Dr Martin Whitham PhD

Dr Martin Whitham

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

Contact details

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

Dr Martin Whitham is an integrative physiologist primarily interested in endocrinology and tissue cross-talk in the context of exercise. Since physical activity represents a broad and effective preventative treatment for a host of non-communicable diseases, the main focus of his group’s work is to examine the role small vesicles, exosomes and proteins play in inter-tissue signalling during exercise in health and disease.


  • BSc (Hons) Physiology & Sports Science (University of Glasgow)
  • PhD Exercise Physiology (University of Birmingham)


Martin joined The Unibversity of Birmingham in September 2018 as Senior Lecturer in Exercise Metabolism.  This was somewhat of a return to familiarity having completed his PhD in the school in 2002. Subsequently, Martin held a post as Lecturer in Exercise Physiology at Bangor University, during which he developed an interest in the study of exercise to identify novel treatments for metabolic disease. In 2009 he took an appointment as Senior Research Officer at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia to work in full time medical research. In 2015 he was appointed Group Leader of Myokine Biology at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney. During this time, he developed expertise in the use of mass spectrometry based quantitative proteomics, specifically to investigate nanovesicles as a means to implement signalling between tissues in health and disease. Martin has presented invited talks on this subject at the Experimental Biology Conference (USA), the SCWD  Cachexia Conference (Netherlands), the Queenstown Molecular Biology Conference (China) the Endocrine Society of Australia Conference and most notably, at the 2019 “Rising Stars in Physiology” August Krogh Symposium in Copenhagen, alongside the world leading early and mid-career physiologists. He now heads the Tissue Cross Talk laboratory, a research group interested in the biological relevance of small vesicle and exosome release into circulation during exercise in both performance and clinical contexts.


Exercise Biochemistry

Metabolic Perspectives in Exercise and Nutrition

Postgraduate supervision

The Tissue Crosstalk laboratory supports the following post-doc and post graduate researchers: -

Dr Alex Seabright – Wellcome Trust ISSF Accelerator Fellow

Dr Luke McIlvenna – Postdoctoral researcher

Hannah-Jade Parker – MRC-Versus Arthritis (CMAR) PhD student

Evie Angilheri – MSc Student

Benedict Sale – MSc Student

If you have an interest in the endocrinology and physiology of exercise, with particular respect to extracellular vesicles and have a potential funding source, please contact m.whitham@bham.ac.uk to discuss an opportunity to join the team


  • Extracellular Vesicles
  • Quantitative Proteomics
  • Endocrinology during exercise
  • Myokines
  • Metabolic Phenotyping
  • Diabetes and Metabolic Disease

Other activities

Secondary affiliations

  • Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University, Australia
  • Institute of Metabolic and Systems Research (IMSR) UoB
  • MRC-AR UK Centre for Musculoskeletal and Arthritis Research, UoB

Editorial appointments

  • Editorial board, European Journal of Extracellular Vesicles
  • Editorial board, Cell Stress & Chaperones 

Professional Memberships

  • American Physiological Society
  • UK Extracellular Vesicle Society
  • Endocrinology Society, UK


Selected Publications 

Whitham, M, Pal, M, Petzold, T, Hjorth, M, Egan, C.L, Brunner, J.S, Estevez, E, Iliades, P, Zivanovic, B, Reibe, S, Hughes, W.E, Findeisen, M, Hidalgo, and Febbraio, M.A (2019) Adipocyte-specific Deletion of IL-6 Does Not Attenuate Obesity-Induced Weight Gain or Glucose Intolerance in Mice. AJP: Endocrinology & Metabolism 317: E597-E604

Whitham, M. & Febbraio, M.A (2019) Redefining tissue cross-talk via shotgun proteomic analyses of plasma extracellular vesicles. Proteomics 19, 1800154 

Reibe,S., Hjorth, M., Febbraio, M.A., & Whitham, M. (2018) GeneXX: An online tool for the exploration of transcript changes in skeletal muscle associated with exercise. Physiological Genomics 50(5), 376-384 

Whitham, M., Parker, B.L., Friedrichsen, M., Hingst, J.R., Hjorth, M., Hughes, W., Egan, C.L., Cron, L., Watt, K.I., Kuchel, R.P., Jayasooriah, N., Estevez, E., Petzold, T., Suter, C.M., Gregorevic, P., Kiens, B., Richter, E.A., James, D.E., Wojtaszewski, J.F.P., Febbraio, M.A (2018) Extracellular vesicles provide a means for tissue cross talk during exercise. Cell Metabolism 27(1) 237-251    

Whitham, M & Febbraio, M.A (2016) The ever expanding myokinome: challenges for discovery and therapeutic implications for muscle secretory factors. Nature Reviews: Drug Discovery 15(10):719-29 

Pal, M., Febbraio, M. A. & Whitham, M.(2014) From cytokine to myokine: the emerging role of interleukin-6 in metabolic regulation. Immunology and Cell Biology 92,331-339 

Whitham, M., Chan, M.H.S, Pal, M, Matthews, V.B, Prelovsek, O, Lunke, S, El-Osta, A, Broenneke, H, Alber, J, Bruning, J.C, Wunderlich, F.T, Lancaster, G.I & Febbraio, M.A (2012) Contraction induced IL-6 gene transcription in skeletal muscle is regulated by c-jun terminal kinase/Activator protein-1. Journal of Biological Chemistry 287 10771-10779

View all publications in research portal