Friday, 16 October 2015

Danielle battles back to top level sport

UCLan SENS graduate Danielle Gibbons says she is proud of the comeback she has made to the FA Women's Super League after having a benign brain tumour removed.

The Liverpool Ladies FC goalkeeper missed five months of the season following surgery which left her deaf in one ear, but returned to play three matches before the end of the campaign. Danielle told BBC Sport she wasn't going to let anything stop her playing again.

She said: "There wasn't one point when I thought I wouldn't get back - if I couldn't have played for Liverpool again, then I was determined to play in the Olympics for the deaf team or something like that."

Gibbons was diagnosed with the non-cancerous tumour called acoustic neuroma in 2013 and initially kept it from her teammates as she did not want them to treat her any differently.

"I eventually told them at the beginning of this year and to be honest that was harder than telling my parents," said Danielle. "I didn't really expect them to be as upset as some of them were, which was nice in a way because it showed they cared."

Surgeons cut through her balance and hearing nerve to remove the tumour - a procedure which has left her completely deaf in her left ear, and the recovery was long and slow.

"At the beginning it was really basic, I just had to walk around the pitch turning cones over, which took me a really long time," she said. "It was really tedious and boring but you have to start with the basics. Even now I have to do a lot of standing on one leg with my eyes closed because my balance still isn't recovered."

After returning to training Danielle targeted getting back into the squad before the end of the season, but after regular keeper Libby Stout injured her shoulder she was called into action for Liverpool's final two league matches and their Champions League game at Brescia.

"I was incredibly nervous and physically shaking before the game, which has never happened before," she added. "But I was really excited to get playing again and proud to have overcome everything and then to get the chance to play in the Champions League was incredible."

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Warriors boosted by the appliance of science

Science is now a core element of elite level sport, helping athletes maximise their potential and perform to the very best of their abilities.

Wigan Warriors' march to the First Utility Super League Grand Final 2015 against Leeds Rhinos was backed by one of the sport's most innovative Sports Science departments, with their staff leaving no stone unturned in the pursuit of success.

Mark Quinn, Warriors' Head of Sports Science and Analytics, is currently a PhD student at UCLan SENS and has recently completed extensive research into top class Rugby League.

The unique study looked at the physical demands of the World Club Challenge (WCC), comparing the differences between the Northern and Southern hemisphere competitions.

In recent years the Australian and New Zealand international teams have dominated their European rivals, while this season saw all three Super League teams lose to their NRL counterparts in the WCC.

By analysing player activity during the competition, the study found the WCC game produced more high speed sprints plus an increased number of accelerations and decelerations, and that when the values were analysed per minute of time the ball was in play these were accentuated, showing that the WCC game was played at a higher intensity than regular Super League games.

Whilst highlighting clear differences between the NRL and Super League competitions, the research also showed that finals are very physically demanding in comparison to regular season games - something the Warriors and Rhinos players showcased in abundance during this year's Grand Final.

The study, which will be Mark's first published paper, will appear in the December edition of the International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport.

Friday, 2 October 2015

International invite for new team member

A new member of the UCLan SENS team has been invited to present at a prestigious international conference.

Dr Jan Mei Soon will travel to Italy during October to take part in The European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) second Scientific Conference entitled 'Shaping the Future of Food Safety, Together' (EFSAExpo2015).

Dr Soon recently joined UCLan as a lecturer in food safety management systems after graduating with her PhD from Coventry University.

She previously worked in the food industry in Malaysia, before continuing her postgraduate studies. Dr Soon also lectured at University Malaysia Kelantan and spearheaded the Food Security and Technology undergraduate programme.

Her work has been recognised by The United Kingdom Federation for Food Science and Technology (UKFFoST) and The International Association for Food Protection (IAFP), who both awarded scholarships to take part in showpiece international food industry events.

Dr Soon is passionate about food borne diseases and outbreak investigations, food safety handling practices and training. She is also a supporter of the ethos of social responsibility, giving 10% of her time and money back to society.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Food Safety expert delivers first Professorial lecture

Carol Wallace, Professor of Food Safety Management Systems at UCLan SENS, has delivered her first Professorial lecture.

Entitled 'From Rocket Science to People Power - evolution and effectiveness of food safety management approaches', the event was an opportunity for Professor Wallace to celebrate her 30 year career in the food industry and food safety education.

She said: "I was pleased to do my inaugural professorial lecture on a topic that has been close to my heart through all my time in industry as well as my career in academia.

"I was a little nervous because this was a public lecture, so it had to be relevant to both non-specialists and food safety professionals but everyone seemed really interested and I was delighted with how engaged the audience members were in the final Q & A session."

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Hammers placement expands student's knowledge

Our programmes offer students many opportunities to gain valuable industry experience.

Nik Kudiersky recently completed a placement as part of the elite performance team at West Ham United FC, which he hopes will provide a platform into a career in sport.

Nik spotted the role just after starting his final year and after successfully negotiating the interview process he was offered the position. With the help of UCLan staff Nik deferred his studies to join the Premier League outfit.

His placement focused on training analysis, via the use of GPS, accelerometry, and video footage. Nik learned how to use an array of high-tech equipment, and how to effectively apply analysis methods in an elite youth football environment.

Along with two other students, Nik was responsible for the collection and feedback of the time-motion data of all U18 & U21 players, as well filming all training sessions, and uploading the edited footage to an online video platform.

A key objective of the time-motion data analysis was to provide staff and players with objective feedback of each individual’s activity level throughout each pitch session. This data combined with subjective exertion feedback from the players, enabled the staff to assess the efficacy of each training session, make inter-individual comparisons and identify symptoms of overreaching.

Videoing training was an essential role, facilitating the interpretation of the time-motion data, and providing players and staff with the opportunity to analyse performance.

Soon after beginning the placement Nik became aware that the activity of each player is highly dependent on a number of contextual factors, including the chaotic and organisational behaviour of surrounding players, therefore the accompanying video footage was required to make sense of the data.

Working alongside sport scientists gave Nik a great insight into practice design, learning how to apply principles of skill acquisition and exercise physiology, to maximise productivity of each training session.

A high emphasis was placed on creating an optimal learning environment for the players both on and off the pitch.

On the pitch a game-centred, constraints-led approach was implemented to promote the retention and transferability of implicitly learnt skills.

A self-directed learning approach was encouraged off the pitch; training and match footage was made available within a couple of hours, allowing players to critically analyse their performance on a daily basis.

Working within a multi-disciplinary academy, exposed Nik to a wide variety of contemporary and practical methods in the domains of strength and conditioning, sport science, coaching science, and performance analysis.

Nik now has a much deeper understanding of the interacting elements that must be considered when designing and implementing a team development strategy, and will now be able to apply and expand on what he has learnt on his return to UCLan.

Monday, 8 June 2015

UCLan researcher attends food sustainability conference

Dr Marisol Warthon-Medina joined students from across the UK at Lancaster University for an innovative food sustainability event.

The NUS Student Eats Conference 2015 featured a range of interactive talks and workshops which gave delegates the opportunity to discuss the progress of the scheme and share examples of good practice.

Student Eats turns areas of campuses into versatile growing areas, installing poly-tunnels, greenhouses and cold frames to extend the growing season, as well as providing a range of gardening equipment and horticultural expertise.

Championed by a team of dedicated students, staff and members of the local community, these sites are used to grow produce which is shared among the volunteers, as well as sold at low cost to other students and often to on-campus catering services.

As more and more students become interested in growing their own produce, as well as being conscientious of the ethical and environmental impact of their food choices, Student Eats is a great opportunity to grow, eat and share food which is organic, nutritious, fresh, local, low-carbon and – most importantly of all – delicious.

Aside from promoting sustainable food patterns and localised economics, Student Eats uses these projects to strengthen community bonds and build cross-cultural connections. Each project endeavours to partner up with one off-campus community group such as a local school or a wellbeing charity, offering demonstration sessions, volunteering opportunities and cookery events.

Further to this, the sites also take pride in growing ethnic and exotic crops which might not often be seen on UK allotments – responding to as broad of a demographic of students as possible. For many participating institutions, Student Eats is the first time they have been able to host student-led food growing, despite the increasing demand for projects of this nature.

To find out more about UCLan's involvement in the project please click here.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Food Safety book gets Russian release

Professor Carol Wallace's latest book - 'HACCP: a practical approach (3rd Edition)' - has been published for the first time in Russian.

The book, co-authored with Sara Mortimore, is a compendium of up-to-date thinking and best practice approaches to the development, implementation and maintenance of HACCP programs for food safety management.

Written both for those who are developing HACCP systems for the first time and for those who need to update, the book refreshes and strengthens their existing systems.

New materials and new tools to assist the HACCP team have been provided and the current situation on issues that are still undergoing international debate, such as operational prerequisite programmes.

Previous books written by Professor Wallace, and earlier editions of this one, have been published in French, German, Spanish, Chinese and Indonesian.