Professor Mike Gleeson


  • Emeritus Professor of Exercise Biochemistry

Professor Michael (Mike) Gleeson graduated in Biochemistry from the University of Birmingham and then completed a PhD on the effects of diet and exercise on energy metabolism at the University of Central Lancashire. He then worked as a research fellow at Salford University and a lecturer in veterinary physiology at the University of Edinburgh, before moving to Aberdeen University in 1985. There he teamed up with Ron Maughan and Paul Greenhaff and worked on research projects investigating the effects of dietary manipulation on metabolism and performance in high-intensity exercise.

In 1987 Michael was appointed senior lecturer in human physiology at Coventry University where he became interested in the effects of exercise on immune function.

In 1996 he was appointed as a senior lecturer in the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Birmingham and in 1999 he was awarded a personal chair in exercise biochemistry.

Michael moved to Loughborough University in October 2002 as the new Professor of Exercise Biochemistry.

Over the past 30 years, he has published over 200 full peer-reviewed papers on exercise physiology, biochemistry and immunology, and sports nutrition. He has also co-authored textbooks in exercise biochemistry, sport nutrition and exercise immunology. Recently, following his retirement in 2016, he has written a series of healthy lifestyle guidebooks for the general public including “Eat, Move, Sleep, Repeat” and “Beating Type 2 Diabetes”.

He is a member of the Physiological Society and has been President of the International Society of Exercise and Immunology. He is a fellow of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) and the European College of Sport Science.

He is a keen tennis player, a bit of a cinema buff, and an armchair football fan.

Professor Mike Gleeson talks about his research

Inflammation, Exercise and Metabolism Research Group

Michael's research has focused on the effects of exercise, intensified training and nutrition on immune function in athletes. He is particularly interested in markers of immune function that are predictive of infection risk in athletes and in possible nutritional interventions that can limit stress responses to exercise and/or boost immunity.

He is also interested in exercise metabolism, thermoregulation during exercise, nutrition for sport, and the detection and prevention of overtraining in endurance athletes.

In recent years his research has been supported by GlaxoSmithKline, Nestle, Yakult, PepsiCo and the Gatorade Sport Science Institute.

Since his retirement in 2016, Michael has contributed to several IOC, ISEI and UEFA international consensus reviews on training load and illness/injury risk, immuno-nutrition and nutrition in football. He has also written a series of healthy lifestyle guidebooks for the general public.

Selected Recent Research Projects and Sources of Funding

  • Effects of a fermented milk product on common cold infection and salivary antimicrobial proteins in endurance athletes: a placebo-controlled, randomized trial. Yakult, £195,800. Co-investigator: NC Bishop. September 2014 – August 2015.
  • Influence of strategic sports supplement ingestion during an intensive training period on performance, markers of overreaching, anti-inflammatory aspects of immune function, sleep patterns, appetite and energy balance. Gatorade Sport Science Institute, £100,000. November 2012-October 2013.
  • Influence of vitamin D and CMV/EBV serostatus on infection incidence during 4 months of winter training in a student cohort of endurance athletes. Gatorade Sport Science Institute, £15,000. August 2012-January 2013.
  • PepsiCo Research Studentship - Nutrition and hydration issues in exercise performance. PepsiCo, £45,365. August 2012-July 2014.
  • Effects of a probiotic intervention on infection, cold symptom duration/severity and mucosal immunity in endurance athletes. Yakult, £198,300. Co-investigator: NC Bishop. September 2010 – October 2012.

A chat about performance with Emeritus Professor Mike Gleeson

Selected External Research-Related Roles

  • Member of UEFA Expert Group on Nutrition in Football 2017-to date.
  • Member of International Life Science Institute Expert Group on Nutrients and Immune Resistance to Infections, 2003-to date.
  • Member of ECSS Expert Group on the Overtraining Syndrome: Causes, Consequences and Prevention, 2005-to date.
  • Member of IOC Expert Group on Illness and Injury Prevention in Athletes, 2015-to date.
  • Vice-President (2005-07) and President (2007-09) of the International Society of Exercise and Immunology (

Selected Invited Conference Keynote and Speaker Presentations

  • Gleeson M (2014). Effects of exercise on immune function and practical strategies to limit infection risk in athletes. Invited lecture, 5th Annual Strength and Conditioning Student Conference, Middlesex University, London, 15th March 2014.
  • Gleeson M (2014). Anti-inflammatory effects of exercise. Invited lecture, ACSM, Orlando, FL, USA, 26th-30th May 2014.
  • Gleeson M, Clow A and Dacquisto F (2014). Does stress make you ill? Invited talk and panel discussion, Cheltenham Science Festival, Cheltenham, UK, 5th June 2014.
  • Gleeson M (2014). Exercise and immune function: probiotic potential for athletes. Invited lecture, Sport Nutrition Symposium, Vienna, 19th September 2014.
  • Gleeson M (2015). Immune system adaptation in athletes. Invited lecture. European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Congress, Barcelona, 6th-10th June 2015.
  • Gleeson M (2016). Immunological aspects of sport nutrition. Invited keynote lecture. 8th Yakult Shirota Conference, Tokyo, 2nd November 2016.
  • Gleeson M (2019). A chat about performance: Exercise immunology and UEFA  consensus review on nutrition in elite football. Nutrition Institute webinar, 20th March 2019.

Featured publications

  • Gleeson, M. (2015). Effects of exercise on immune function. Gatorade Sports Science Exchange 28(151): 1-6.
  • Schwellnus, M., Soligard, T., Alonso, J.M., Bahr, R., Clarsen, B., Dijkstra, P., Gabbett, T.J.,  Gleeson, M., Hägglund, M., Hutchinson, M.R., Van Rensburg, C.J., Khan, K., Meeusen, R., Orchard, J.W., Pluim, B.M., Raftery, M., Erdener, U., Budgett, R., and Engebretsen, L. (2016). How much is too much? (Part 2) International Olympic Committee consensus statement on load in sport and risk of illness. British Journal of Sports Medicine 50(17): 1043-1052.
  • Gleeson, M. (2016). Immunological aspects of sport nutrition. Immunology and Cell Biology 94: 117–123.
  • Bermon, S., Castell, L.M., Calder, P.C., Bishop, N.C., Blomstrand, E., Mooren, F.C., Krüger, K., Kavazis, A.N., Quindry, J.C., Senchina, D.S., Nieman, D.C., Gleeson, M., Pyne, D.B., Kitic, C.M., Close, G.L., Larson-Meyer, D.E., Marcos, A., Meydani, S.N., Wu, D., Walsh, N.P., and Nagatomi, R. (2017). Consensus Statement Immunonutrition and Exercise. Exercise Immunology Review 23: 8-50.
  • Killer, S.C., Svendsen, I.S., Jeukendrup, A.E., and Gleeson, M. (2017). Evidence of disturbed sleep and mood state in well-trained athletes during short-term intensified training with and without a high carbohydrate nutritional intervention. Journal of Sports Sciences 35(14):1402-1410.
  • Jeukendrup, A.E. and Gleeson, M. (2018). Sports Nutrition. pp. 602. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. ISBN 978-1-492-2903-3
  • Heaney, J.L.J., Killer, S.C., Svendsen, I.S., Gleeson, M., and Campbell, J.P. (2018). Intensified training increases salivary free light chains in trained cyclists: Indication that training volume increases oral inflammation. Physiology and Behavior 188:181-187.
  • Collins, J., Maughan, R., Gleeson, M., Bilsborough, J., Jeukendrup, A., Morton, J., Phillips,  S., Armstrong, L., Burke, L., Close, G., Duffield, R., Larson-Meyer, E., Louis, J., Medina, D., Meyer, F., Rollo, I., Sundgot-Borgen, J., Wall, B., Boullosa, B., Dupont, G., Lizarraga, A., Res, P., Bizzini, M., Castagna, C., and McCall, A. (2019). UEFA Expert Group Statement on Nutrition Consensus 2019: Evidence and expert-led recommendations to optimise the health and performance of elite football players.  British Journal of Sports Medicine (in press).
  • Gleeson, M. (2020). Eat, Move, Sleep, Repeat. pp. 400. Aachen: Meyer and Meyer Sport. ISBN 978-1-782-5518-774
  • Gleeson, M. (2020). Beating Type 2 Diabetes. pp. 300. Aachen: Meyer and Meyer Sport.