Skip to main content

Professor Phil Jakeman

Philip Jakeman graduated with an honours degree and research Master’s Degree in Biochemistry from the University of Manchester, UK. A C.A.S.E. research scholarship in collaboration with I.C.I. (now Astra Zeneca) was followed by a PhD within the Human Performance Unit of the University of Salford working as a biochemist supporting the physiological development of elite young athletes. Further human endocrine and metabolic studies of exercise in normal and clinical populations formed the basis of a PhD thesis under the supervision of Professor L.S. Bark, Vice-President of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Post-doctoral work, funded by Nicolas International, utilised radio-labelled drug diffusion techniques to optimise topical drug delivery through human skin.

Appointed to the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham in 1989, Dr Jakeman’s collaborative work with the University’s Clinical Research Unit (QEMC) contributed to a strong research base (HEFC rated 5*) specialising in human metabolism, pharmacological/exercise interaction and the biochemistry of exercise. In the applied Sport Sciences Dr. Jakeman acted as Chairperson of the Physiological Section of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) and Foundation Chair of the Irish Association of Sports and Exercise Sciences.

Appointment as Professor of Exercise Science in 1995, Dr Jakeman moved permanently to the University of Limerick in 1996 as Head of the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences (PESS) with a responsibility to develop high-quality teaching and scientific research in human exercise science. Released from the duties of HOD, Professor Jakeman now directs Human Science Research within PESS and the 4i Centre for Intervention in Infection, Inflammation and Immunity @ UL ( A collaborative base of basic and clinical scientists in Ireland assists this new venture.

Professor Jakeman currently also acts as the university’s Lead PI to the Food for Health Ireland’s research programme (

Research interests focus on the perturbation invoked by physical exercise as a vehicle to study the regulatory and adaptive processes of human metabolism in selected populations of human subjects. Founded on project grant funding from the Wellcome Trust (UK), the Leverhulme Trust (UK) and the Sir Jules Thorne Trust (UK) and external grant funding of ~€3m since 2010, the Human Science Research Unit (HSRU) is fully equipped to undertake metabolic studies in humans. Collaboration with faculty in Life Sciences explores cell culture models of skeletal muscle and erythrocyte response to nutrient perturbation.

Future research plans build on our current studies of

  • Human energy expenditure and exercise metabolism by indirect calorimetry and on-line metabolic measurement;
  • Human body composition by Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) and Bioelectric Impedance Analysis ( );
  • Biochemical studies of biomarkers of human metabolism and the enterogastric and endocrine regulators of endogenous and exogenous substrate utilisation;
  • Invasive investigation via venous cannulation, skeletal muscle percutaneous biopsy and clinical microdialysis.
  • Nutrient interaction with physical activity to keep healthy people healthy specialising in musculoskeletal health, osteopenia and sarcopenia in older adults.

Ex vivo and in vitro studies of nutrient modification to growth and repair in immortalized and primary cell cultures.

Type of student I am looking for:

Intelligent and committed student researchers willing to explore new concepts and rigorously apply the good scientific method to advance our understanding of human metabolism in health and disease. Present research students have achieved distinction as undergraduates in the disciplines of exercise science, biochemistry, physiology, physiotherapy, nutrition and dietetics and medicine. All are enthusiastic and interactive participants within this multidisciplinary team of senior academics, post-doctoral and postgraduate researchers.

Potential applicants must be able to work independently and interactively and possess excellent interpersonal skills – we primarily work with human subjects!