Liam joined the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences in May 2018 under the Loughborough Excellence 100 scheme. He is a Lecturer in Bioanalytical Science with a research interest in high-throughput measurement of small molecule metabolite biomarkers. He is actively working on projects that span across multiple disciplines including clinical diagnostic and prognostic applications, sports anti-doping analyses, and biomonitoring of exercise performance/fatigue. His work is centred around the application of analytical chemistry applying both gas chromatography- and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry.

Previously, Liam studied an undergraduate degree in Sport and Exercise Science at Loughborough University, where he continued to a master's in Exercise Physiology and a PhD in Analytical Chemistry (mass spectrometry). Prior to his current position, Liam spent time as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leicester’s NIHR Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Centre, working in the John and Lucille van Geest Biomarker Facility.

Liam’s research is focussed on the measurement of small molecule metabolite biomarkers using liquid and gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. Previously, Liam’s work investigated biomarkers in cardiovascular diseases (heart failure, myocardial infarction) for patient risk stratification following an acute cardiac event. Liam is now continuing with his biomarker studies at Loughborough University that include the analyses of clinical cohorts, as well the application of mass spectrometric techniques in health, toxicology, anti-doping, and exercise-based investigations.

Across his career, Liam has been involved in successful research funding awards from multiple sources including industry, MRC, EPSRC, Partnership for Clean Competition, and the German Academic Exchange Service.

Current research projects within Liam’s team include:

  • The measurement of gut microbiota-derived metabolites as novel biomarkers in renal disease
  • Multi-omic investigations to identify biomarkers of tissue development
  • Manipulation of gut microbial metabolism for exercise performance and recovery
  • The development of rapid ambient analyses for anti-doping measurements

Liam is involved in local, regional and international activities focussed on the application of mass spectrometry-based assays in research. He is currently an elected Committee Member of the British Mass Spectrometry Society, a member on the editorial advisory boards for Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine and Analytical Science Advances, and Section Editor (Small Molecules) for the Journal of Mass Spectrometry and Advances in the Clinical Lab. He is also a registered mentor as part of the Females in Mass Spectrometry (FeMS) mentoring scheme.

Liam has delivered invited research presentations at numerous events including a recent Keynote Presentation at Beneficial Microbes (2021). He has also delivered invited talks at the British Society of Mass Spectrometry, the London Biological Mass Spectrometry Discussion Group, the European College of Sport Science, and has regularly contributed special interest articles in The Analytical Scientist and Bioanalysis-Zone. Furthermore, in 2017, Liam was invited to present his research in Parliament as a Finalist in the STEM for Britain competition. STEM for Britain is designed for the UK’s most promising Early Career Researchers to disseminate their work. It is a prestigious annual event which is attended by a significant number of Members of Parliament and Peers, and is sponsored by Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chair of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee.

Featured publications

  • Bongiovanni T, Ong Li Yin M, Heaney L. The athlete and gut microbiome: SCFAs as potential ergogenic aids for exercise and training. International Journal of Sports Medicine 2021; doi: 10.1055/a-1524-2095
  • Rankin-Turner S, Heaney LM. Applications of Ambient Ionization Mass Spectrometry in 2020: An Annual Review. Analytical Science Advances 2021;2:193-212.
  • Day RLJ, Harper AJ, Woods RM, Davies OG, Heaney LM. Probiotics: current landscape and future horizons. Future Science OA 2019;5:FSO391.
  • Heaney LM, Kang S, Turner MA, Lindley MR, Thomas CLP. Metabolomic study of the exhaled breath of swimmers: evidence for alternative elimination profiles of disinfection by-products and potential markers of airway responses to chlorinated water exposure. Indoor Air 2020;30:284-93.
  • Heaney LM. Applyingmass spectrometry-based assays to explore gut microbial metabolism and associations with disease. Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine 2020;58:719-32.
  • Heaney LM, Deighton K, Suzuki T. Non-targeted metabolomics in sport and exercise science. Journal of Sports Sciences 2019;37:959-67.
  • Heaney LM, Lindley MR. Translation of exhaled breath volatile analyses to sport and exercise applications. Metabolomics 2017;13:139.
  • Suzuki T*, Heaney LM*, Jones DJL, Ng LL. Trimethylamine N-oxide and risk stratification after acute myocardial infarction. Clinical Chemistry 2017;63:420-8.
  • Heaney LM, Ruszkiewicz DM, Arthur KL, Hadjithekli A, Aldcroft C, Lindley MR, Thomas CLP, Turner MA*, Reynolds JC*. Real-time monitoring of exhaled volatiles using atmospheric pressure chemical ionization on a compact mass spectrometer. Bioanalysis 2016;8:1325-36.
  • Suzuki T*, Heaney LM*, Bhandari SS, Jones DJL, Ng LL. Trimethylamine N-oxide and prognosis in acute heart failure. Heart 2016;102:841-8.