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Our History

Since 1981 and the establishment of the AIS, the Department of Physiology has provided high level scientific support to a wide range of AIS and National Team athletes. Physiology has developed a reputation for high quality applied research and invested in a very well-equipped scientific laboratory. The Department’s facilities include

  • Haematology/ Biochemistry Laboratory that allows sophisticated screening of blood, saliva, sweat and urine to enable early detection of physiological abnormalities that could inhibit appropriate adaptation to training
  • Technical Workshop that allows specialised equipment to be designed and produced.  Technical accomplishments in recent years have included
    • Automated 'first-principles' system for respiratory gas analysis
    • 'State-of-the-art' treadmill control system
    • Rowing course calibration system
    • Cycle ergometer that matches the kinetic energy of road cycling
    • The BOC Altitude House that houses up to twelve athletes at a time to sleep, reside and/or train under conditions of simulated altitude. 

Our Role 

Broadly speaking the Department of Physiology performs the following roles:

  • Direct sports science support with laboratory and field-based testing and scientific activities
  • Applied research projects to enhance sports performance
  • Technology and sports science equipment development, maintenance and implementation
  • Education of coaches, athletes and scientists
  • Providing high level advice and consultation to a wide range of sports and programs in the public and private sector.

The Physiology Department is responsible for identifying and quantifying the physical and physiological characteristics that contribute to performance in particular sports, and the most effective methods of manipulating these characteristics to enhance the likelihood of success.

A key function of the Physiology Department is to monitor training sessions to allow accurate assessment of the level of stress placed on athletes. This involves the measurement of a range of physiological variables including cardiovascular, neuromuscular, hormonal, blood and performance variables. We also work with coaches, athletes and other scientists in performance monitoring in both training and competition settings.
Our commitment to applied research is provided in partnership with a number of Australian universities and several private sector companies. Our students are enrolled at the universities but spend the majority of their time at the AIS conducting applied research and working directly with elite coaches and athletes.

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