School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


Elizabeth (Liz) Akam completed her first degree in Biochemistry at the University of Liverpool in 1995 for which she was awarded the Gibson Sinclair Undergraduate Scholarship for Outstanding Academic Achievement 3 years running. Following this, Liz accepted a Wellcome Prize PhD Scholarship to work with Professor Steve Nahorski investigating neuropharmacology of Muscarinic Acetylcholine Receptors at The University of Leicester. On completion of her PhD in February 1999, Liz worked with Professor Philip Strange at The University of Reading before embarking on a career as a Biochemist within the Pharmaceutical Industry. Concomitantly Liz developed a passion for sports and exercise and this culminated in the attainment of her Personal Training in General Populations GNVQ Level 3 in 2007. This together with her specialist knowledge in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics allows her to support both the staff and students of the School of Sports, Exercise and Health Sciences.

Loughborough University’s Research Challenge within “Health and Wellbeing” aligned to the School of Sports, Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS) research theme “Lifestyle for health and wellbeing” is where Dr Akam’s research in Health naturally aligns. Research is currently ongoing in the following areas:

  • The role of cryopreservation on mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) function;
  • The effects of physical activity (PA) on the mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-driven biochemical modulation of tumour metastasis;
  • The utility of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC’s) as pharmacological agents;
  • Investigating the combined utility of drug repurposing and mesenchymal stem cells (MSC’s);
  • The relationship of exercise capacity on telomere length and telomerase activity in the immune cells of older men and women;
  • The Role of Free Fatty Acid Receptors (FFARs) on mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) signal transduction;
  • Research into Free Fatty Acid receptors (FFARs), and more widely G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), would naturally align to a number of ongoing projects within the school: Anti Inflammatory Modulation; Bone Development and Osteoporosis; Signal Transduction Genetics; Type II Diabetes Mellitus Development/Regulation as well as developing the School’s expertise in Biochemistry with an emphasis on Cellular Signalling and Signal Transduction pathways.
  • Journal Referee for a few biochemistry, pharmacology, human biology and sports science journals
  • Learned Societies and Professional Affiliations: Member of The Biochemical Society; Member of The Pharmacological Society
  • Research has benefitted from collaborations with clinical, academic and industrial colleagues from institutions including: University Hospitals, Leicester; University of Leicester (Honorary Lecturer); Les Mills
  • As mentioned previously Liz (Dr Akam) has a very keen interest in sports and exercise, being also a YMCA Fitness Industry Training graduate in Gym Training, Personal Training and Exercise to Music.

Featured publications

  • Bahsoun S, Coopman K and Akam EC. The impact of cryopreservation on bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells: a systematic review. Journal of Translational Medicine (2019) 17, 397; doi:10.1186/s12967-019-02136-7
  • Brown MJ, Bahsoun S, Morris MA and Akam EC. Determining Conditions for Successful Culture of Multi-Cellular 3D Tumour Spheroids to Investigate the Effect of Mesenchymal Stem Cells on Breast Cancer Cell Invasiveness. Bioengineering (2019). 6(4), 101;
  • Know M, Akam EC, Singh P, Singh M, Cox N, Bhatti JS, Tuck SP, Francis RM, Datta H and Mastana SM. Vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene polymorphism and osteoporosis risk in White British men, Annals of Human Biology (2019) 46:5, 430-433; doi: 10.1080/03014460.2019.1659851
  • Akam EC and Riley Smith K. Pilates Conventional or Complementary? Adv Complement Alt Med (2019). 4(5). ACAM.000596.2019.
  • Bahsoun S, Coopman K, Forsyth NR, Akam EC. The Role of Dissolved Oxygen Levels on Human Mesenchymal Stem Cell Culture Success, Regulatory Compliance, and Therapeutic Potential. Stem Cells and Development (2018). 27(19):1303-1321.
  • Turner MC, Player D, Martin NM, Akam EC and Lewis M.  The effect of chronic high insulin exposure upon metabolic and myogenic markers in C2C12 skeletal muscle cells and myotubes. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry (2018). 119:5686–5695
  • Butler S, Young A, Akam EC, Sinha N, Agrawal S, Mastana SS.  Association of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) C677T and A1298C polymorphisms with coronary artery disease (CAD) in a North Indian population. Cogent Medicine (2018). 5: 1478477
  • McMullan C, Dowejko M, Cox N, Ghelani A, Akam EC. Genetic Analysis of Common Variants of MMPs and their Involvement in Rheumatoid Arthritis in the East Midlands, UK (2018). J Clin Genom. 1
  • The Role of TLR4, TNF‐α and IL‐1β in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Development within a North Indian Population. Annals of Human Genetics. Doody NE, Dowejko MM, Akam, EC Cox NJ, Bhatti JS, Singh P. and Mastana S. S. Annals of Human Genetics (2017). 81(4): 141-146
  • Genetic association of pro-inflammatory cytokine gene polymorphisms with coronary artery disease (CAD) in a North Indian population. Mastana SS, Prakash S, Akam EC, Kirby M, Lindley MR, Sinha N. and Agrawal S. Gene (2017). 628: 301-307

Example clinical trial applications & studies

You can view a fuller publications list on the University Publications Database