Breathe – Provocations and Panel Discussion

Date: Wednesday 22nd March 2023   Time: 10:00-14:00   Location: Hybrid - IDEAS Factory, STEM Lab & Zoom Webinar

his IAS Breathe theme event is an interdisciplinary research showcase led by our international IAS fellows. Their presentations are intended to provoke interest and exchanges with the audience. The aim is to stimulate new research and new collaborations within and between Loughborough researchers and its international research networks. The theme of the panel discussion will be ‘What can we work on together?’, this will be followed by an opportunity for networking and discussions with refreshments.

With presentations from IAS Visiting Fellows:
Heather Adair-Rohani, World Health Organisation
Professor William P. Bahnfleth, Pennsylvania State University
Professor Hannah Holscher, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Professor Timothy D Mickleborough, Indiana University
Professor Bill Sheel, University of British Columbia


13:45 Light Refreshments
14:00 Introductory Remarks

Marsha Meskimmon, Director of the IAS

14:15 Breathe What You Eat: Asthma-Related Issues in Athletes

Professor Timothy D Mickleborough

14:30 Breathing during exercise – two unresolved questions 

Professor Bill Sheel

14:45 Fueling Gut Microbes

Professor Hannah Holscher

15:10 Indoor Air Quality and Climate Change – Scylla and Charybdis or Gordian Knot?

Professor William P. Bahnfleth


Heather Adair-Rohani

Tea and Coffee Break
16:00 Plenary & Open Discussion 

Chaired by Professor Rebecca Hardy

Professor Timothy D Mickleborough, Indiana University

Breathe What You Eat: Asthma-Related Issues in Athletes

Management of asthma-related issues in athletes, such as exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), is almost exclusively treated with the use of pharmacotherapy. Clinical responses to pharmacological medications are heterogeneous, and even with optimal treatment, there is a substantial burden of unaddressed disease. Furthermore, the use of certain inhalers may be associated with adverse side-effects and may result in reduced effectiveness or tachyphylaxis. Therefore, the combination of traditional pharmacological treatments with low-cost adjunct therapies may allow for better management of EIB. Although the treatment of EIB mainly encompasses pharmacological intervention, there is now mounting evidence that nutritional modification/supplementation has the potential to modify this condition.
It is important that these dietary therapies are safe, effective, and likely to be used by individuals with EIB. This talk will critically examine whether nutritional management represents a potentially beneficial adjunct intervention for athletes who experience asthma-related issues.

Professor Bill Sheel, University of British Columbia

Breathing during exercise – two unresolved questions

The rate and depth of breathing increase when performing exercise such as walking, running or cycling. The act of breathing is seemingly straightforward and the healthy person performing exercising is largely unaware of the biological complexities at play.  The human respiratory system is, for the most part, ideally structured and highly regulated to meet the demands of muscular exercise. As useful start point, the respiratory system can be thought of as a number of distinct yet interrelated components which include the airways, respiratory muscles, lungs, and a neural control system. In addition, given the heart and lungs are anatomically linked the cardiovascular system must also be considered. Within this framework two broad questions will be addressed. First: does the respiratory system respond to regular exercise training? Second: are there sex-differences in the respiratory physiology of exercise?

Professor Hannah Holscher, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Fueling Gut Microbes

The gastrointestinal microbiota, a collection of trillions of microorganisms within the intestinal tract, has metabolic functions that contribute to human health. Diet and exercise affect the composition and function of the gut microbiota via substrate availability and physiological changes in the gastrointestinal environment. Dietary fiber is a key nutrient utilized by the gut microbiota that supports gut and metabolic health. Alternatively, microbial protein metabolism results in proteolytic metabolites detrimental to gut health. Dietary fat also affects the gut microbiota directly and indirectly through bile acid secretion and the microbial conversion of primary bile acids to secondary bile acids. Microbial-derived metabolites, including short-chain fatty acids from fiber fermentation, proteolytic metabolites, and secondary bile acids, are connected to health outcomes ranging from gut health to adiposity. Ultimately, nutrition is critical in supporting the gut microbiota and optimizing health.

Professor William P. Bahnfleth, Penn State

Indoor Air Quality and Climate Change – Scylla and Charybdis or Gordian Knot?

Buildings are at the nexus of two major challenges to society. On the one hand, buildings with good indoor air quality (IAQ) are essential to health and productivity but current standards are too low, and on the other, buildings are one of the largest users of energy from fossil fuels and, therefore, significant contributors to climate change and other environmental damage. Efforts to improve air quality by increasing outdoor air ventilation rates invariably are countered with concerns about the consequences for operating cost and the environment. To address both challenges, they must be transformed from separate and contrary objectives – Scylla and Charybdis – between which a difficult choice must be made, into an integrated, albeit thorny puzzle – the Gordian Knot – that we may solve if we are sufficiently clever and determined. This presentation will consider the way forward and what knowledge gaps must be filled if we are to have the buildings we need.

Heather Adair-Rohani, World Health Organisation

Title forthcoming

Abstract forthcoming

This event is hybrid format, please use the required booking button at the bottom of the page for either in-person or online.
(Please note that in-person spaces are limited and booking is required, so we can manage numbers for catering and also the space in the room)

By booking a place at this event, attendees agree to behave in a respectful manner such that everyone feels comfortable contributing as they wish. The IAS reserves the right to eject anyone who does not abide by this policy.

IAS seminars are typically recorded, minus any Q&A sessions at the end, again to encourage contributions. The recordings are then uploaded to our website on a Fellows bio page and/or Programme page, along with our IAS YouTube Channel. If you are not able to attend a seminar live, please do still register as we will email everyone who registered to let them know once the recordings are made available.

Contact and booking details

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