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Neil Williams

Neil Williams

Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Staff Group(s)


Dr Neil Williams is a Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition and teaches across undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes. Neil is module leader for the final year module Current Topics in Sport and Exercise Nutrition. Neil contributes to several other modules on the undergraduate and postgraduate degree pathways with an emphasis on nutrition, exercise physiology, respiratory physiology, and extreme environments.

Dr Williams completed his PhD at Nottingham Trent University focused on the aetiology of asthma and investigating novel dietary interventions for the management of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. Dr Williams’s current research focuses on investigating the role of dietary interventions and the gut microbiota in respiratory health (asthma and upper respiratory symptoms); athlete health and exercise performance. In relation to respiratory health the research primarily focuses on the use of prebiotic interventions to reduce airway inflammation and asthma severity. Neil is also interested in the role of the gut microbiota in exercise performance and athlete health and whether favourable manipulation through diet using pre- and probiotics can have a positive effect for the athlete and recreational exerciser.

Dr Williams is an Academic Associate with the Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register (SENR).

Career overview

Previously Neil has worked on projects involving the physiological assessment of the armed forces for the MOD and commercial clients in a range of extreme environments; and consulted with athletes and ex-Olympians in supporting British runners in the Marathon de Sables.

Previous work includes:

Research areas

Dr William's is a member of the Sport, Health and Performance Enhancement (SHAPE) Research Group.

His research is primarily focused on exercise physiology and nutrition, with emphasis on the aetiology of asthma and novel dietary interventions to reduce exercise induced-bronchoconstriction and airway inflammation. Dr Williams’s research also focuses on the role the gut microbiota play in respiratory disease and exercise performance, with studies investigating the gut microbiota as a novel therapeutic target through dietary prebiotics.

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

Current PhD Students:

  • Connor Parker
  • Cristina Parenti
  • Nikita Lad
  • James Brown
  • Louis Hall
  • Sam Abbott

External activity

Professional affiliations and activities

  • Academic Associate with the Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register (SENR).
  • Peer reviewer for numerous scientific journals
  • Dissemination of research at numerous internationally-renowned scientific conferences
  • Invited speaker on topics related to athlete health, asthma, nutrition and the gut microbiota

Neil is able to act as a consultant in the following areas:

  • Physiological responses to exercise and assessment of fitness
  • Preparation and acclimation for exercise in extreme environments
  • Diagnostic assessments of exercise induced asthma and measurement of pulmonary function

Sponsors and collaborators

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

Internal Collaborators:

Dr Stephanie McCardle, Senior Research Fellow, Biosciences

Dr Kirsty Hunter, Senior Lecturer in Nutrition

Dr Graham Sharpe, Principal Lecturer in Exercise Physiology

Dr Mike Johnson, Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology

External Collaborators:

Dr Gemma Walton, Lecturer in Metagenomics, University of Reading

Dr Dominick Shaw, City Hospital, Nottingham

Food Microbial Sciences Research Group, University of Reading

Clasado Biosciences Ltd.


LAD, N., MURPHY, A.M., PARENTI, C., NELSON, C.P., WILLIAMS, N.C., SHARPE, G.R. and MCTERNAN, P.G., 2021. Asthma and obesity: endotoxin another insult to add to injury? Clinical Science, 135 (24), pp. 2729-2748. ISSN 0143-5221

JOHNSON, M.A., SHARPE, G.R., NEEDHAM, R.S. and WILLIAMS, N.C., 2021. Effects of prior voluntary hyperventilation on the 3-min all-out cycling test in men. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. ISSN 0195-9131

JOHNSON, M.A., WILLIAMS, N.C., GRAHAM, A.W., INGRAM, L.A.L., COOPER, S.B. and SHARPE, G.R., 2020. Effects of prior upper body exercise on the 3-min all-out cycling test in men. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. ISSN 0195-9131

WILLIAMS, N.C., KILLER, S.C., SVENDSEN, I.S. and JONES, A.W., 2019. Immune nutrition and exercise: narrative review and practical recommendations. European Journal of Sport Science, 19 (1), pp. 49-61. ISSN 1746-1391

WILLIAMS, N.C., HUNTER, K.A., SHAW, D.E., JACKSON, K.G., SHARPE, G.R. and JOHNSON, M.A., 2017. Comparable reductions in hyperpnoea-induced bronchoconstriction and markers of airway inflammation after supplementation with 6·2 and 3·1 g/d of long-chain n-3 PUFA in adults with asthma. British Journal of Nutrition, 117 (10), pp. 1379-1389. ISSN 0007-1145

WILLIAMS, N.C., JOHNSON, M.A., SHAW, D.E., SPENDLOVE, I., VULEVIC, J., SHARPE, G.R. and HUNTER, K.A., 2016. A prebiotic galactooligosaccharide mixture reduces severity of hyperpnoea-induced bronchoconstriction and markers of airway inflammation. British Journal of Nutrition, 116 (5), pp. 798-804. ISSN 0007-1145

JOHNSON, M.A., SHARPE, G.R., WILLIAMS, N.C. and HANNAH, R., 2015. Locomotor muscle fatigue is not critically regulated after prior upper body exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 119 (7), pp. 840-850. ISSN 8750-7587

WILLIAMS, N.C., JOHNSON, M.A., HUNTER, K.A. and SHARPE, G.R., 2015. Reproducibility of the bronchoconstrictive response to eucapnic voluntary hyperpnoea. Respiratory Medicine, 109 (10), pp. 1262-1267. ISSN 0954-6111

JOHNSON, M.A., SHARPE, G.R., WILLIAMS, N.C. and HANNAH, R., 2015. Reply to Broxterman, Richardson, and Amann. Journal of Applied Physiology, 119 (12), p. 1521. ISSN 8750-7587

MILLS, D.E., JOHNSON, M.A., MCPHILIMEY, M.J., WILLIAMS, N.C., GONZALEZ, J.T., BARNETT, Y.A. and SHARPE, G.R., 2014. Influence of oxidative stress, diaphragm fatigue, and inspiratory muscle training on the plasma cytokine response to maximum sustainable voluntary ventilation. Journal of Applied Physiology, 116 (8), pp. 970-979. ISSN 8750-7587

WILLIAMS, N.C., SCOTT, J.P.R., BARKER, N., GILMOUR, K. and WICKES, S., 2014. Preparation for and physiological responses to competing in the Marathon des Sables: a case report. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 54 (1), pp. 34-42. ISSN 0022-4707

MILLS, D.E., JOHNSON, M.A., MCPHILIMEY, M.J., WILLIAMS, N.C., GONZALEZ, J.T., BARNETT, Y.A. and SHARPE, G.R., 2013. The effects of inspiratory muscle training on plasma interleukin-6 concentration during cycling exercise and a volitional mimic of the exercise hyperpnea. Journal of Applied Physiology, 115 (8), pp. 1163-1172. ISSN 8750-7587

BLACKER, S.D., WILLIAMS, N.C., FALLOWFIELD, J.L. and WILLEMS, M.E.T., 2011. The effect of a carbohydrate beverage on the physiological responses during prolonged load carriage. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 111 (8), pp. 1901-1908. ISSN 1439-6319

BLACKER, S.D., WILLIAMS, N.C., FALLOWFIELD, J.L., BILZON, J.L.J. and WILLEMS, M.E.T., 2010. Carbohydrate vs protein supplementation for recovery of neuromuscular function following prolonged load carriage. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 7 (1), p. 2. ISSN 1550-2783

Book Chapter:

WILLIAMS, N.C., JOHNSON, M.A., ADAMIC, E.M. and MICKLEBOROUGH, T.D., 2020. Non-pharmacological management of asthma-related issues in athletes. In: J.W. DICKINSON and J.H. HULL, eds., Complete guide to respiratory care in athletes. Routledge, pp. 86-98. ISBN 9780429492341

See all of Neil Williams's publications...

Press expertise

  • The effects of extreme environments on the human body
  • Respiratory conditions in athletes
  • Role of the gut microbiota in health and exercise
  • Prebiotic and probiotic dietary interventions