Dr James Turner PhD, FHEA

Dr James Turner

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Associate Professor in Exercise Physiology and Immunology

Contact details

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

James is internationally recognised as having expertise in exercise physiology or more specifically, exercise immunology. His research explores the impact lifestyle has on mechanisms of ageing and chronic disease. The projects James leads span two themes: (1) overweight/obesity and immune system ageing – with focus on adipose tissue immunology; and (2) physical activity and cancer immunology – with focus on factors that influence treatment outcomes, primarily in breast cancer.


  • BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science – University of Bath, 2006
  • PhD Exercise biochemistry and immunology – University of Birmingham, 2011


James became employed as an Associate Professor in the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Birmingham in 2022. James started his independent academic career as an Assistant Professor in the Department for Health at the University of Bath in 2013 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2018. Prior to his independent academic career, James undertook a PhD between 2007-2010 at the University of Birmingham. His PhD research covered topics related to exercise, ageing and immune system functioning. Following his PhD, James remained at the University of Birmingham to undertake three years of post-doctoral training in cancer immunology.


Lead for the Year 1 module Becoming a Researcher, taught across: BSc Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences; BSc Sport, PE and Coaching Science; BSc Applied Golf Management Studies; BSc/MSci Physiotherapy.

Postgraduate supervision

As a lead supervisor, James has mentored 2 PhDs, 1 MD and 1 D.Health to completion. As a co-supervisor, James has mentored 6 PhDs to completion. James welcomes informal expressions of interest by e-mail from anyone interested in undertaking a PhD aligned with his expertise.

Current post-graduate supervision (co-supervisor)

  1. T. Chawrai. (PhD). Understanding links between a physically active lifestyle, adipose tissue and immunosenescence. 2021-2025
  2. A. Nicholas. (PhD). Dietary strategies to target adipose tissue inflammation in ageing. 2021-2025

Completed post-graduate supervision (lead supervisor)

  1. A. Arana (PhD). Understanding factors that influence breast cancer risk, disease progression and treatment outcomes. 2018-2022
  2. L. Struszczak (PhD). Investigating lifestyle and aspects of immunity among healthy women, patients undergoing neoadjuvant therapy for breast cancer and survivors of the disease. 2015-2020
  3. P. Thomson (MD). An Investigation into the Efficacy of Interventional Therapy for Oral Potentially Malignant Disorders. Population Studies from North- East England. 2015-2016
  4. D. Marriage (D.Health). The NutCracker Study: a study of incidental sensitisation to peanut in egg allergic children, and the utility of component-resolved diagnostic testing to Ara h 2 in predicting clinical outcome. 2015-2016

Completed post-graduate supervision (co-supervisor)

  1. H. Collier-Baine. (PhD). Characterising the effects of acute exercise on immune competency across the multiple myeloma survivorship continuum. 2020-2024
  2. H. Smith (PhD). Nutrient timing, metabolism and health in humans. 2018-2022     
  3. M. Simms (PhD). Organizational stressors, immune function and performance in elite sport. 2016-2021
  4. A. Emery (PhD). Evaluating the anti-tumour effects of physical activity in smouldering multiple myeloma and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance. 2017-2021
  5. W. Trim (PhD). The Impact of Physical Inactivity, Ageing, and Nutrition on Adipose Tissue Function. 2015-2019
  6. N. Sukri (PhD). Influence of hyperthermia and antioxidant supplementation on redox balance and heat shock protein response to exercise. 2013-2017     


The influence of lifestyle and aspects of physiology on:

  1. Immune system ageing (or immunosenescence)
  2. Inflammation (or inflammageing)
  3. Cancer (risk and treatment)

Other activities

Editorial roles: 

Other professional roles: 

  • NIHR Cancer and Nutrition Collaboration - Molecular mechanisms: experimental to first-in-human
  • Breast Cancer UK Independent Scientific Review and Advisory Panel member
  • Yorkshire Cancer Research Advisory Panel
  • BBSRC Immunology of Ageing Expert Working Group member
  • UK Ageing Network member: CARINA (CAtalyst Reducing ImmuNe Ageing)


As of January 2024, James had published 64 peer reviewed journal articles, had an H index of 20, and his work had been cited 2003 times (metrics: scopus). For a complete list of publications, see the PURE profile for James: https://research.birmingham.ac.uk/en/persons/james-turner

Selected original articles:

  1. Emery A, Moore S, Crowe J, Murray J, Peacock O, Thompson D, Betts F, Rapps S, Ross L, Rothschild-Rodriguez D, Arana Echarri A, Davies R, Lewis R, Augustine DX, Whiteway A, Afzal Z, Heaney JLJ, Drayson MT, Turner JE, Campbell JP. The effects of short-term, progressive exercise training on disease activity in smouldering multiple myeloma and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance: a single-arm pilot study. BMC Cancer (accepted, in press, 2024.

  2. Arana Echarri A, Struszczak L, Beresford M, Campbell JP, Jones RH, Thompson D, Turner JE. Immune cell status, cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition among breast cancer survivors and healthy women: a cross sectional study. Frontiers in Physiology. 2023 Jun 1;14:1107070. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37324393/

  3. Arana Echarri A, Struszczak L, Beresford M, Campbell JP, Thompson D, Turner JE. The effects of exercise training for eight weeks on immune cell characteristics among breast cancer survivors. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living. 2023 May 11;5:1163182. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37252426/

  4. Trim WV, Walhin JP, Koumanov F, Turner JE, Shur NF, Simpson EJ, Macdonald IA, Greenhaff PL, Thompson D. The impact of physical inactivity on glucose homeostasis when diet is adjusted to maintain energy balance in healthy, young males. Clinical Nutrition. 2023 Apr; 42(4):532-540. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36857962/

  5. Trim W, Walhin JP, Koumanov F, Bouloumie A, Lindsay M, Travers R, Turner JE & Thompson D. The Impact of Long-term Physical Inactivity on Adipose Tissue Immunometabolism The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 2022, 107 (1) 177-191. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34480570/ 
  6. Trim W, Walhin JP, Koumanov F, Bouloumie A, Lindsay M, Travers R, Turner JE & Thompson D. Divergent immunometabolic changes in adipose tissue and skeletal muscle with ageing in healthy humans. The Journal of Physiology 2022, 600 (4) 921-947. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33895996/ 
  7. Dowell AC, Haigh TA, Ryan GB, Turner JE, Long HM, & Taylor GS. Cytotoxic CD4+ T-cells specific for EBV capsid antigen BORF1 are maintained in long-term latently infected healthy donors.  PLOS Pathogens 2021, 17 (12) e1010137. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34882759/
  8. Ellis J, Lee B & Turner JE. One night of sleep fragmentation does not affect exercise-induced leukocyte trafficking or mitogen-stimulated leukocyte oxidative burst in healthy men. Physiology and Behavior 2021; 239, 113506. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34174325/
  9. Lester A, Vickers G, Macro L, Gudgeon A, Bonham-Carter A, Campbell JP & Turner JE. Exercise-induced amplification of mitogen-stimulated oxidative burst in whole blood is strongly influenced by neutrophil counts during and following exercise. Physiological Reports 2021; 9 (17) e15010. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34496147/
  10. Brown F, Campbell JP, Wadley AJ, Fisher JP, Aldred S, Turner JE. Acute aerobic exercise induces a preferential mobilisation of plasmacytoid dendritic cells into the peripheral blood in man. Physiology & Behavior 2018; 164: (A) 376-382. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29763678/
  11. Turner JE, Spielmann G, Wadley A, Aldred S, Simpson RJ & Campbell J. Exercise-induced B cell mobilisation: preliminary evidence for an influx of immature cells into the bloodstream. Physiology and Behavior 2016; 164: (A) 376-382. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27321758/
  12. TurnerJE, Wadley AJ, Aldred S, Fisher JP, Bosch JA, Campbell JP. Intensive exercise does not preferentially mobilise skin-homing T cells and NK cells. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2016; 48 (7): 1285-1293. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26918560/
  13. Taylor G, Jia H, Harrington K, Lee L, TurnerJE, Ladell K, Price D, Tanday M, Matthews J, Roberts C, Edwards C, Hartley A, McGuigan L, Wilson S, Hui E, Chan A, Rickinson A, Steven N. A recombinant modified vaccinia Ankara vaccine encoding Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) target antigens: a phase I trial in UK patients with EBV-positive cancer. Clinical Cancer Research 2014; 20 (19): 5009-522. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25124688/
  14. TurnerJE, Campbell JP, Edwards KM, Howarth LJ, Aldred S, Pawelec G, Drayson MT, Moss PM, Burns VE, Bosch JA. Rudimentary signs of immunosenescence in Cytomegalovirus seropositive healthy young adults. Age 2014; 36 (1): 287-297. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23846127/
  15. Witard OC, TurnerJE, Jackman SR, Tipton KD, Jeukendrup AE, Kies KA, Bosch JA. High dietary protein restores overreaching induced impairments in leukocyte trafficking and reduces the incidence of upper respiratory tract infection in elite cyclists. Brain Behavior and Immunity 2014; 39: 211-219. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24120932/
  16. TurnerJE, Bennett S, Bosch JA, Aldred S, Griffiths HW. The antioxidant enzyme peroxiredoxin-2 is depleted in lymphocytes seven days after ultra-endurance exercise. Free Radical Research 2013; 47 (10): 21-828. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23889121/
  17. Cobbold M, De La Pena H, Norris A, Polefrone J, TurnerJE, Qian J, English AM, Zarling AL, Huang H, Penny S, Freeman S, Shabanowitz J, Pratt G, Craddock CF, Williams ME, Hunt DF, Engelhard VH. Identification of MHC Class-I Associated Phosphopeptides as Targets for Leukemia Immunotherapy. Science Translational Medicine 2013; 18 (5): 203ra125. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24048523/
  18. Witard OC, TurnerJE, Jackman SR, Tipton KD, Jeukendrup AE, Kies KA, Bosch JA. High-intensity training reduces CD8+ T cell redistribution in response to exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2010; 44 (9): 1689-1697. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22525761/
  19. Whitelegg A, Birtwhistle J, Richter A, Campbell J, TurnerJE, Ahmed T, Giles LJ, Fellows M, Plant T, Ferraro A, Cobbold MC, Drayson MT,MacLennan CA.Measurement of Antibodies to Pneumococcus, Meningococcus and Haemophilus Polysaccharides, and Tetanus and Diphtheria Toxoids Using a 19-plexed Assay. Journal of Immunological Methods 2012; 30 (1-2): 37-46. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22293629/
  20. TurnerJE, Bosch JA, Drayson MT, Aldred S. Assessment of oxidative stress in lymphocytes with exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology 2011; 111 (1): 206-211. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21493722/
  21. TurnerJE, Hodges NJ, Bosch JA, Drayson MT, Aldred S. Prolonged depletion of antioxidant capacity after ultra-endurance exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2011; 43 (9): 1770-1776. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22534974/
  22. TurnerJE, Aldred S, Witard O, Drayson MT, Moss PM, Bosch JA. Latent Cytomegalovirus infection amplifies CD8 T-lymphocyte mobilisation and egress in response to exercise. Brain Behavior and Immunity 2010; 24 (8): 1362-1370. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20638470/
  23. TurnerJE, Markovitch D, Betts JA, Thompson D. Non-prescribed physical activity energy expenditure is maintained with structured exercise and implicates a compensatory increase in energy intake. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2010; 92 (5): 1009-1016. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20826629/
  24. Thompson D, Markovitch D, Betts JA, Mazzatti D, TurnerJE, Tyrrell RM. Time course of changes in inflammatory markers during a 6-mo exercise intervention in sedentary middle-aged men: a randomized-controlled trial. Journal of Applied Physiology 2010; 108 (4): 769-779. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20368384/ 

Selected review articles 

  1. Collier-Bain HD, Brown FF, Causer AJ, Emery A, Oliver R, Moore S, Murray J, Turner JE, Campbell JP. Harnessing the immunomodulatory effects of exercise to enhance the efficacy of monoclonal antibody therapies against B-cell haematological cancers: a narrative review. Frontiers in Oncology. 2023 Aug 23;13:1244090. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37681023/

  2. Emery A, Moore S, Turner JE, & Campbell JP. Reframing how physical activity reduces the incidence of clinically diagnosed cancers: appraising exercise-induced immune-modulation as an integral mechanism. Frontiers in Oncology 2022, 12, 788113. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35359426/
  3. Rothschild-Rodriguez D, Causer A, Brown FF, Collier-Bain H, Moore S, Murray J, Turner JE & Campbell JP. The effects of exercise on complement system proteins in humans: a systematic scoping review. Exercise Immunology Review 2022, 28, 1-35. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35452398/
  4. Arana Echarri A, Beresford M, Campbell JP, Jones RH, Butler R, Gollob KJ, Brum PC, Thompson D & Turner JE. A Phenomic Perspective on Factors Influencing Breast Cancer Treatment: Integrating Aging and Lifestyle in Blood and Tissue Biomarker Profiling. Frontiers in Immunology 11, 616188. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33597950/
  5. Damiot, A, Pinto AJ, Turner JE, & Gualano B. Immunological implications of physical inactivity among older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic.Gerontology2020; 8: 1-8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32585674/
  6. Simpson RJ, Campbell JP, Gleeson M, Kruger K, Nieman DC, Pyne DB, Turner JE, & Walsh NP. Can exercise affect immune function to increase susceptibility to infection? Exercise Immunology Review 2020; 26: 8-22. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32139352/
  7. Campbell J, & Turner JE. There is limited existing evidence to support the common assumption that strenuous endurance exercise bouts impair immune competency. Expert Review of Clinical Immunology 2018; 15: (2) 105-109. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30430884/
  8. Campbell, JP & Turner JE. Debunking the Myth of Exercise-induced Immune Suppression: Redefining the Impact of Exercise on Immunological Health Across the Lifespan. Frontiers in Immunology 2018; 9: 648. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29713319/
  9. Trim, W, Turner JE, Thompson D. Parallels in immunometabolic adipose tissue dysfunction with ageing and obesity. Frontiers in Immunology 2018; 9: 169. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29479350/
  10. Turner JE, Brum PC. Does Regular Exercise Counter T Cell Immunosenescence Reducing the Risk of Developing Cancer and Promoting Successful Treatment of Malignancies? Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity 2017; 18: 4234765. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28751932/
  11. TurnerJE. Is immunosenescence influenced by our lifetime “dose” of exercise? Biogerontology 2017; 17 (3): 581-602. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27023222/

View all publications in research portal