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Professor Robert James

Dean of Faculty of Life Sciences

Faculty/Dept/School Faculty of Life Sciences
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Rob James is muscle physiologist who obtained his BSc and PhD at University of Leeds. After 4 years of postdoctoral research at University of St Andrews he started as a lecturer at Coventry University. His teaching was focused on biomechanics and muscle physiology. He undertook various leadership roles at Coventry including Dean of Faculty, Deputy Dean and Associate Dean (Research), before joining Bradford as Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences in July 2022.

Rob is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), a chartered scientist (CSci) and an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB). His main research focus is to utilise physiological techniques, such as the work loop technique, to better understand the effects of drugs, temperature, obesity or ageing on muscle performance.


Awarded a range of research grants (project, studentship, equipment, travel) to study drug induced changes in myocardial performance, thermal physiology of skeletal muscle, effects of natural periods of hypometabolism (aestivation and hibernation) on muscle performance, the causes and mechanisms of muscle fatigue, trade-offs between sprint and endurance performance, effects of body size on skeletal muscle performance.

o   Sept. 2019-Aug. 2022 Australian Research Council Discovery Project, Plastic pollution: new driver altering responses to variable environments, Seebacher F (PI), James RS (Partner Investigator), Little A, AUS$543k;

o   Sept. 2016-Apr. 2020 Innovate UK NC3R, Novel human-cell based assay for assessment of cardiovascular liability, Maddock H (co-PI), James RS (co-PI), £982,000;

o   Sept. 2016-Aug 2019 Australian Research Council Discovery Project, The physiological mechanisms underlying animal group dynamics, Seebacher F (PI), Sumpler D, James RS (Partner Investigator), AUS$460k;

o   Sept. 2014-Mar. 2016, Technology Strategy Board/Innovate UK NC3R, Human Traberculae Work-Loop Feasibility, Maddock H (co-PI), James RS (co-PI), £248,000;

o   Dec. 2013-Nov. 2015, Mercia Growth Fund, Inocardia spin out company for commercial application of the work loop technique, Maddock H (PI), James RS (Academic Partner), £200,000;

o   Dec. 2013-Apr.2015, KEEN-EDRF, Development of in vitro rat papillary muscle work loop assay to accurately predict potential drug induced cardiac toxicity, Maddock H (PI), James RS (Academic Partner), £67,000;

o   Sept. 2013-Aug. 2016, Gerald Kerkut Charitable Trust & Southampton University VC Scholarship Scheme, PhD studentship, Green L (PI), Newland, Cleal, Poore, Rustighi (all Southampton University) and James RS. i.e. I was the external collaborator on this project, £78,000;

o   Oct. 2009-Oct 2013, EU FP7: Marie Curie International Reintegration project grant (based in France), Genetic and epigenetic basis of adaptive responses in frogs, Bonneaud (PI) Herrel, James RS, Adriens, Seebacher, €100,000;

o   2009-2013, FAPESP (Brazil) project grant, Effects of global climate change on the Brazilian fauna: a conservation physiology approach, Navas CA (PI), collaborators included James RS, US$1,000,000;

o   2007-2011, Heart Research UK PhD studentship, An investigation into lethal ischaemia/reperfusion injury and anti-apoptotic therapies in the human myocardium, Maddock H (PI), James RS, £55,435;

o   2004-2007, Sultan Qaboos Oman University, PhD studentship, Effect of caspase inhibitors on ischaemia reperfusion injury in heart muscle, Maddock H (PI), James RS, £62,000;

Research collaborators
NameProfessor Frank Seebacher
CompanyUniversity of Sydney
Themefocusing on responses of animals to changing environments, and how these responses have evolved in space and time.
Description17 collaborative journal papers; current collaborative Australian Research Council funded project
NameDr Jason Tallis
CompanyCoventry University
RoleAssociate Professor
ThemeEffects of obesity and ageing on muscle mechanics
Description30 published collaborative journal papers
NameProfessor Robbie Wilson
CompanyUniversity of Queensland
ThemeEnvironmental decision science, ecosystem services, and environmental evaluation
Description14 collaborative journal papers and a book chapter

Professional activities

  • 01-JAN-91: B.Sc.(Hons) Applied Zoology
  • 01-JAN-94: Ph.D. (The Mechanical and Physiological Properties of Mammalian Muscle)
  • 01-JAN-99: PgCert Teaching and Learning in HE


TitleHigh-fat diet affects measures of skeletal muscle contractile performance in a temperature-specific manner but does not influence regional thermal sensitivity. (2022)
AuthorsTallis J;James RS;Eyre ELJ;Cox VM;Hurst J;
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
TitleEffect of stimulation frequency on force, power and fatigue of isolated mouse extensor digitorum longus muscle. (2022)
AuthorsShelley SP;James RS;Eustace SJ;Eyre E;Tallis J;
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
TitlePre-schoolers fundamental movement skills predict BMI, physical activity, and sedentary behavior: A longitudinal study (2021)
AuthorsDuncan M.J.;Hall C.;Eyre E.;Barnett L.M.;James R.S.
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
TitleDo muscle contractile properties drive differences in locomotor performance in invasive populations of Xenopus laevis in France? (2020)
AuthorsPadilla P;Tallis J;Hurst J;Courant J;James RS;Herrel A;
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology B: Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology
TitleAge-related changes in isolated mouse skeletal muscle function are dependent on sex, muscle, and contractility mode. (2020)
AuthorsHill C;James RS;Cox VM;Seebacher F;Tallis J;
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
TitleThe cardiac work-loop technique: An in vitro model for identifying and profiling drug-induced changes in inotropy using rat papillary muscles. (2020)
AuthorsFletcher S;Maddock H;James RS;Wallis R;Gharanei M;
JournalScientific Reports
TitleIncreased physical activity does not improve obesity-induced decreases in muscle quality in zebrafish (Danio rerio). (2019)
AuthorsSeebacher F;James RS;
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
TitleThe likely effects of thermal climate change on vertebrate skeletal muscle mechanics with possible consequences for animal movement and behaviour. (2019)
AuthorsJames RS;Tallis J;
JournalConservation Physiology
TitleDoes Dietary-Induced Obesity in Old Age Impair the Contractile Performance of Isolated Mouse Soleus, Extensor Digitorum Longus and Diaphragm Skeletal Muscles? (2019)
AuthorsHill C;James RS;Cox VM;Tallis J;
TitleAccelerometer-based physical activity levels, fundamental movement skills and weight status in British preschool children from a deprived area. (2019)
AuthorsRoscoe CMP;James RS;Duncan MJ;
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
TitleAn exercise-induced improvement in isolated skeletal muscle contractility does not affect the performance-enhancing benefit of 70 µmol l-1 caffeine treatment. (2018)
AuthorsTallis J;Higgins MF;Cox VM;Duncan MJ;James RS;
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
TitleThe Effect of Increasing Age on the Concentric and Eccentric Contractile Properties of Isolated Mouse Soleus and Extensor Digitorum Longus Muscles (2018)
AuthorsHill C.;James R.S.;Cox V.M.;Tallis J.
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
TitleRelationships Between Measures of Physical Fitness Change When Age-Dependent Bias is Removed in a Group of Young Male Soccer Players. (2017)
AuthorsJames RS;Thake CD;Birch SL;
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
TitleObesity-induced decreases in muscle performance are not reversed by weight loss. (2017)
AuthorsSeebacher F;Tallis J;McShea K;James RS;
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
TitleThe effects of 8 weeks voluntary wheel running on the contractile performance of isolated locomotory (soleus) and respiratory (diaphragm) skeletal muscle during early ageing. (2017)
AuthorsTallis J;Higgins MF;Seebacher F;Cox VM;Duncan MJ;James RS;
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology