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 work is to examine the role small vesicles, exosomes and proteins play in inter-tissue signaling during exercise in health and disease.


  • BSc (Hons) Physiology. University of Glasgow
  • PhD Exercise Physiology. University of Birmingham

Postgraduate supervision

Extracellular Vesicles and Exercise Metabolism

Other activities

Honorary Scientist, Cellular & Molecular Metabolism, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney (m.whitham@garvan.org.au)


“Exercise small talk” public lecture, March ’18 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiUeAuofsec&index=4&list=PLXwHgASiClJmCh1Y0WBEjKc_v8VSvlnOi


Recent publications


Kraakman, MJ, Whitham, M & Febbraio, MA 2013, Exercise, Nutrition, and Inflammation. Sports Nutrition: Olympic Handbook of Sports Medicine, Wiley-Blackwell. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118692318.ch38


Whitham, M, Pal, M, Petzold, T, Hjorth, M, Egan, CL, Brunner, JS, Estevez, E, Iliades, P, Zivanovic, B, Reibe, S, Hughes, WE, Findeisen, M, Hidalgo, J & Febbraio, MA 2019, 'Adipocyte specific deletion of IL-6 does not attenuate obesity-induced weight gain or glucose intolerance in mice', American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism, vol. 317, no. 4, pp. E597-E604. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00206.2019

Ennequin, G, Sirvent, P & Whitham, M 2019, 'Role of exercise-induced hepatokines in metabolic disorders', American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism, vol. 317, no. 1, pp. E11-E24. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00433.2018

Whitham, M & Febbraio, MA 2019, 'Redefining tissue crosstalk via shotgun proteomic analyses of plasma extracellular vesicles', Proteomics, vol. 19, no. 1-2, 1800154, pp. 1-5. https://doi.org/10.1002/pmic.201800154

Reibe, S, Hjorth, M, Febbraio, MA & Whitham, M 2018, 'GeneXX: an online tool for the exploration of transcript changes in skeletal muscle associated with exercise', Physiological Genomics, vol. 50, no. 5, pp. 376-384. https://doi.org/10.1152/physiolgenomics.00127.2017

Whitham, M, Parker, BL, Friedrichsen, M, Hingst, JR, Hjorth, M, Hughes, WE, Egan, CL, Cron, L, Watt, KI, Kuchel, RP, Jayasooriah, N, Estevez, E, Petzold, T, Suter, CM, Gregorevic, P, Kiens, B, Richter, EA, James, DE, Wojtaszewski, JFP & Febbraio, MA 2018, 'Extracellular vesicles provide a means for tissue crosstalk during exercise', Cell Metabolism, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 237-251.e4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2017.12.001

Whitham, M, Chan, MHS, Pal, M, Matthews, VB, Prelovsek, O, Lunke, S, El-Osta, A, Broenneke, H, Alber, J, BrĂ¼ning, JC, Wunderlich, FT, Lancaster, GI & Febbraio, MA 2012, 'Contraction-induced interleukin-6 gene transcription in skeletal muscle is regulated by c-Jun terminal kinase/activator protein-1', Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol. 287, no. 14, pp. 10771-9. https://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M111.310581

Allen, TL, Whitham, M & Febbraio, MA 2012, 'IL-6 muscles in on the gut and pancreas to enhance insulin secretion', Cell Metabolism, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 8-9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2011.12.004

Fortes, MB & Whitham, M 2011, 'Salivary Hsp72 does not track exercise stress and caffeine-stimulated plasma Hsp72 responses in humans', Cell Stress and Chaperones, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 345-52. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12192-010-0244-4

Hansen, J, Brandt, C, Nielsen, AR, Hojman, P, Whitham, M, Febbraio, MA, Pedersen, BK & Plomgaard, P 2011, 'Exercise induces a marked increase in plasma follistatin: evidence that follistatin is a contraction-induced hepatokine', Endocrinology, vol. 152, no. 1, pp. 164-71. https://doi.org/10.1210/en.2010-0868

Other contribution

Whitham, M 2018, Quantitative proteomic analysis of the human extracellular vesicle proteome reveals a novel mechanism for tissue cross-talk during exercise..

Review article

Whitham, M & Febbraio, MA 2016, 'The ever-expanding myokinome: discovery challenges and therapeutic implications', Nature reviews. Drug discovery, vol. 15, no. 10, pp. 719-29. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrd.2016.153

Henstridge, DC, Whitham, M & Febbraio, MA 2014, 'Chaperoning to the metabolic party: the emerging therapeutic role of heat-shock proteins in obesity and type 2 diabetes', Molecular metabolism, vol. 3, no. 8, pp. 781-793. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molmet.2014.08.003

Pal, M, Febbraio, MA & Whitham, M 2014, 'From cytokine to myokine: the emerging role of interleukin-6 in metabolic regulation', Immunology and Cell Biology, vol. 92, no. 4, pp. 331-339. https://doi.org/10.1038/icb.2014.16

Kraakman, MJ, Allen, TL, Whitham, M, Iliades, P, Kammoun, HL, Estevez, E, Lancaster, GI & Febbraio, MA 2013, 'Targeting gp130 to prevent inflammation and promote insulin action', Diabetes, obesity & metabolism, vol. 15 Suppl 3, pp. 170-5. https://doi.org/10.1111/dom.12170

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