Dr Emma O'Donnell

Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology

Our academics are leading the future of women's healthcare. Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology, Dr Emma O'Donnell, is researching the interactions between estrogen, exercise and cardiovascular health in the female athlete and in post-menopausal women.

Meet Emma

emma o donnell in the lab with ultrasound volunteer

Dr Emma O’Donnell is a Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology with a specialist focus on cardiovascular physiology in women. Her research is centred on the interactions between the female sex hormone, estrogen, exercise and cardiovascular health in the female athlete and in post-menopausal women.

Investigating links between estrogen, exercise, our hearts and menopause

Emma's current research projects include the cardiovascular consequences of estrogen deficiency in female athletes reporting menstrual cycle disturbances, and the influence of the menstrual cycle on endurance exercise performance in female athletes. Within these projects, the cardiovascular effects of relative energy deficiency in sport (or RED-S) in female athletes is also considered.

The objective of these studies is to provide much needed clarity around the effects of the menstrual cycle on athletic performance, and how energy deficiency due to insufficient caloric intake to meet the energy demands of high levels of exercise training or activity impact cardiovascular function and health.

Other areas of research that Emma is working on include the influence of the menopause and exercise training on cardiovascular health.  Emma has given numerous public lectures on this topic, including the effects of hormone replacement therapy on cardiovascular health. 

Building on this expertise, further studies that Emma is looking to pursue in the near future include investigations into health and racial inequalities in the effects of the menopause transition on cardiovascular and metabolic health, and the potential modulatory effects of exercise training.

The ‘transition’, when women move from premenopause into perimenopause, has been identified as a time of increased risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic disease. Therefore, the objective of this future research will be to better understand how menopause impacts the health of ethnically diverse women during the menopause transition, and how effectively exercise can influence cardiometabolic health during this ‘window of opportunity’.

Read more about Emma's research

Explore Dr Emma O'Donnell's latest research publications

Get in touch

If you would like to get in touch with Dr Emma O'Donnell about collaborations, you can email her at E.ODonnell@lboro.ac.uk.