Earlier in the summer, SSES Post-Doctoral Research Associate Dr Jamie Pethick was awarded one of the University’s Summer Vacation Research Prizes. This provided funding for an undergraduate student to gain valuable experience working with him on a research project in our laboratories. After a rigorous recruitment process, second year SSES student Charlotte Casselton was chosen to work on the project.
The purpose of the project was to investigate the effects of ischaemic pre-conditioning on muscle torque complexity during neuromuscular fatigue. Ischaemic pre-conditioning is a technique consisting of alternating bouts of blood flow restriction and reperfusion, which has previously been demonstrated to have an ergogenic effect and improve endurance. Muscle torque complexity refers to the structure of the fluctuations inherent to muscular output. Dr Pethick’s previous research has demonstrated that muscle torque complexity decreases during neuromuscular fatigue, which can have important implications for task performance. In this study, it was hypothesised that ischaemic pre-conditioning would slow the rate at which muscle torque complexity decreased with neuromuscular fatigue.
Aside from its experimental aims, the project had an additional purpose: to give the undergraduate student involved, Charlotte, valuable experience of working in a research environment and on all aspects of a research project. After the project, Charlotte said “It was a great to learn about a subject we aren’t taught in lectures and to research it. The most enjoyable part was being able to actually do the testing. It strengthened the belief that I want to go into research after I finish my degree. I can use the experience for my dissertation. Learning how about research methods and how to set up equipment and prepare for testing has been very useful.”
Dr Pethick said “Having Charlotte work with me in the lab was good for both of us. I’m at a stage in my career where I’m looking at applying for my own funding and starting my own research group, so having a student work with me was very useful. From Charlotte’s perspective, she learned about a lot of things she wouldn’t necessarily get to experience, and it was great to see her grow in confidence throughout the project.”
The results of the study are available online as a pre-print: osf.io/preprints/sportrxiv/mcpjz