Dr Richard J Elsworthy PhD

Dr Richard J Elsworthy

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Research Fellow

Contact details

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

Dr Richard Elsworthy is primarily interested in the mechanisms underlying neurological disease. Richard works with stem cells, modelling the brain to detect early pathological features of both neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases. Richard also has an interest in how exercise can be used to improve brain health and prevent disease.


  • BSc (hons) Sport and Exercise Science (University of Gloucestershire)

  • MSc Sport and Exercise Sciences (University of Birmingham)

  • PhD Biochemistry (University of Birmingham)


Richard joined the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences as a MSc student to pursue his interest in exercise biochemistry. Following this, he then obtained his PhD completing research into understanding the early pathological features of Alzheimer’s disease. Richard has also completed research into modeling the brain using stem cells, working in collaboration with at Aston University. 

Richard is now a research fellow in the school, working closely with Professor Sarah Aldred, to continue developing stem cell derived models of the brain. His primary research interest is to develop cortical models of the Alzheimer’s disease brain. Richard is also working to investigate the early features of neurodevelopmental dysfunction in Schizophrenia.


Richard contributes to several modules in the school including, Metabolic Perspectives in Exercise and Nutrition, Exercise Biochemistry and Research Skills for Interdisciplinary research.


Richard’s research interests are centered around identifying the early causes of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease and how these may be targeted as therapeutic options. He is especially interested in the use of stem cells to model the brain.

Richard is also investigating how exercise can favorably modify biochemical pathways that may contribute to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Dr Elsworthy is also actively involved in investigating the underlying pathological features of first-episode psychosis and how exercise may be used as an effective intervention.

Other activities

Richard is a member of several professional bodies to support his research including: The Biochemical Society and The Society for Free Radical Research. Richard has presented his work at a number of scientific and public meetings such as U3A dementia awareness events. Richard has also organised Dementia research days at the University funded by ARUK. Richard is currently the Alzheimer’s Research UK Early Career Researcher.


Recent publications


Elsworthy, R, Jong, S, Hanson, S, Shannon, OM, Jennings, A, Gillings, R, Siervo, M, Hornberger, M, Hardeman, W, Mathers, JC, Minihane, A & Aldred, S 2024, 'Effects of the COVID-19 associated United Kingdom lockdown on physical activity in older adults at high risk of cardiovascular disease: a mixed methods perspective from the MedEx-UK multicenter trial', Frontiers in public health, vol. 12, 1371453. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2024.1371453

Elsworthy, R, Crowe, J, King, M, Dunleavy, C, Fisher, E, Ludlam, A, Parri, R, Hill, EJ & Aldred, S 2022, 'The effect of citalopram treatment on amyloid-β precursor protein processing and oxidative stress in human hNSC-derived neurons', Translational Psychiatry, vol. 12, no. 1, 285. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-022-02050-5

Elsworthy, R, King, M, Grainger, A, Fisher, E, Crowe, J, Alqattan, S, Ludlam, A, Hill, EJ & Aldred, S 2021, 'Amyloid-β precursor protein processing and oxidative stress are altered in human iPSC-derived neuron and astrocyte co-cultures carrying presenillin-1 gene mutations following spontaneous differentiation', Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, vol. 114, 103631. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mcn.2021.103631

Fisher, E, Wood, S, Elsworthy, R, Upthegrove, R & Aldred, S 2020, 'Exercise as a protective mechanism against the negative effects of oxidative stress in first-episode psychosis: a biomarker led study.', Translational Psychiatry, vol. 10, no. 1, 254. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-020-00927-x

Elsworthy, R & Aldred, S 2020, 'The effect of age and obesity on platelet amyloid precursor protein processing and plasma markers of oxidative stress and inflammation', Experimental gerontology, vol. 132, 110838. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2020.110838


Elsworthy, R & Aldred, S 2022, Ageing, neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s disease: the underlying role of oxidative distress. in J Cobley & G Davison (eds), Oxidative Eustress in Exercise Physiology. 1st edn, Oxidative Stress and Disease, CRC Press, pp. 193-207. https://doi.org/10.1201/9781003051619-16

Review article

Elsworthy, R, Dunleavy, C, Whitham, M & Aldred, S 2022, 'Exercise for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease: multiple pathways to promote non-amyloidogenic AβPP processing', Aging and Health Research, vol. 2, no. 3, 100093. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ahr.2022.100093

Dunleavy, C, Elsworthy, RJ, Upthegrove, R, Wood, SJ & Aldred, S 2022, 'Inflammation in first-episode psychosis: The contribution of inflammatory biomarkers to the emergence of negative symptoms, a systematic review and meta-analysis', Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, vol. 146, no. 1, pp. 6-20. https://doi.org/10.1111/acps.13416

Elsworthy, R, Hill, EJ, Dunleavy, C & Aldred, S 2022, 'The role of ADAM10 in astrocytes: implications for Alzheimer’s disease', Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, vol. 14, 1056507. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2022.1056507

Elsworthy, R & Aldred, S 2019, 'Depression in Alzheimer's disease: an alternative role for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors?', Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, vol. 69, no. 3, pp. 651-661. https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-180780

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