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Caroline Sunderland

Caroline Sunderland

Associate Professor

School of Science & Technology

Staff Group(s)


Dr Caroline Sunderland (FBASES) is a Reader in Environmental and Sports Physiology. She is the Research Coordinator for the Sport, Health and Performance Enhancement (SHAPE) Research Centre and Head of the Sport Performance Research Group.

She is the Deputy Director for the REF Unit of Assessment C26: Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism.

Dr Sunderland is the Course Leader for the MRes Sport courses and Module Leader for Environmental Sports Physiology at undergraduate level and Sport Science in Action at masters level. In addition, she is a member of the School International Development Group.

Career overview

Dr Sunderland is currently a Reader in Environmental and Sports Physiology and the Research Coordinator for the Sport, Health and Performance Research Group at NTU. Her PhD was awarded by Loughborough University in 2001, since which time she has worked at NTU. Dr Sunderland has also worked as a Doping Control Officer.

Research areas

Dr Sunderland’s research interests lie within the area of exercise physiology and encompass exercise in extreme environments, team sports physiology and exercise responses of females.  In particular, she is interested in interventions to improve exercise performance in the heat; appetite regulation in extreme environments; training, nutrition and talent identification for football and hockey; and the effects of the menstrual cycle and oral contraceptives on metabolism and performance of females during exercise.

Dr Sunderland has over 40 publications and has generated income of over £200k for NTU.

Current projects include:

  • The effect of intermittent exercise and the heat on neuromuscular and cognitive function.
  • Preparing team sport players for competing and training in hot environmental conditions.
  • Talent identification in team sports.
  • Maximising performance in elite field hockey players.
  • The effect of training load and match load on injury in team sports.

Opportunities arise to carry out postgraduate research towards an MPhil / PhD in the areas identified above. Further information may be obtained on the NTU Research Degrees website.

Past postdoctoral supervisions:

  • Dr Ricci Hannah

Current PhD students:

  • Mr Neval Grazette
  • Mr Brett Biddulph
  • Miss Karah Dring
  • Mr Ben Cousins
  • Miss Athalie Redwood-Brown
  • Mr Jack Ashby
  • Miss Lorna Hatch

Previous PhD Students:

  • Dr Chris Tyler
  • Dr Hannah MacLeod
  • Dr David Macutkiewicz
  • Dr Lucy Wasse
  • Dr Bryan Saunders
  • Dr Chris Saward
  • Dr Rob Corney
  • Dr Rachel Malcolm

External activity

Dr Sunderland is a BASES accredited Sports Scientist (Exercise Physiology Sports Science Support and Research) and regularly advises elite teams and individual athletes. She has over 20 years’ experience working with a range of clients from elite athletes to young children.

Work undertaken includes, but is not limited to:

  • Physiological assessment of fitness and screening
  • Training programme development and monitoring
  • Blood, sweat and urine analysis
  • Preparation for exercise in extreme environments
  • Hypoxic exercise during rehabilitation

Previous work includes:

Dr Sunderland is an experienced external examiner for undergraduate and postgraduate courses as well as several PhDs.

Sponsors and collaborators

Current and recent research is being conducted with the collaboration, funding and/or support of:

Recent research funding includes:

  • The effect of compression clothing on recovery from muscle damaging exercise, Kurio Compression, £30,000.
  • Prediction of injury risk in elite rugby union and subsequent development of injury prevention strategies, Bristol Rugby Club, £75,000.
  • Talent identification and development in professional football, Manchester City Services Ltd, £72,158.

External Collaborators:


Barron, D., Ball, G., Robins, M. and Sunderland, C. (2018) Artificial neural networks and player recruitment in professional soccer. PloS One 13(10) e0205818. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0205818.

Saward, C., Morris, J.G., Nevill, M.E. and Sunderland, C. (2018) The effect of playing status, maturity status, and playing position on the development of match skills in elite youth football players aged 11-18: a mixed-longitudinal study. European Journal of Sports Sciences DOI: 10.1080/17461391.2018.1508502.

Redwood-Brown, A.J., O’Donogue, P.G., Nevill, A.M., Saward, C., Dyer, N. and Sunderland, C. (2018) Effects of situational variables on the physical activity profiles of elite soccer players in different score line states. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 28, 2515-2526.DOI: 10.1080/17461391.2018.1508502.

Macutkiewicz, D. and Sunderland, C. (2018) Sodium bicarbonate supplementation does not improve elite women’s team sport running or field hockey skill performance. Physiological Reports, 6(19), e13818.DOI: 10.14814/phy2.13818.

MacLeod, H., Cooper, S., Bandelow, S., Malcolm, R. and Sunderland, C. (2018). Effects of heat stress and dehydration on cognitive function in elite female hockey players. BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation, 10, 12. DOI: 10.1186/s13102-018-0101-9.

Malcolm, R.A., Cooper, S., Folland, J.P., Tyler, C.J. and Sunderland, C. (2018) Passive heat exposure alters perception and executive function. Frontiers in Physiology, 9, 585. DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2018.00585.

Cooper, S.B., Dring, K.J., Morris, J.G., Sunderland, C., Bandelow, S. and Nevill, M.E. (2018) High intensity intermittent games-based exercise and adolescents’ cognition: moderating effect of physical fitness. BMC Public Health, 18, 603. DOI:10.1186/s12889-018-5514-6.

Longitudinal development of match-running performance in elite male youth soccer players. Saward, C., Morris, J.G., Nevill, M.E., Nevill, A.M. and Sunderland, C, 2016, Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 26 (8), pp. 933-942. ISSN 0905-7188

Neck-cooling improves repeated sprint performance in the heat. Sunderland, C., Stevens, R., Everson, B. and Tyler, C.J. 2015, Frontiers in Physiology, 6. ISSN 1664-042X

The effect of cooling prior to and during exercise on exercise performance and capacity in the heat: A meta-analysis. Tyler, C.J., Sunderland, C. and Cheung, S.S. (2015), British Journal of Sports Medicine,49(1), 7-13.DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2012-091739.

Influence of rest and exercise at a simulated altitude of 4000m on appetite, energy intake, and plasma concentrations of acylated ghrelin and peptide YY. Wasse LK, Sunderland C, King JA, Batterham RL, Stensel DJ, Journal of Applied Physiology, 2012, 112, 552-559

Effect of ß-alanine plus sodium bicarbonate on high-intensity cycling capacity. Sale C, Saunders B, Hudson S, Wise JA, Harris RC and Sunderland C, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2011, 43 (10), 1972-1978

See all of Caroline Sunderland's publications...

Press expertise

  • Exercise in the heat
  • Training for team sport performance
  • Team sports and female athletes