Dr Colin Moran

Associate Professor

Sport University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

Dr Colin Moran

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About me

I joined the University of Stirling in 2011 from the University of Edinburgh. Although I was very familiar with the campus having grown up in the local area. I have a BSc (Hons) and PhD in genetics having trained at the Universities of Glasgow and Leicester. I subsequently worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Glasgow funded by the BBSRC and the BHF.

My main research interest is in understanding how genetics and epigenetics contribute to inter-individual differences in elite sports performance, in exercise response and in metabolic disease risk. I also research physical activity interventions, particularly the popular Daily Mile intervention which originated at a local primary school and can now be found in >11,000 schools in >78 countries. Over 1.4 million children are now benefiting from The Daily Mile thanks to our research. Additionally, I like to be involved in public engagement activities to help communicate science to the widest possible audience. I have been involved in a variety of activities in locations ranging from small local venues to working in schools throughout the UK with the BBC.

I am Director of Labs for the Physiology, Exercise and Nutrition Research Group (PENRG) and Impact Champion for the Faculty. I am a core member of international consortia (Athlome and ELITE) focused on the genetics of sporting performance. I am a section editor of the journal All Life and an associate editor of the journal Annals of Human Genetics.

I coordinate and deliver the modules Readings in Sport and Exercise Sciences (SPSU9R7) and Advanced Methods in Human Physiology (SPSU9HP). My teaching on SPSU9R7 includes an optional half-module on the genetics of sporting performance. I also teach on a number of other undergraduate modules and supervise several postgraduate students.

Community Contribution

Journal Editorships
I'm a Section Editor for Epidemiology, Genetics & Genomics in All Life (formerly Frontiers in Life Science) and Senior Editorial Board Member for the Annals of Human Genetics.

Grants panel member or reviewer for major international funding bodies
I have been a panel member or reviewer for: Academy of Finland Life Panel; BBSRC; British Heart Foundation; EU (including COST, MSCA-RISE and MSCA-IF programmes; South African National Research Foundation; Wellcome Trust-DBT India Alliance.

Divisional / Faculty Contribution

Director of Labs
I line manage our technical staff and oversee the smooth running of our suite of laboratory facilities.

Physiological Society Representative
The Physiological Society
I am my University representative for the Physiological Society. I apply for funding for our activities, promote membership and invite and arrange external speakers as well as supporting The Society with outreach activities.

Member of the FHSS Athena Swan Equality and Diversity Committee
I am a member of the FHSS Athena Swan committee which helps develop and monitor good practice in gender equality throughout the Faculty.

Event / Presentation

Selected Invited Seminars and Oral Presentations
2020 • Invited speaker at the Wales Exercise Medicine Symposium (Cardiff, Wales) “BBC Terrific Scientific: Citizen Science and the acute effects of Daily Mile like activity on cognition and wellbeing” 2019 • Invited speaker at the British Psychological Society, Northern Ireland Branch (Templepatrick, Northern Ireland) “Is the Daily Mile good for the health and learning of our primary school children?” 2018 • Oral presentation at the International Society for Physical Activity and Health Conference (London, UK) “Does the Daily Mile improve the physical activity and physiological health of primary school children?” 2017 • Invited speaker and panel member at the Future of Fitness Conference (Karolinska Institutet, Sweden) “Why are we not all the same, and how do we increase physical activity in school children?” 2015 • Organised, chaired and spoke in symposium at PhySoc Annual Meeting (Cardiff) “Non-coding RNA expression in diet, exercise and disease” 2014 • Invited symposium talk at the World Congress of Cycling Conference (Leeds) “Tour de France Champions: born or trained? Genetics and epigenetic contributions to elite athletic performance?” 2014 • Invited international seminar at the Lithuanian Sports University (Kaunas, Lithuania) “To the Genome and Beyond: genetic and epigenetic variation in physiology and athlete status” 2012 • Invited conference seminar at Systems Biology of Exercise Conference (Leeds) “Baseline Plasma MicroRNA Levels Differ Between Elite Endurance and Strength Athletes” 2012 • Invited seminar for Human Nutrition (University of Glasgow) “microRNAs, exercise, nutrition and insulin resistance” 2011 • Invited keynote speaker at the Making an impact with your PhD Conference (University of Glasgow) “Career Path to Academia” 2009 • Invited keynote speaker at the Register of Exercise Professionals National Convention (Birmingham) “The importance of exercise within different population groups” 2009 • Invited keynote speaker at the Register of Exercise Professionals Scottish Convention (Edinburgh) “The importance of exercise within different population groups” 2007 • Invited Lecturer on International Networking for Young Scientist Workshop (Malaysia) 2006 • Invited Speaker at the Lithuanian Academy of Physical Education (Kaunas) "ACTN3 genotypes and obesity-, power- and endurance-related phenotypes in adolescent Greeks"

External Examiners and Validations

Examiner of PhD and MPhil theses
I have been examiner for 8 PhD thesis (5 external, 3 internal) and 4 MPhil thesis (1 external, 3 internal).

Other Academic Activities

Scottish Crucible

Scottish Crucible is a leadership and development programme for early career researchers in Scotland. Each year Scottish Crucible enables 30 highly promising competitively selected Early Career Researchers from across Scotland to come together to explore and expand their innovative potential through a series of intensive, two-day workshops (called 'LABs').

Public Engagement Activities
Throughout my career, I have sought out opportunities to be involved in and drive public engagement. Whatever our research interests, we need to communicate our findings in a way that can be understood by the largest number of people to achieve the maximum impact. • Public Events • I have organised and/or spoken at public debates in Glasgow and Edinburgh Science Festivals and Café Scientifique style sessions in deprived areas of Glasgow. I have also run sessions in primary schools, hosted school pupils at the University, given radio and TV interviews, been science busking in London, written online quizzes and taken part in science fairs. • Citizen Science • Working with the BBC as part of their Terrific Scientific campaign, Our Exercise Investigation involved 1/3 of UK primary schools (~8,000) learning about exercise and the brain through the research itself, interactive quizzes and a Live Lesson (which had the second highest viewing figures ever). Almost 12,000 children took part in the research aspects of the project. • Accessible writing • I have written 4 articles for The Conversation with >100k reads. I have also written for Nutmeg and guest blogged for the Physiological Society Blog.

Professional membership

The Physiological Society
The Physiological Society
The Physiological Society brings together over 3000 scientists from over 60 countries. Since its foundation in 1876, its Members have made significant contributions to our knowledge of biological systems and the treatment of disease. We promote physiology and support those working in the field by organising world-class scientific meetings, offering grants for research, collaboration and international travel, and by publishing the latest developments in its two leading scientific journals, The Journal of Physiology and Experimental Physiology. The Society also runs events for the general public on how physiology relates to everyday life, and for students who may be considering physiology as a career. Membership is available for all career stages, from undergraduate level to senior level scientists.

The Genetics Society
The Genetics Society
The Genetics Society was founded by William Bateson in 1919 and is one of the oldest "learned societies" devoted to Genetics in the world. Its membership of over 1700 consists of most of the UK's active professional geneticists, including teachers, researchers and students. Industry and publishing are also well represented in our membership. It is a registered charity, and organises meetings to promulgate genetics, supports students to attend meetings, sponsors research through fieldwork grants and student bursaries, and promotes the Public Understanding of Genetics. It co-owns and manages some of the leading journals in the field, and publishes a regular newsletter. The Genetics Society organises a wide-ranging programme of scientific meetings covering all areas of genetics. It co-owns and manages some of the leading academic journals in the field, publishes a newsletter twice a year and represents the interests and opinions of the genetics community to governments and other public institutions. It also recognises significant scientific achievements by both leading and younger geneticists via the award of medals and prize lectureships. The Society has links with a number of other learned societies with overlapping interests in, for example Human Genetics, Call Biology and Developmental Biology, and hold occasional joint meetings with them.

The Royal Society of Biology
The Society of Biology
The Royal Society of Biology is a single unified voice for biology: advising Government and influencing policy; advancing education and professional development; supporting our members, and engaging and encouraging public interest in the life sciences.

Professional qualification

Chartered Biologist (CBiol)
The Society of Biology
Chartered Biologist status (designated by the postnominal CBiol) provides a benchmark for bioscientists working in a vast and continually growing array of settings and we are the only body that can award the title Chartered Biologist. Professionally recognising those who work in the life sciences at a high level, Chartered Status is recognised as a hallmark of excellence in both the UK and the European Union. It engenders public confidence in professionals and gives employers confidence in their employees. Chartered Status is open to Members (MRSB) and Fellows (FRSB) of the Royal Society of Biology with a Masters level qualification or equivalent, who can also demonstrate the required professional competences and a commitment to CPD.

Supervision of Research Assistants

Supervision of Impact Research Assistants

As Impact Champion I led and supervised two Impact Research Assistants as we supported researchers across the FHSS in developing and evidencing their Impact Case Studies for REF 2021.

Supervision of Technicians
As Director of Labs I supervise the work of our two technical staff in PENRG.

Postgraduate Supervision
I have 3 current (2 PhD, 1 masters) and 3 completed (2 PhD students and 1 masters) students. All completed on time.

University Contribution

Stirling Crucible Founder and Organiser

I co-founded and co-organised the ‘Stirling Crucible.’ Crucibles are an innovative approach to researcher development. They emphasise stimulation of interdisciplinary collaboration, innovation and leadership leading to the formation of networks that can generate research with impact and lead to sustainable funding. The Stirling Crucible is now on its fourth run.

Mentoring other Researchers
I am a mentor on the IMMP (International Mentoring Partnership Programme) which is a collaboration between the University of Stirling and UNESP (Brazil) through which I regularly (virtually) meet my mentee in Brazil.

Member of the UoS Sports Development Project Board
I am a member of the University of Stirling Sports Development Project Board which oversees the development of the new sports centre and facilities.

Impact Champion
I coordinate the development of FHSS impact case studies for two Units of Assessment (A3 and C24) within REF 2021. I also promote the wider impact agenda beyond the REF. I am additionally lead author on one of our impact case studies related to our Daily Mile work. As part of this role I line manage two research assistants and contribute to the University Impact Subgroup Meetings reporting back to the Faculty.