Dr George Balanos BSc MSc DPhil

Dr George Balanos

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

Contact details

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

George is a respiratory physiologist with an interest in pulmonary blood flow and sleep disordered breathing. He is an expert in blood gas manipulation and he uses ultrasonography for non-invasive measurement of physiological variables. George is a dedicated and popular lecturer having received the Excellence in Teaching Award three times. 


BSc, MSc (City University of New York)

DPhil (University of Oxford)


George got his first degree in 1996 at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York focusing his studies on sports injuries and injury prevention/rehabilitation. He got his MSc at the same institution in the field of exercise science and rehabilitation in 1998. George came to the UK in 1998 and he read Cardiorespiratory Physiology at the University of Oxford. He was awarded his DPhil in 2003 and he joined the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences soon after, in 2004.


George teaches Human Physiology in the first year and Environmental Physiology in the third year. He follows a research-led approach to his teaching and he operates a policy that allows students easy access to him. George puts a lot of effort in his teaching and he has been awarded the Excellence in Teaching award three times (2008, 2009 and 2011).

Postgraduate supervision


  • Mr Keith Pugh (Chemosensitivity alterations in ageing)
  • Mrs Nicola Heneghan (Manual therapy as a treatment in COPD)


  • Mr Harry Griffin (Intermittent hypoxia and oxidative stress)
  • Dr Christos Lykidis (Pulmonary blood flow and ventilation in exercise)
  • Dr Christien Phillips (Venous reactivity in women)


Research Interests

  • Intermittent hypoxia and sleep disordered breathing
  • Control of the pulmonary circulation
  • Control of breathing during exercise
  • Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation
  • Environmental physiology

His main research interests include the regulation of blood flow in humans both during exercise and in disease, and the regulation of breathing. To study these areas, George has established sophisticated ultrasound imaging techniques and to invoke perturbations in the respiratory system he is using a system that can accurately mimic conditions such as high altitude or disease states. Recently, George’s group has published evidence for the involvement of the autonomic nervous system in the regulation of pulmonary blood flow during exercise. This has led to the group focusing on studying the importance of the contribution of the central nervous system and the pulmonary circulation in breathlessness in patients with chronic heart failure.

George’s group also studies laboratory models of intermittent hypoxia (depletion of oxygen) in order to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms that are involved in sleep apnoea. He has recently completed the setup of a sleep laboratory and he is currently undertaking research that aims to link the control of breathing with the development of sleep related breathing disorders. He is also undertaking research that aims to link the quality of sleep with health and exercise performance outcomes in people.

George collaborates with many colleagues within the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences and the School of Medicine including Dr Prem Kumar (Respiratory Physiology), Dr Gareth Wallis (Exercise Metabolism), Dr Roland Brandstaetter (Chronobiology), Dr Mike White (Cardiovascular Physiology) and Dr James Fisher (Cardiovascular and Exercise Physiology).

George has also established strong links with several institutions outside the University of Birmingham. These include:

  • The University of Oxford (Prof. Peter Robbins and Dr Keith Dorrington)
  • Leiden University, Netherlands (Dr Luc Teppema)

Other activities

In his free time George enjoys cycling on dry land and spear-gun fishing in the warm waters of Greece.


White MJ, Lykidis CK, Balanos GM. 2012. The pulmonary vascular response to combined activation of the muscle metaboreflex and mechanoreflex. Experimental Physiology. In press.

Griffin HS, Kumar P, Pugh K, Balanos GM. 2012. Long-term facilitation of ventilation following acute continuous hypoxia in awake humans during sustained hypercapnia. Journal of Physiology, 590(20):5151-5165.

Patel SR, Bellary S, Qin L, Balanos GM, McIntyre D, Gherghel D. 2012. Abnormal retinal vascular reactivity in individuals with impaired glucose tolerance: a preliminary study. Investigative ophthalmology and visual science, 53(9):5102-8.

Heneghan NR, Adab P, Balanos GM, Jordan RE. 2012. Manual therapy for chronic obstructive airways disease: A systematic review of current evidence. Manual Therapy, 17(6):507-518.

Shen Y, Ho YC, Vidyasagar R, Balanos GM, Golay X, Pu IM, Kauppinen RA. 2012. Gray matter nulled and vascular space occupancy dependent fMRI response to visual stimulation during hypoxic hypoxia. Neuroimage, 59(4):3450-6.

Kim A, Deo SH, Vianna LC, Balanos GM, Hartwich D, Fisher JP, Fadel PJ. 2011. Sex differences in carotid baroreflex control of arterial blood pressure in humans: Relative contribution of cardiac output and total vascular conductance. American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 301(6):H2454-65.

Hurren NM, Balanos GM, Blannin A. 2010. Is the beneficial effect of prior exercise on postprandial lipaemia partly due to redistribution of blood flow? Clin Sci, Jan 13. [Epub ahead of print]

Heneghan NR, Balanos GM. 2010. Soft tissue artefact in the thoracic spine during axial rotation and arm elevation using ultrasound imaging: A descriptive study. Manual Therapy, 15(6): 599-602.

Williams SE, Cumming J, Balanos GM. 2010. The use of imagery to manipulate challenge and threat appraisal States in athletes. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 32(3):339-58.

Balanos GM, Phillips AC, Frenneaux MP, McIntyre D, Lykidis C, Griffin HS, Carroll D. 2010. Metabolically exaggerated cardiac reactions to acute psychological stress: The effects of resting blood pressure status and possible underlying mechanisms. Biological Psychology, 85(1):104-111.

Dorrington KL, Balanos GM, Talbot NP, Robbins PA. 2010. Extent to which pulmonary vascular responses to PCO2 and PO2 play a functional role within the healthy human lung. Journal of Applied Physiology, 108(5):1084-96.

Lykidis CK, Kumar P, Vianna LC, White MJ, Balanos GM. 2009. A respiratory response to the activation of the muscle metaboreflex during concurrent hypercapnia in man. Experimental Physiology, 95(1):194-201

Goodwin JA, Vidyasagar R, Balanos GM, Bulte D, Parkes LM. 2009. Quantitative fMRI using hyperoxia calibration: Reproducibility during a cognitive Stroop task. Neuroimage, 47(2):573-80.

Carroll D, Phillips AC, Balanos GM. 2009. Metabolically exaggerated cardiac reactions to acute psychological stress revisited. Psychophysiology, 46(2), 270-275.

Lykidis CK, Kumar P, Balanos GM. 2009. The respiratory responses to the combined activation of the muscle metaboreflex and the ventilatory chemoreflex. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 648:281-7.

Heneghan NR, Hall A, Hollands M, Balanos GM. 2009. Stability and intra-tester reliability of an in vivo measurement of thoracic axial rotation using an innovative methodology. Manual Therapy, 14(4):452-5

Smith TG, Brooks JT, Balanos GM, Lappin TR, Layton DM, Leedham DL, Liu C, Maxwell PH, McMullin MF, McNamara CJ, Percy MJ, Pugh CW, Ratcliffe PJ, Talbot NP, Treacy M, Robbins PA. 2008. Mutation of the von Hippel-Lindau gene alters human cardiopulmonary physiology. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 605:51-56.

Talbot NP, Balanos GM, Robbins PA, Dorrington KL. 2008. Intravenous endothelin-1 and ventilatory sensitivity to hypoxia in humans. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 605:57-62.

Smith TG, Balanos GM, Croft QP, Talbot NP, Dorrington KL, Ratcliffe PJ, Robbins PA. 2008. The increase in pulmonary arterial pressure caused by hypoxia depends on iron status. Journal of Physiology, 586(Pt 24), 5999-6005.

Talbot NP, Balanos GM, Robbins PA, Dorrington KL. 2008. Can intravenous endothelin-1 be used to enhance hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction in healthy humans? British Journal of Anaesthesia, 101(4), 466-472.

Ho YC, Vidyasagar R, Shen Y, Balanos GM, Golay X, Kauppinen RA. 2008. The BOLD response and vascular reactivity during visual stimulation in the presence of hypoxic hypoxia. Neuroimage, 41(2), 179-188.

Lykidis CK, White MJ, Balanos GM. 2008. The pulmonary vascular response to the sustained activation of the muscle metaboreflex in man. Experimental Physiology, 93(2), 247-253.

Liu C, Balanos GM, Fatemian M, Smith TG, Dorrington KL, Robbins PA. 2008. Effects of hydralazine on the pulmonary vasculature and respiratory control in humans. Experimental Physiology, 93(1), 104-14.

Kauppinen RA, Vidyasagar R, Childs C, Balanos GM, Hiltunen Y. 2008. Assessment of human brain temperature by 1h magnetic resonance spectroscopy during visual stimulation and hypercapnia. NMR in Biomedicine, 21(4), 388-395.

Herigstad M, Balanos GM, Robbins PA. 2007. Can human cardiovascular regulation during exercise be learnt from feedback from arterial baroreceptors? Experimental Physiology, 92 (4), 695-704.

Wise RG, Pattinson KTS, Bulte D, Chiarelli PA, Mayhew S, Balanos GM, O’Connor DF, Pragnell TR, Robbins PA, Tracey I, Jezzard P. 2007. Dynamic end-tidal forcing of carbon dioxide and oxygen during FMRI. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, 27, 1521–1532.

Liu C, Smith TG, Balanos GM, Brooks J, Crosby A, Herigstad M, Dorrington KL, Robbins PA. 2007. Lack of involvement of the autonomic nervous system in early ventilatory and pulmonary vascular acclimatization to hypoxia in humans. Journal of  Physiology, 579, 215-225

Teppema LJ, Balanos GM, Steinback CD, Brown AD, Foster GF, Duff HJ, Leigh R, Poulin MJ. 2007. Effects of acetazolamide on ventilation, cerebrovascular and pulmonary vascular responses to hypoxia. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 175, 277-281.

Smith TG, Brooks JT, Balanos GM, Lappin TR, Layton DM, Leedham DL, Liu C, Maxwell PH, McMullin MF, McNamara CJ, Percy MJ, Pugh CW, Ratcliffe PJ, Talbot NP, Treacy M, Robbins PA. (2006). Mutation of von Hippel-Lindau tumour suppressor and human cardiopulmonary physiology. PLoS Med, Jul;3(7):e290.

Balanos GM, Talbot NP, Robbins PA, Dorrington KL. (2005) Separating the direct effect of hypoxia from the indirect effect of changes in cardiac output on the maximum pressure difference across the tricuspid valve in healthy humans. Pflügers Archiv : European journal of physiology, 450(6), 372-380.

Donoghue S, Fatemian M, Balanos GM, Crosby A, Liu C, O'Connor D, Talbot NP, Robbins PA. (2005). Ventilatory acclimatization in response to very small changes in PO2 in humans.

Journal of Applied Physiology, 98(5),1587-1591.

Talbot NP, Balanos GM, Dorrington KL, Robbins PA. Two temporal components within the human pulmonary vascular response to approximately 2 h of isocapnic hypoxia. (2005). Journal of Applied Physiology, 98(3), 1125-1139.

Crosby A, Talbot NP, Balanos GM, Donoghue S, Fatemian M, Robbins PA. (2003). Respiratory effects in humans of a 5-day elevation of end-tidal PCO2 by 8 Torr. Journal of Applied Physiology, 95(5), 1947-1954.

Balanos GM, Talbot NP, Dorrington KL, Robbins PA. (2003). Human pulmonary vascular response to 4 h of hypercapnia and hypocapnia measured using Doppler echocardiography. Journal of Applied Physiology, 94(4), 1543-1551.

Balanos GM, Dorrington KL, Robbins PA. (2002). Desferrioxamine elevates pulmonary vascular resistance in humans: potential for involvement of HIF-1. Journal of Applied Physiology, 92(6), 2501-2507.

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