gerontology international, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 311-318.

Bentley, C, Potter, C, Yakoub, KM, Brock, K, Homer, V, Toman, E, Taylor, AE, Shaheen, F, Gilligan, LC, Athwal, A, Barton, D, Carrera, R, Young, K, Desai, A, McGee, K, Ermogenous, C, Sur, G, Greig, CA, Hazeldine, J, Arlt, W, Lord, JM & Foster, MA 2021, 'A prospective, phase II, single-centre, cross-sectional, randomised study investigating Dehydroepiandrosterone supplementation and its Profile in Trauma: ADaPT', BMJ open, vol. 11, no. 7, e040823.

Mathewson, SL, Gordon, AL, Smith, K, Atherton, PJ, Greig, CA & Phillips, BE 2021, 'Determining the Influence of Habitual Dietary Protein Intake on Physiological Muscle Parameters in Youth and Older Age', Nutrients, vol. 13, no. 10, 3560.


Bekele, A, Chu, K, D’Ambruoso , L, Davies, J, Ferriolli, E, Greig, C, Manaseki-Holland, S, Regnier, D & Siddiqi, S 2022, 'Global health research funding applications – brain drain under another name?', Lancet Global Health, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. e22-e23.

Review article

Purushotham, S, Stephenson, RS, Sanderson, A, Abichandani, D, Greig, C, Gardner, A & Falla, D 2022, 'Microscopic changes in the spinal extensor musculature in people with chronic spinal pain: a systematic review', The Spine Journal, vol. 22, no. 7, pp. 1205-1221.

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