Department of Sport and Exercise Science


Photo of Dr Zoe Saynor

Dr Zoe Saynor

  • Qualifications: PhD, MSc, BSc (Hon), FHEA
  • Role Title: Senior Lecturer in Physical Activity, Exercise and Health
  • Address: Sport and Exercise Science, Spinnaker Building Cambridge Road Portsmouth PO1 2ER
  • Telephone: +44 (0) 2392 843080
  • Email:
  • Department: Department of Sport and Exercise Science
  • Faculty: Faculty of Science


I joined the department in 2014 from the University of Exeter and am currently a Senior Lecturer in Physical Activity, Exercise and Health and the lead for the Clinical, Health and Rehabilitation research Team (CHaRT). I am also a Guest Lecturer on the MSc Physiotherapy course at University College London and a Visiting Professor at the University of Toulon. I completed a BSc (Hons) in Sports Science and an MSc in Exercise Rehabilitation at Bangor University, during which time I was involved in applied clinical exercise practice and research with people with asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and those with chronic kidney disease who were pre- or receiving peritoneal dialysis. Following the completion of my MSc, I moved to the University of Exeter to complete my PhD within the Children’s Health and Exercise Research Centre and Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust Hospital. My PhD research focused on the assessment and interpretation of aerobic exercise function in children and adolescents with cystic fibrosis. I was appointed as an Associate Lecturer within Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter in 2013, whilst also continuing my research into the factors limiting oxidative metabolism in young people with cystic fibrosis. This work has utilised non-invasive techniques including pulmonary oxygen uptake gas exchange kinetics, near-infrared spectroscopy, thoracic bioimpedance cardiography, and MRI-based 31P-magnetic resonance spectroscopy and blood-oxygen level dependent imaging. I am also a qualified Gym Instructor, Spinning instructor and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

My current research interests focus on exercise testing, training and nutrition for individuals with chronic diseases, including cystic fibrosis, joint hypermobility syndrome, Raynaud's phenomenon, type II diabetes mellitus, cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, chronic kidney disease, asthma and non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis. I am also interested in how exercise in physiologically stressful environments (i.e. cold temperatures, hypoxia) can influence acute and long-term pulmonary function and airway health.

Teaching Responsibilities

  • U25630 Paediatric Exercise Science and Medicine (module coordinator)
  • U25653 Paediatric Exercise and Health (module coordinator)
  • U22590 The Science of Injury and Rehabilitation
  • U24896 Applied Injury and Rehabilitation
  • U23383 Physical Activity Prescription and Promotion
  • U20058 Introduction to Fitness Training and Assessment
  • Undergraduate and MSc level research projects
  • PhD Research Supervisor

In addition to my teaching responsibilities, I am a member of the departmental Extenuating Circumstances Committee, Athena Swan Working Group and am the mentor for the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) Level 2 Gym Instructor Qualification. 

I am also an external reviewer for a number of journals, including:

  • Clinical Medical Insights: Circulatory, Respiratory and Pulmonary Medicine
  • Archives of Disease in Childhood
  • Pediatric Pulmonory
  • Journal of Cystic Fibrosis
  • Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
  • European Journal of Applied Physiology
  • Experimental Physiology
  • PLOS One
  • Journal of Applied Physiology
  • Journal of Asthma and Allergy
  • International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Pediatric Health, Medicine and Therapeutics
  • Adolescent Health, Medicine and Therapeutics

In addition to grant bodies, such as the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

I am also a member of several external committees relating to my research and applied work, including:

  • European Cystic Fibrosis Society Exercise Working Group
  • British Renal Society Rehabilitation Network


Broad research specialisms:

  • The benefits and risks of exercise training in chronically diseased individuals
  • Cardiopulmonary exercise testing and exercise training for clinical groups;
  • That factors limiting oxidative metabolism (e.g. maximal oxygen uptake, oxygen uptake kinetics) in patient groups;
  • The influence of pharmacological treatments on the exercise function of individuals with chronic disease
  • Chronic respiratory disease (particularly cystic fibrosis);
  • Respiratory muscle training and fatigue; 
  • The risks and benefits of extreme environmental conditions on health;
  • Children’s health and exercise.

My primary research interests are focused on the benefits of exercise testing and training in clinical populations. Cardiopulmonary exercise testing is a valuable tool which can provide important clinical information regarding function and longevity and quality of life. Exercise training provides a powerful therapeutic intervention against the negative effects brought about by a chronically diseased state and I am interested in pursuing the most effective training modalities and the implementation of these into clinical practice. I am also particularly interested in the mechanism(s) by which disease pathophysiology affects an individual's cardiopulmonary and muscular function during exercise, in addition to other issues such as cardiovascular, metabolic and bone health. Finally, how pharmacological treatment aimed at improving standard clinical outcomes may also influence the physiological function of individuals with chronic health conditions. 


Research profile

Explore my research profile, publications and activities on the Portsmouth Research Portal

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