Dr Tom E. Nightingale PhD, FHEA

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 (PhD) in Exercise Physiology, University of Bath, UK
  • 2010 - Bachelor of Science (Sport and Exercise Science with industrial placement), University of Bath, UK


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) at the Ministry of Defence 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 in Vancouver, Canada.


Dr. Nightingale contributes across all three undergraduate years within the BSc Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences degree programme, teaching fundamental and applied physiology in both lecture- and laboratory-based setting.

Module details:

1st year: Becoming a Researcher

2nd year: Applied Exercise Physiology

3rd year: Exercise is Medicine 

In addition, Dr. Nightingale supervises a number of final year, MRes and MSc (pre-reg) Physiotherapy projects each year within the School.

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.

Dr. Nightingale has supervised research Masters and PhD students in Canada and the UK. The details of his graduate student supervision are listed below:

 University of Birmingham, UK

2021 – current: Daniel Hodgkiss, PhD candidate (primary supervisor): A non-invasive ergogenic neuroprosthesis to improve exercise capacity and therapeutic adaptations in individuals with SCI. Supported by an International Spinal Research Trust Nathalie Rose Barr PhD Studentship.

2021 – current: Scott Green, MRes candidate (primary supervisor): Do upper and lower body high-intensity exercise modalities elicit similar metabolic, immune, and cardiovascular responses? 

University of British Columbia, Canada

2017 – 2021: Shane Balthazaar, PhD candidate (committee member): Time-course changes in indices of cardiac function and structure following spinal cord injury.

2017 – 2021: Abdullah Alrashidi, PhD candidate (committee member): 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, supported by Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research/International Collaboration On Repair Discoveries and Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health Innovation Fund trainee awards, Tom’s research involved the assessment of cerebrovascular health. 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, where he is a co-investigator/collaborator on ongoing projects supported by the PRAXIS Spinal Cord Institute, International Spinal Research Trust and Department of Defense – Congressionally Directed Medical Research. These projects are assessing the impact of activity-based therapy and non-invasive neuromodulation on autonomic functions (i.e., cardiovascular regulation, along with bowel and bladder control). Dr. Nightingale’s research at the University of Birmingham is supported by a Wellcome Trust Critical Data Award and the International Spinal Research Trust.

Other activities

Knowledge dissemination

2020: Spinal Cord Injury Research Evidence (SCIRE) video. Neuromodulation for recovery after spinal cord injury.

2020: Guest article – SCI-BC magazine (The Spin), Cannabis & AD.

2019: Guest blog - SCI-BC magazine (The Spin), Reality Check on Neurostimulation strategies.

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

2015: Sport and Recreation Alliance blog, Lack of knowledge of benefits of physical activity for disabled people is holding back progress.

2014: Conversation article, Glasgow’s para-sport legacy must change behaviour as well as attitudes

Editorial/Committee memberships

Oct 2021: Present: University of Birmingham representative on the National Rehabilitation Centre Research Board.

Sept 2021: Present: Editorial Board Member (Spinal Cord Series and Cases).

June 2019: Present: Editorial Board Member (Spinal Cord).

May 2019: Present: Member of the American Spinal Injury Association Early Career Committee.

Professional distinctions and memberships

Sept 2019: Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health Innovation Fund Postdoctoral Trainee Award.

Sept 2018: Feb 2020: Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research/International Collaboration On Repair Discoveries Trainee Award.

2015: Poster presentation winner, 4th International Conference on Ambulatory Monitoring of Physical Activity and Movements, Limerick, Ireland.

2015: Shortlisted for the Ede & Ravenscroft Prize for outstanding original postgraduate research.

Member of the UK Physiological Society, American Spinal Injury Association and American College of Sports Medicine. Associate member at the International Collaboration On Repair Discoveries.

Invited presentations

2022: Insights into the governance of intentional misrepresentation and boosting: Is a new approach required? Amplifying the Voice of Para-Sport, The 3rd Clean Sport Insight Forum, University of Birmingham, June 22nd 

2022: Spinal Cord Stimulation to Treat Haemodynamic Instability and Improve Exercise Capacity Following Spinal Cord Injury. Centre for Human Brain Health Seminar Series, University of Birmingham, May 26th. 

2021: Spinal Cord Stimulation Following Spinal Cord Injury: Experiences from North America and Back Again. Joint IOMS/UCL ASPIRE CREATE Virtual Lunchtime Spinal Research Meeting, London Spinal Cord Injury Research Centre, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust, September 23rd.  

2021: Measuring components of energy balance in persons with SCI. Exercise & weight management in SCI Symposium, Loughborough University, June 8th

2020: The impact of COVID-19 on physical activity in individuals with neurological conditions and considerations for delivering an effective exercise protocol: time to raise the intensity. High-intensity Exercise in a Neuro Population, London Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Neurology, Nov 2nd 

2019: Neuroprosthetics and wearables for individuals with spinal cord injury. Bionics Focus Group Meeting, Vancouver, Canada, Nov 1st.  

2019: Cognitive function following spinal cord injury: the impact of cardiovascular dysregulation. International Collaboration On Repair Discoveries Annual Research Meeting, Vancouver, Canada, Mar 6th – 7th

2019: The women of CHOICES: impact of exercise training on cardiovascular disease risk biomarkers. 5th International Autonomic Symposium; ‘Women’s Health After Spinal Cord Injury’. International Collaboration On Repair Discoveries, Vancouver, Canada, Feb 13th.  

2017: Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy and Cardio-Metabolic Benefits After Spinal Cord Injury. On behalf of Dr. Ashraf Gorgey and in conjunction with Dr. Laura O’Brien. Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (SCIRP) In-Progress Review (IPR), Fort Detrick, United States, Sept 26th. 

2017: Measurement of Physical Activity & its Role in the Maintenance of Health in Persons with Spinal Cord Injuries. Richmond Spinal Cord Injuries/Disorders (SCI/D) Multi-Disciplinary Team Training, Richmond, United States.   

Invited peer reviewer

Active peer reviewer for a range of scientific Journals since 2014. Full list of verified reviews: https://publons.com/researcher/2969763/tom-e-nightingale/   

University service

June 2022 – present: Year 1 tutor

Jan 2022 – present:Member of School’s Ethics Committee


Recent publications


Brady, SM, Veldhuijzen van Zanten, JJCS, Dinas, PC, Nightingale, TE, Metsios, GS, Elmsmari, SMA, Duda, JL, Kitas, GD & Fenton, SAM 2023, 'Effects of lifestyle physical activity and sedentary behaviour interventions on disease activity and patient- and clinician- important health outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review with meta-analysis', BMC Rheumatology, vol. 7, no. 1, 27. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41927-023-00352-9

Hodgkiss, D, Bhangu, GS, Lunny, C, Jutzeler, CR, Chiou, S-Y, Walter, M, Lucas, S, Krassioukov, A & Nightingale, TE 2023, 'Exercise and aerobic capacity in individuals with spinal cord injury: A systematic review with meta-analysis and meta-regression', PLoS Medicine, vol. 20, no. 11, e1004082. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1004082

Ladlow, P, Nightingale, TE, Polly McGuigan, M, Bennett, AN, Koumanov, F, Phillip, R & Bilzon, J 2023, 'Influence of traumatic lower-limb amputation on physical activity, body composition and cardiometabolic risks: a descriptive preliminary study', PM and R, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 413-425. https://doi.org/10.1002/pmrj.12944

Shackleton, C, Samejima, S, Williams, AMM, Malik, RN, Balthazaar, SJT, Alrashidi, A, Sachdeva, R, Elliott, SL, Nightingale, TE, Berger, MJ, Lam, T & Krassioukov, AV 2023, 'Motor and autonomic concomitant health improvements with neuromodulation and exercise (MACHINE) training: a randomised controlled trial in individuals with spinal cord injury', BMJ open, vol. 13, no. 7, e070544. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2022-070544

Samejima, S, Shackleton, C, Malik, RN, Cao, K, Bohorquez, A, Nightingale, TE, Sachdeva, R & Krassioukov, AV 2023, 'Spinal Cord Stimulation Prevents Autonomic Dysreflexia in Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury: A Case Series', Journal of Clinical Medicine, vol. 12, no. 8, 2897. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12082897

Ji, W, Nightingale, TE, Zhao, F, Fritz, NE, Phillips, AA, Sisto, SA, Nash, MS, Badr, MS, Wecht, JM, Mateika, JH & Panza, GS 2023, 'The Clinical Relevance of Autonomic Dysfunction, Cerebral Hemodynamics and Sleep Interactions in Individuals Living with SCI', Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2023.08.006

Lee, AHX, Tse, E, Nightingale, TE, Sachdeva, R, Walter, M & Krassioukov, A 2022, 'Cannabis health survey on usage in women with spinal cord injury and knowledge among physicians: a cross-sectional study', Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1080/10790268.2022.2038049

Samejima, S, Shackleton, C, McCracken, L, Malik, R, Miller, T, Kavanagh, A, Ghuman, A, Elliott, S, Walter, M, Nightingale, TE, Berger, M, Lam, T, Sachdeva, R & Krassioukov, A 2022, 'Effects of non-invasive spinal cord stimulation on lower urinary tract, bowel, and sexual functions in individuals with chronic motor-complete spinal cord injury: protocol for a pilot clinical trial', PLOS One, vol. 17, no. 12, e0278425. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0278425

Walter, M, Ramirez, AL, Lee, A, Nightingale, TE, Rapoport, D, Kavanagh, A & Krassioukov, A 2022, 'Fesoterodine ameliorates autonomic dysreflexia while improving lower urinary tract function and urinary incontinence-related quality of life in individuals with spinal cord injury: a prospective phase IIa study', Journal of Neurotrauma. https://doi.org/10.1089/neu.2022.0333

Yee, B, Nightingale, TE, Ramirez, AL, Walter, M & Krassioukov, A 2022, 'Heart rate changes associated with autonomic dysreflexia in daily life of individuals with chronic spinal cord injury', Spinal Cord. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41393-022-00820-y

Shackleton, C, Samejima, S, Miller, T, Hosseinzadeh, A, Lee, A, Sachdeva, R, Nightingale, TE & Krassioukov, A 2022, 'May I have this dance: A case-series on the acute cardiometabolic demand of wheelchair dancing in recreational dancers with spinal cord injury', Medical Problems of Performing Artists, vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 269-277. https://doi.org/10.21091/mppa.2022.4035


Balthazaar, SJT, Duguid, R, Nightingale, TE & Clift, P 2024, 'Sudden cardiac arrest in athletes', The American journal of emergency medicine, vol. 76, pp. 264-265. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajem.2023.11.021

Walter, M, Wyndaele, M, Keppenne, V, Vrijens, D, Averbeck, M, Konstantinidis, C, Welk, B, Wyndaele, J-J, Kennelly, M, Phe, V, Lauridsen, SV, Pannek, J, Kessler, T, Chhabra, H, Theron, F, Nightingale, TE & Krassioukov, A 2022, 'Intermittent catheterisation: the devil is still in the details', Continence, vol. 4, 100566. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cont.2022.100566

Review article

Chiou, S-Y, Clarke, E, Lam, C, Harvey, T & Nightingale, TE 2022, 'Effects of arm-crank exercise on fitness and health in adults with chronic spinal cord injury: a systematic review', Frontiers in Physiology, vol. 13, 831372. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2022.831372

Weaver, S, Rendeiro, C, Lucas, B, Cable, N, Nightingale, TE, McGettrick, H & Lucas, S 2022, 'Non-pharmacological interventions for vascular health and the role of the endothelium', European Journal of Applied Physiology, vol. 122, no. 12, pp. 2493–2514. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-022-05041-y

View all publications in research portal