Dr Sarah Aldred BSc (hons), MSc, PhD.

Dr Sarah Aldred

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Head of School
Reader in Exercise Biochemistry

Contact details

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

Dr Sarah Aldred is an exercise biochemist interested in oxidative stress. She is interested in how exercise can perturb redox homeostasis in both health and disease. Sarah has worked with young and old, and with those suffering from cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and dementia.


BSc (hons) Chemistry with Analytical Chemistry (University of Hull)
MSc Toxicology (University of Birmingham)
PhD Biochemistry (University of Birmingham)


Sarah joined the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences in October 2003 in order to develop her research interests in oxidative stress within a thriving Sport Sciences department. Originally from Yorkshire, Sarah studied at the Universities of Hull and Birmingham, before undertaking postdoctoral research at Aston University. Sarah's main research focusses on assessing how exercise and nutrition can perturb oxidative stress, inflammation and vascular function in health and disease. Sarah works in diseases associated with the ageing process, such as Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia and cardiovascular disease. Sarah also has active research interests in exercise for maintenance of health and also investigates oxidative stress and inflammation in the context of exercise performance.

Sarah's research group comprises postgraduate research students and final year dissertation students and Sarah is herself still actively involved in lab research.


Sarah is module organiser of the third year module ‘Exercise and Diet: mechanisms of action' and significantly contributes to the first year module Biochemistry and cell physiology. Sarah also contributes to a number of other modules on the BSc Sport and Exercise Sciences and BMedSci courses.

Teaching awards:

Invited speaker at the 5th Annual Learning and Teaching conference, University of Birmingham, “Innovative methods of teaching; developing laboratory based modules” Feb 2008

Head of school award for excellence in learning and teaching, Awarded for innovation in teaching and teaching management –(the first award of its kind), 2007

Postgraduate associate certificate in Learning and Teaching, Aston University, 2002

Postgraduate supervision

Sarah has supervised 14 doctoral research students to completion since appointment at UoB, and 9 over the past 5 years. Many of her students have gone on to successful research or academic positions for example at the Universities of Bath and Loughborough, and in industry (Pepsico, Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Nutriknow Limited), or have become clinical scientists within the NHS.

Sarah currently supervises 5 graduate research students (4 PhD, 1 Masters by research).


Research Group: Exercise Metabolism Research Group

What we eat and how active we are are 2 of the most important factors in health. The metabolic process is key in provision of energy, and is arguably the most important factor in maintaining health. Within the cell ‘redox balance’ mediates cell function via processes such as cell signalling, gene expression, and cell proliferation. Redox balance refers to a reduction-oxidation status within the cell, which is governed by oxidants (produced by metabolic process) and antioxidants (produced by the body as defence).

Redox disturbance can result in oxidative stress.  A situation where oxidants overwhelm antioxidants, and this has been directly linked to many diseases and disorders such as  cardiovascular disease, arthritis, metabolic syndrome disorders, cognitive decline, and neurodegenerative pathology including dementia.

Alongside Oxidative stress, many of these diseases or disorders are also associated with chronic inflammation and vascular dysfunction. Oxidative stress, inflammation and vascular function are intrinsically linked, however the interactions between these factors are not well understood.

Exercise and diet affect the redox balance of our cells, and can perturb oxidative stress, and thus may rebalance the redox disturbances that are seen in disease. Exercise is also anti-inflammatory in some situations, and can improve vascular function.

Dr Aldred’s laboratory investigates the mechanisms by which exercise can reduce oxidative stress, inflammation and vascular dysfunction, to improve health.

Other activities

Sarah is a member of a number of professional bodies to support her research including: The Biochemical Society, The Society for Free Radical Research, The American College of Sports Medicine, The Society of Toxicology, and European College of Sports Science. Sarah is also a member of the Alzheimer’s Society and has given a number of talks at the Alzheimer’s society Quality Research in Dementia public meetings, and Alzheimer’s Research UK public awareness events. Sarah has also presented her work at the British Science Festival and Pint of Science events.

Sarah is a founding member of the Alzheimer’s Research UK Midlands Network of researchers

Sarah is an active citizen of the University. She has held several administrative positions within the School, College and University during her appointment.


Brown FF, Campbell JP, Wadley AJ, Fisher JP, Aldred S, Turner JE. (2018) Acute aerobic exercise induces a preferential mobilisation of plasmacytoid dendritic cells into the peripheral blood in man.
Physiol Behav. May 31;194:191-198. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2018.05.012.

Balter LJT, Hulsken S, Aldred S, Drayson MT, Higgs S, Veldhuijzen van Zanten JJCS, Raymond JE, Bosch JA. (2018) Low-grade inflammation decreases emotion recognition - Evidence from the vaccination model of inflammation. Brain Behav Immun. 2018 May 6. pii: S0889-1591(18)30177-6. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2018.05.006.

Wadley AJ, Holliday A, Morgan RG, Heesom KJ, Aldred S, Peters DM, Bueno AA, Coles SJ. (2018) Preliminary evidence of reductive stress in human cytotoxic T-cells following exercise. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2018 Apr 12. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01137.2017.

Rai, S., Chowdhury, A., Reniers, R L E P., Wood, S J., Lucas, S J E., Aldred, S. (2018).  A pilot study to assess the effect of acute exercise on brain glutathione. Free Radical Research. Jan;52(1):57-69. doi: 10.1080/10715762.2017.1411594. Epub 2017 Dec 13.

Wadley AJ, Chen, YW, Lip GYH, Fisher JP, Aldred S. (2016) Low volume-high intensity interval exercise elicits antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in humans. Journal of Sports Science. Jan; 34(1): 1-9.

Wadley AJ, Turner JE, Aldred S. (2016) Factors influencing post-exercise plasma protein carbonyl concentration. Free Radic Res. 50(4):375-84. [Journal IF 3.2]

Wadley AJ, Aldred S, Coles SJ. (2016) An unexplored role for Peroxiredoxin in exercise-induced redox signalling? Redox Biol. Aug;8:51-8.

Turner JE, Spielmann G, Wadley AJ, Aldred S, Simpson RJ, Campbell JP. (2016) Exercise-induced B cell mobilisation: Preliminary evidence for an influx of immature cells into the bloodstream. Physiol Behav. Oct 1;164(Pt A):376-82.

Turner JE, Wadley AJ, Aldred S, Fisher JP, Bosch JA, Campbell JP. (2016) Intensive Exercise Does Not Preferentially Mobilize Skin-Homing T Cells and NK Cells.  Med Sci Sports Exerc. Jul;48(7):1285-93.

Wadley AJ, Chen YW, Bennett SJ, Lip GY, Turner JE, Fisher JP, Aldred S. (2015) Monitoring changes in thioredoxin and over-oxidised peroxiredoxin in response to exercise in humans. Free Radic Res. Mar;49(3):290-8.

Turner JE, Bennett SJ, Bosch JA, Griffiths HR, Aldred S. (2014) Ultra-endurance exercise: unanswered questions in redox biology and immunology. Biochem Soc Trans. Aug 1;42(4):989-95.

Paine NJ, Ring C, Bosch JA, Drayson MT, Aldred S, Veldhuijzen van Zanten JJ. Vaccine-induced inflammation attenuates the vascular responses to mental stress. Int J Psychophysiol. 2014 Sep;93(3):340-8.

Wadley AJ, Veldhuijzen van Zanten JJ, Stavropoulos-Kalinoglou A, Metsios GS, Smith JP, Kitas GD, Aldred S. (2014) Three months of moderate-intensity exercise reduced plasma 3-nitrotyrosine in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Eur J Appl Physiol. Jul;114(7):1483-92.

Wadley AJ, Veldhuijzen van Zanten JJ, Paine NJ, Drayson MT, Aldred S. (2014) Underlying inflammation has no impact on the oxidative stress response to acute mental stress. Brain Behav Immun. Aug;40:182-90.


Brown, J.E., Mosley, M. and Aldred, S. (2013) Intermittent fasting: a dietary intervention for prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular disease? BJDVD. 13 (2) 68-72.

Paine, N.J., Ring, C., Aldred, S., Bosch, J.A., Wadley, A.J. and Veldhuijzen van Zanten, J.J.C.S. (2013) Eccentric-exercise induced inflammation attenuates the vascular responses to mental stress. BBI. 30. 133-142.

Turner, J.E., Bennett S.J., Bosch, J.A., Aldred, S and Griffiths, H.R. (2013) The antioxidant enzyme peroxiredoxin-2 is depleted in lymphocytes 7 days after ultra-endurance exercise. Free radical research. Free Radic Res. 2013 Oct;47(10):821-8.

Turner JE, Campbell JP, Edwards KM, Howarth LJ, Pawelec G, Aldred S, Moss P, Drayson MT, Burns VE, Bosch JA. (2013) Rudimentary signs of immunosenescence in Cytomegalovirus-seropositive healthy young adults. Age (Dordr). Jul 12. [Epub ahead of print] 

Hartwich, D., Aldred, S., Fisher, JP. (2012) Influence of menstrual cycle phase on muscle metaboreflex control of cardiac baroreflex sensitivity, heart rate and blood pressure in humans. Experimental physiology. [Epub ahead of print]. 

Wadley AJ, Veldhuijzen van Zanten JJ, Aldred S. (2012). The interactions of oxidative stress and inflammation with vascular dysfunction in ageing: the vascular health triad. Age (Dordr). Mar 28. [Epub ahead of print] 

Turner JE, Bosch JA, Drayson MT, Aldred S. (2011). Assessment of oxidative stress in lymphocytes with exercise. J Appl Physiol. 2011 Jul;111(1):206-11. Epub 2011 Apr 14. 

Aldred S, Rohalu M. (2011). A moderate intensity exercise program did not increase the oxidative stress in older adults. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. Nov-Dec;53(3):350-3. Epub 2011 Jan 13. 

Turner JE, Bosch JA, Aldred S. (2011). Measurement of exercise-induced oxidative stress in lymphocytes. Biochem Soc Trans. Oct;39(5):1299-304. 

Turner, J.E, Hodges, N.J, Bosch, J.A, and Aldred, S. (2011). Prolonged depletion of antioxidant capacity following ultra-endurance exercise. MSSE. 43 (9) 1770-1776. 

Bennett S, Grant M, Creese AJ, Mangialasche F, Cecchetti R, Cooper HJ, Mecocci P, Aldred S. (2011) Plasma Levels of Complement 4a Protein are Increased in Alzheimer's Disease. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. Nov 2. [Epub ahead of print] 

Turner JE, Aldred S, Witard O, Drayson MT, Moss PM, Bosch JA. (2010). Latent Cytomegalovirus infection amplifies CD8 T-lymphocyte mobilisation and egress in response to exercise. Brain Behav Immun. 24(8) 1362-1370. 

Aldred S, Bennett S, Mecocci P. (2010) Increased low-density lipoprotein oxidation, but not total plasma protein oxidation, in Alzheimer's disease. Clinical Biochemistry. Feb;43(3):267-71. Epub 2009 Sep 4. 

Aldred, S and Mecocci, P. (2010) Decreased dehydroepiandrosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate concentrations in plasma of Alzheimer’s disease patients. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. Jul-Aug;51(1):e16-8. Epub 2009 Aug 8 

Ballard, C, Aarsland D, Aldred S, Bath P, Birks J, Brayne C, Kivipelto M, Richards M, Starr J, Smith D, and Kalaria R. (2010) Summary of the BBC dementia panel discussion. Alzheimer’s Society publications. Jan 2010. 

Aldred S., Love,J.A., Tonks,L.A., Stephens,E., Jones, D.S., and Blannin,A.K. (2010) The effect of steady state exercise on circulating human IgE and IgG in young healthy volunteers with known allergy. JSAMS.  Jan;13(1):16-9. Epub 2008 Oct 31. 

Bennett, S., Grant, M.M., and Aldred, S. (2009) Oxidative stress in Vascular dementia & Alzheimer’s disease; a common pathology. JAD. 17. 245-257 

Aldred S., Rohalu, M.S., Edwards, K.M., and Burns, V.E. (2009) Altered DHEA and DHEAS response to exercise in healthy older adults. JAPA. 17(1):77-88. 

McPhee, S., Degen, H., Baar, K., Perez-Schindler, J., Aldred, S., Williams, A G., Jones, D.A. (2009). The training stimulus experienced by the leg muscles during cycling in humans. Exp Physiol. 94(6):684-94 

Aldred S. Oxidative and nitrative changes seen in lipoproteins following exercise (2007). Atherosclerosis. May.192(1):1-8. 

Griffiths HR, Aldred S, Dale C, Nakano E, Kitas GD, Grant MG, Nugent D, Taiwo FA, Li L, Powers HJ. Homocysteine from endothelial cells promotes LDL nitration and scavenger receptor uptake. Free Radic Biol Med. (2006) Feb 1;40(3):488-500. 

Aldred S, Sozzi T, Mudway I, Grant MM, Neubert H, Kelly FJ, Griffiths HR. Alpha tocopherol supplementation elevates plasma apolipoprotein A1 isoforms in normal healthy subjects. Proteomics. (2006) Mar;6(5):1695-703. 

Aldred S. Travellers tales; Providing grants to attend scientific meetings. The Biochemist (2006) Feb; 28 (1) 60 

Nakano E, Taiwo FA, Nugent D, Griffiths HR, Aldred S, Paisi M, Kwok M, Bhatt P, Hill MH, Moat S, Powers HJ. Downstream effects on human low density lipoprotein of homocysteine exported from endothelial cells in an in vitro system. J Lipid Res. (2005) Mar;46(3):484-93. 

Aldred S, Grant MM, Griffiths HR. The use of proteomics for the assessment of clinical samples in research. Clin Biochem. 2004 Nov;37(11):943-52. *Award for Most cited paper in clinical biochemistry in 2004. 

Aldred, S., & Griffiths, HR. Oxidation of human low density lipoprotein; Investigation of antioxidant protection in vitro. Environmental Pharmacology and Toxicology. (2004) 15:2-3, 111-117 

Polidori MC, Mattioli P, Aldred S, Cecchetti R, Stahl W, Griffiths H, Senin U, Sies H, Mecocci P. Plasma antioxidant status, immunoglobulin g oxidation and lipid peroxidation in demented patients: relevance to Alzheimer disease and vascular dementia. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2004;18(3-4):265-70. 

Jeukendrup AE, Aldred S. Fat supplementation, health, and endurance performance. Nutrition. 2004 Jul-Aug;20(7-8):678-88. 

Aldred S, Moore KM, Fitzgerald M, Waring RH. Plasma amino acid levels in children with autism and their families. J Autism Dev Disord. 2003 Feb;33(1):93-7. 

Barralet JE, Aldred S, Wright AJ, Coombes AG. In vitro behavior of albumin-loaded carbonate hydroxyapatite gel. J Biomed Mater Res. 2002 Jun 5;60(3):360-7. 

Aldred S, Foster JJ, Lock EA, Waring RH. Investigation of the localization of dehydroepiandrosterone sulphotransferase in adult rat kidney. Nephron. 2000 Oct;86(2):176-82. 

Aldred S, Waring RH. Localisation of dehydroepiandrosterone sulphotransferase in adult rat brain. Brain Res Bull. 1999 Feb;48(3):291-6. 

Other Research publications: Book chapters and conference papers 

Aldred, S., Rai., S. (2017) The effect of a bespoke home based physical activity intervention on markers of oxidative stress and markers of general health in older adults.  OCC World Congress / Annual SFRR-E Conference Location: Berlin, GERMANY Date: JUN 21-23, 2017 FREE RADICAL BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE   Volume: 108   Supplement: 1   Pages: S45-S46   Meeting Abstract. 

Kasim, N., van Zanten, J., Aldred, S. (2017) Acute effect of Thai Chi on markers of oxidative stress and flow-mediated dilation among healthy young and elderly volunteers. OCC World Congress / Annual SFRR-E Conference Location: Berlin, GERMANY Date: JUN 21-23, 2017  FREE RADICAL BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE   Volume: 108   Supplement: 1   Pages: S64-S64   Meeting Abstract. 

Turner JE, Bosch, JA, and Aldred, S. (2011) Assessment of oxidative stress in lymphocytes following exercise. Biochemical Society Transactions. Vol 39, part 3. P002 *Winner of the BJ Energy Oral communication prize 

Bennett, S and Aldred, S. (2008) Increased Low density lipoprotein oxidation, but not total plasma protein oxidation, in Alzheimer’s Disease. Biochemical Society Transactions. Vol 36, part 5. P005 

Aldred, S & Waring, RH. (2007) “Mercury” in Waring, RH et al. eds. “Molecules of Death” 2nd Ed. London: Imperial College Press: 167-186 

Aldred, S; Matthews, Kathryn; Doubleday, Sarah; Jones, Rebecca S.; Gilson, Carina M.; Underwood, Thomas; Rohalu, Manjit Singh. (2006) The Effects of Exercise on DHEA, DHEAS and LDL Protein Carbonyl Concentrations in Healthy Adults. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 38(5) Supplement:S417. Meeting Abstract. 

Aldred S, Sozzi T, Mudway I, Grant MM, Neubert H, Kelly FJ, Griffiths HR. (2005) Alpha tocopherol supplementation elevates plasma apolipoprotein A1 isoforms in normal healthy subjectsSource: FREE RADICAL RESEARCH  Volume: 39    Pages: S90 Supplement: 1    

Rohalu, MS; Aldred, S.  (2005).The implications and effects of exercise intensity on the levels of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulphated form (DHEA-S) FREE RADICAL RESEARCH   Volume: 39   Pages: S75   

Mecocci P, Mattioli P, Cecchetti R, Griffiths H, Aldred S, Stahl W, Polidori MC. (2004) Protein oxidation, lipid peroxidation and antioxidant status are similarly altered in Alzheimer disease and vascular dementia. NEUROBIOLOGY OF AGING    Volume: 25    Pages: S542    Supplement: Suppl. 2   

Aldred, S; Griffiths, HR. (2003) The use of proteomic analysis to assess oxidative insult, and protection by dehydroepiandrosterone, using cell model systems. TOXICOLOGICAL SCIENCES   Volume: 72   Pages: 80-80   Meeting Abstract: 385 

Aldred S., Banks M., Kitas GD., Griffiths HR. (2002). Increased levels of oxidised LDL in the plasma of rheumatoid patients with cardiovascular disease: consequences for monocyte scavenger receptor uptake of LDL. Rheumatology. Volume 41. Issue Suppl_ 2. P69

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