Kirsty Elliott-Sale

Associate Professor

School of Science & Technology

Staff Group(s)


Dr Elliott-Sale is the Head of the Musculoskeletal Physiology Research Group. She is also responsible for teaching on the undergraduate and postgraduate Sport Science degree programmes. Dr Elliott-Sale is the Module Leader for “Health Principles to Practice” and the “Sport Project and Dissertation” module. Dr Elliott-Sale teaches mainly in the areas of Exercise Physiology and particularly in Female Physiology, Performance, and Health.

Career overview

Dr Elliott-Sale completed her undergraduate degree and PhD at Liverpool John Moores University. She worked as a Lecturer at Brunel University and the University of Brighton before undertaking a four-year Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at Kings College London. Dr Elliott-Sale joined NTU in September 2009 as a Senior Lecturer on a part-time basis.

Research areas

Dr Elliott-Sale is the Head of the Musculoskeletal Physiology Research Group and a member of the Sport, Health and Performance Enhancement Research Centre. She has more than 20 years of experience working predominately with females, particularly with elite female athletes and maternal populations (e.g., postpartum women). She has an international reputation in female endocrinology and musculoskeletal physiology, as well as expertise in exercise physiology with specific regards to the design and implementation of exercise-based interventions. She has extensive experience in running research projects in sporting, clinical and academic environments.

Since the completion of her PhD, which examined the effects of female reproductive hormones on muscle strength, her research has concentrated on various aspects of health and athletic performance in female populations. She has the following main areas of interest:

  • Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport and the Female Athlete Triad
  • Maternal Obesity: exercise and nutrition-based interventions for weight management during and following pregnancy
  • Musculoskeletal Health and Metabolism: the bone metabolic responses to strenuous exercise and feeding

Current PhD Students:

Mr Daniel Martin

Miss Stephanie Hanley

Mr Joseph Matthews

Mr Lloyd Parker (Liverpool John Moores University)

Previous PhD Students:

Dr Maria Papageorgiou

Dr Rebecca Townsend

Opportunities to carry out postgraduate work towards an MPhil/PhD exist and further information may be obtained from the NTU Doctoral School.

External activity

Dr Elliott-Sale works with the English Institute of Sport, British Athletics and Liverpool John Moores University on female athlete related projects. She also collaborates with Public Health Nottingham, Nottingham University Hospitals and the MAGIC (managing weight in pregnancy) cohort on issues involving Maternal Obesity. She is an external examiner (MRes in Sport Science) for Liverpool Hope University. Dr Elliott-Sale is an Associate Editor for the journal Nutrition and Health.

Sponsors and collaborators

Internal Collaborators:

  • Prof Craig Sale, Professor of Human Physiology
  • Dr Ruth James, Lecturer in Exercise Physiology
  • Dr Ian Varley, Lecturer in Exercise Physiology
  • Dr Simon Cooper, Lecturer in Sports Nutrition

External Collaborators:

  • Dr Kathryn Ackerman, Medical Director- Female Athlete Program, Division of Sports Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital; Associate Director- Sports Endocrine Research Lab, Massachusetts General Hospital; Assistant Professor- Harvard Medical School
  • Professor William Fraser, Professor of Medicine, Norwich Medical School
  • Dr Julie Greeves OBE, Research Director, Women in Ground Close Combat programme
  • Dr Sharon Madigan, Head of Performance Nutrition, Irish Institute of Sport
  • Dr Sophie Killer, Lead Performance Nutritionist for British Athletics Olympic and Paralympic Track & Field, English Institute of Sport
  • Prof Graeme Close, Professor of Human Physiology, Liverpool John Moores University
  • Dr Lucy Kean, Service Lead for Obstetrics, Consultant Foetal and Maternal Medicine, Nottingham University Hospitals

Recent Research Funding:

  • National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research Development Project examining the role of exercise-based text messages on postpartum weight loss in overweight and obese women (£30,000)
  • NIHR Feeder Grant examining the effects of exercise on health and weight loss during pregnancy and following childbirth (£33,000)


Martin, D., Cooper, S., Sale, C. and Elliott-Sale, K.J. (2017). The prevalence of hormonal contraceptives in elite female athletes. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 1-22. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2017-0330. [Epub ahead of print]

Santos, L, Elliott-Sale, K.J. and Sale C. (2017). Exercise and bone health across the lifespan. Biogerentology, 18 (6), 931-946. doi: 10.1007/s10522-017-9732-6.

Papageorgiou, M., Elliott-Sale, K.J., Parsons, A., Tang, J.C.Y., Greeves, J.P., Fraser, W.D. and Sale, C. Effects of reduced energy availability on bone metabolism in men and women. Bone, 105, 191-199. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2017.08.019.

Papageorgiou, M., Dolan, E., Elliott-Sale, K.J. and Sale C. (2017). Reduced Energy Availability: Implications for Bone Health in Physically Active Populations. European Journal of Nutrition. doi: 10.1007/s00394-017-1498-8. [Epub ahead of print]

Swift, J.A., Pearce, J., Jethwa, P.H., Taylor, M.A., Avery, A., Ellis, S., Langley-Evans, S.C., McMullen, S. and Elliott-Sale, K.J. (2017). Antenatal weight management: Diet, physical activity levels and body mass in early pregnancy. Midwifery, 49, 40-46. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2017.01.016

Townsend, R., Elliott-Sale, K.J., Currell, K., Fraser, W.D. and Sale, C. (2017). The Effect of Postexercise Carbohydrate and Protein Ingestion on Bone Metabolism. Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise, 49 (6), 1209-1218. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001211

Townsend, R., Elliott-Sale, K.J., Scott, J.P.R., Currell, K., Fraser, W. and Sale, C. (2016) Exploring the mechanism for changes in parathyroid hormone (PTH) during and after endurance exercise. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 101 (8), 3231-3239. doi:10.1210/jc.2016-1848.

Elliott-Sale, K.J., Barnett, C.T. and Sale, C. (2015). Systematic review of randomised controlled trials on exercise interventions for weight management during pregnancy and up to one year postpartum among normal weight, overweight and obese women. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 49 (20), 1336-42. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2014-093875.

See all of Kirsty Elliott-Sale 's publications...

Press expertise

  • Female athletes
  • The Female athlete Triad
  • Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S)
  • Female physiology
  • Exercise physiology
  • Musculoskeletal physiology
  • Maternal obesity
  • Pregnancy