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The Team

Dr Sally Clark - Head of Physiology (A/g)

Dr Sally Clark - Senior Sports Physiologist


  • Master of Science (Exercise Metabolism)
  • Bachelor applied Science (Human movement)

Sally is a Sport Scientist with a professional interest in muscle metabolism in response to different interventions including hypoxic exposure and short-term intensified training. Sally's other area of interest is cell signalling.


Prof. David Pyne - Senior Sports Physiologist

Prof David Pyne - Research Professor (AIS-University of Canberra) 

David has 30 years’ experience at the AIS and is currently employed as a research professor in a conjoint position with the University of Canberra.

His primary research interests are in:

  • exercise and the immune system
  • environmental physiology
  • the applied physiology of swimming and
  • fitness and conditioning for team sports.

David has broad experience with a range of sports including:

  • Swimming
  • Paralympic Swimming
  • Basketball
  • Rugby Sevens
  • Australian Football and
  • Cricket.

He has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers. He was Foundation Editor of the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance from 2004-2009 and currently serves as a Consulting Editor.

"Working as a sport scientist has allowed me to make worthwhile contributions to individual athletes and coaches, teams, and national sporting organisations.  The breadth and depth of programs and dedicated staff at the AIS have always made it a great place to work. National and international collaborations with like-minded researchers are also stimulating."

Dr Tony Rice - Senior Sports Physiologist

Dr Tony Rice - Senior Sports Physiologist

Tony has worked at the AIS since 2001 and full-time with Rowing since 2003. He has attended the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games with the Australian Rowing Team as well as being a part of Senior National Team touring since 2003. Since Rio 2016 Tony has moved into the Pathways / Development stream focusing on leading the science of rowing in the Junior and U23 age groups

Tony has helped design and implement many key technologies for rowing with the major inclusion being the Catapult Sports produced Minimaxx GPS system. The original prototypes were developed through a partnership between the Australian Government and the Australian Institute of Sport but since 2007 the units have been manufactured by Catapult Sports; a spin-off company from the original prototype group. The GPS systems are now used worldwide across many different sports including rowing, canoe-kayak, AFL football, soccer and NFL football.

Research is a strong aspect of Tony’s science delivery into Australian Rowing. Current research interest of Rowing Australia includes; quantification of training load and training adaptations, fatigue states, oxygen delivery including hypoxia and hyperoxia, resting metabolic rate, training periodisation and more recently the design and implementation of Australia’s next generation boat / athlete monitoring system. Tony has supervised a number of Ph.D students embedded within rowing at the AIS / National Training Centre in Canberra and ensures outcomes from the high performance applied research stream are implemented throughout the national high performance and Pathways systems.

Dr Philo Saunders - Senior Sports Physiologist

Dr Philo Saunders - Senior Physiologist 

Philo started at the AIS in 2001 as a PhD Scholar with athletics after completing a Bachelor of Applied Science at RMIT University and Honours at the University of Melbourne. Philo became a Senior Physiologist in 2007 and has worked closely with Athletics, Swimming and Modern Pentathlon.

His areas of expertise, in which he has performed extensive research and published widely, include:

  • altitude training;
  • heat training;
  • endurance training; and
  • running mechanics.

Philo has been a top ranked middle distance runner in Australia over the past decade and is a middle distance running coach. He has been the Australian Team middle distance coach since 2013 at all major international competitions for both Para and Able Body Athletics.

Working at the AIS provides constant opportunities to learn and be inspired by athletes and staff. The ability to play a role in athletes achieving great performances is very rewarding and makes working at the AIS extremely enjoyable.”

Hamilton Lee - Senior Sports Physiologist

Hamilton Lee - Senior Physiologist 

• Master of Applied Science UC
• Bachelor of Sports Science (Exc Sci major) UNSW
• ISAK Level 3 (Instructor level) Accredited Anthropometrist

Despite over 20 years of experience working alongside some of Australia’s best coaches, athletes and support teams, Hamilton is still passionate about helping our athletes as they strive to achieve success at the highest level of competition.

"I love the process of trying to translate the wealth of knowledge, expertise and experience at the AIS to positively influence the performance of our athletes and their programs. My job means I am constantly learning and involves working closely with some very talented and passionate people which is one of the privileges of working at the AIS. Ultimately it is the thrill of watching our athletes compete on the World stage that most excites me about working in elite sport."

Dr Dale Chapman - Senior Sports Physiologist

Dr Dale Chapman - Senior Physiologist 

Dale W Chapman PhD, CSCS is a Senior Physiologist in the Physiology department of the AIS and is currently assigned to the Olympic and Paralympic Winter high performance sport programs.

He began with the AIS in 2007 and received his doctorate in 2008 from Edith Cowan University following a series of studies investigating exercise-induced muscle damage and the influence of contraction velocity. Dale has been fortunate to be an Australian Olympic team member at two Olympic Winter games (2010 and 2014) working across the sliding sports of luge, bobsleigh and skeleton.

Dale maintains a research focus on applied sports research that leads to practical solutions to problems that are limiting an athlete’s performance or their development into elite athletes. Primarily this is in the broad area of muscle physiology and includes neuromuscular fatigue and adaptation, exercise induced muscle damage, applied physiology of strength and conditioning, tendon and muscle response to training, postural control and balance, athlete and special population characterisation.

Dr Nicola Bullock - Senior Sports Physiologist

Dr Nicola Bullock - Senior Physiologist 

Nicole is the Performance Support Manager for the Sprint Kayak high performance program at the AIS.

"Working alongside highly motivated athletes and colleagues where excellence is the norm rather than the exception.  As a team, applying lateral thinking to a question/problem to often come out with a left of centre answer that can be adapted or applied within the high performance environment."

Dr Eric Haakonssen - Senior Sports Physiologist

Dr Eric Haakonssen - Senior Physiologist 

Eric is a Senior Physiologist and his PhD research background is the quantification of energy expenditure in road cyclists, monitoring and manipulating body composition and calcium homeostasis.

More recently, as a Sport Science Coordinator of Cycling Australia's BMX High Performance Unit, Eric has developed expertise in strength and power assessment, performance analysis and kinematics of BMX performance. He has continued interest in better understanding neuromuscular physiology and adaptations to training stimuli as well the quantification of training load resulting from highly stochastic and primarily anaerobic training methods.

"Frankly, I like sport and I like working with a team that's trying to be the best. High Performance Sport allows me to be part of a team that seeks excellence in their respective fields. It allows me to interact with a broad range of academics, athletes and coaches in both a research and applied settings and in environments that challenge both hard and soft skills."

Dr Tom Vandenbagaerde - Senior Sports Physiologist

Dr Tom Vandenbagaerde - Senior Physiologist 

Tom Vandenbogaerde has more than ten years of experience working as a right-hand person to elite level swim coaches.

He has been part of the New Zealand Olympic Team in Beijing and London, and of the New Zealand Swim Team at all World Championships, Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Games from 2007 to 2014.

In 2015, he took on an amazing opportunity at the AIS, to work with key swim programs on the Gold Coast. Tom has also been a staff member at National Team Camps for Swimming Australia, including the final preparation camp for the Rio Olympic Games, where the team finished ranked second on the medal table, with 10 medals including three Gold.

Tom is passionate about thinking, planning, coaching, challenging, collaborating and delivering purposeful sport science support. In 2010, he graduated with a PhD under supervision of world renowned sport scientist and statistics Professor Will Hopkins.

"I really enjoy working for the AIS, especially because of the opportunity to work with passionate, experienced and hardworking coaches in Australia, and the vast learning and collaboration opportunity with so many experts across the different disciplines in our system."

Dr Laura Lewis - Post doctorate Fellow

Dr Laura Lewis - Postdoctoral Research Fellow 


  • PhD Exercise Physiology, AIS / Flinders University, Adelaide
  • BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science, University of Birmingham, UK

Laura's applied research is in the theme of altitude training, pacing and oxygen transport regulation. She also provides physiological support for athletes engaged in altitude training

Laura's professional interests include:

  • altitude training
  • haematological adaptations to training and stress
  • iron deficiency

Nicole Townsend - Laboratory Manager

Nicole Townsend - Laboratory Manager 

Nicole joined the AIS Physiology Discipline in 2007 and is the Laboratory Manager, who's responsible for coordinating the operational functions of the Physiology Laboratory, Biochemistry/haematology Laboratory, AIS Altitude House, and AIS Recovery Centre.  This includes managing quality assurance and work health and safety standards, asset management, implementing information and data management systems, coordinating laboratory induction and training, and establishing a project management framework to support research.

It is a pleasure to support the people who support Australian athletic champions, and a privilege to be a part of world class, innovative team."

Dr Nicolin Tee - Science Adviser

Dr. Nicolin Tee - Science Adviser

Nicolin Tee joined the physiology discipline at the AIS in 2016. He currently runs the Haematology/Biochemistry laboratory, collaborating with researchers in Physiology, Sports Nutrition and Sports Medicine. Prior to moving into the sports and exercise field Nicolin's research interests were in tissue engineering of skeletal muscle.

"The AIS is an inspirational place to work due, not only to the commitment and work ethic shown by the athletes but also the passion and drive of the staff working to assist the athletes in reaching their goals."

Jamie Plowman - Senior Technical Officer

Jamie Plowman - Senior Technical Officer 

Jamie is responsible for the technical administration of the AIS exercise physiology laboratory. He designs, constructs and maintains many of the systems required to establish a world class exercise physiology testing laboratory. Working within the framework of the National Sport Science Quality Assurance Program he performs a schedule of calibration services both within our laboratory and for external clients nationally. In addition to ensuring a safe, reliable, accurate and innovative working environment, he also provides a technical mentoring role and assist with research planning.

"In this support role I contribute a technical dimension to our department. Cutting edge science typically requires a strong technical foundation and my work here continues a long tradition of technical staff who have strived to make this a world class facility."

Kate Fuller - National Manager Quality Assurance

Kate Fuller - AIS' National Quality Assurance Manager.

Kate's professional details can be found here.

Leslee Zaja - Administrative Coordinator

Leslee Zaja - Administrative Coordinator 

Leslee is responsible for the day to day coordination of the Discipline’s administrative requirements including; monitoring of the budget, financial management including invoices, requests for payment, project budgets, and the acquittal of corporate credit cards.  She also provides support to the Head of Discipline, Senior Physiologists, the Lab Manager, PhD Scholars and Post Grad Scholars. 

Leslee began working at the ASC in 2006 and has had experience in a number of areas including; coaching and officiating, funding and management of the EITAAP Program before moving to work in the Performance Research Area. 

"I am constantly inspired and motivated by the people I work with.  I have a strong belief in the work of the AIS and believe its contribution to Australian Sport is unrivalled."

Alannah McKay - PhD Scholar

Alannah McKay - PhD Scholar

In 2015 Alannah was an AIS Occupational Trainee and then went on to receive first class Honours from the University of Western Australia. Alannah commenced a PhD in 2017 in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Sport, the University of Western Australia, and the Western Australian Institute of Sport. Alannah’s research focuses on the influence of carbohydrate manipulation in elite athletes and the subsequent influence on iron metabolism and immune functioning.  Other research interests include iron supplementation and the physiology of endurance performance.

Working in a high performance sporting environment as an occupational trainee sparked my initial interest in conducting research. Since then, the Physiology team has continuously supported my development as a scientist. I am very privileged to be working with experts across different disciplines, allowing me to conduct high quality research.

Alice Wallett - PhD Scholar

Alice Wallett – PhD Scholar

Alice is a Canberra local who studied a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science at University of Canberra prior to working as an AIS Postgraduate Scholar in Physiology in 2016. During this time she worked with many sporting camps and teams preparing for the upcoming Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games, alongside completing and graduating with First Class Honours. Alice commenced her PhD at the AIS in conjunction with University of Canberra early this year investigating the effects of exercise intensity and heat on athlete gut health and immune function. Her research involves exploring and quantifying the underlying mechanisms of gut permeability and inflammatory responses to exercising in hot environments. Alice aims to continue working in high performance sport following the completion of her PhD.

I am fortunate to work with such an experienced, easy going and intelligent team in Physiology at AIS. I feel privileged to work alongside some of the world’s best in sports science on a day to day basis across all high performance disciplines. I love being given the opportunity to get involved in a wide variety of research and servicing, and I am always being challenged to be my best.

Avish Sharma - PhD Scholar

Avish Sharma - PhD Scholar 

Avish started with Physiology as an Occupational Trainee in 2014 after completing his honours at the University of Adelaide. He took a liking to environmental physiology, and so in 2015, commenced his PhD in conjunction with the University of Canberra focusing on altitude training for endurance athletes (following in the footsteps of a distinguished list of AIS altitude researchers), specifically looking at optimising training periodisation and prescription around exposures.

Other interests include dietary periodisation and enhancing adaptation with hot/cold exposure around training. He has predominantly worked with runners, race-walkers, and swimmers, and hopes to continue with research and DTE involvement into the next Olympic cycle.

The AIS provides many opportunities for collaboration within and across disciplines, throughout the state institutes, and with sports directly. Collaborative projects I’ve participated in are always beneficial and enjoyable. Working with people who share a passion for helping athletes perform at their best, within an inclusive, supportive and fun workplace is outstanding.”

Emily Dunn - PhD Scholar

Emily Dunn - PhD Scholar 

Emily graduated from James Cook University with First Class Honours in 2013, and has spent the last three years completing her PhD in the AIS Physiology Department and the AIS Combat Centre, in conjunction with the Edith Cowan University.

Her research interests include the effect of fatigue on boxing performance, performance testing in amateur boxing and behaviour change in boxing competition. Emily has worked with Boxing Australia coaches and athletes throughout her candidature.

Finn Marsland - PhD Scholar

Finn Marsland - PhD Scholar 

Finn's research interest is in performance analysis in cross country skiing. Finn has a Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) from the University of Melbourne and was the head coach for Cross Country Skiing and Ski & Snowboard Australia 1999-2016.

"I love the passion for sport that exists within the physiology department and all the other sections of AIS sports science, and really appreciate the willingness of people to share knowledge and assist sports regardless of where they sit within the Australian sporting hierarchy."

Henry Brown - PhD Scholar

Henry Brown - PhD Scholar 

Henry graduated from the University of Western Australia with First Class Honours in 2014 for his thesis investigating the use of soft sand training to reduce musculoskeletal loading in team sport athletes. He is currently completing his PhD in partnership between the AIS, the University of Western Australia and Australian Canoeing developing an optimised protocol for a novel ergogenic aid.

Henry is based at the AIS Pizzey Park where he provides physiology support to the Australian Canoeing high performance sprint kayak program in their daily training environment.

The great thing about the AIS is that it offers a mixture between world class facilities and other researchers who are leaders in their fields, while working with the sport provides an opportunity to be a part of a team all working together to achieve the same goal.”

Michael Davies - PhD Scholar

Michael Davies - PhD Scholar 

Michael's area of research is in developing an understanding of how athletes can make use of their metabolic reserve; a kind of ‘energy reservoir’ above their perceived maximal capacity which is rarely accessed during competition. 

To achieve this, Michael’s PhD research is focused on providing endurance cyclists with supplemented oxygen (hyperoxia, 35%) and exploring the influence of various forms of feedback that may alter exercise regulation in self-paced time-trials.  Other areas of interest include optimising training distribution in endurance performance, and the periodisation of psychological skills across the training season.

Rachel Gale - PhD Scholar

Rachel Gale - PhD Scholar 

Graduating with First Class Honours from Charles Sturt University in 2014, Rachel moved to Canberra in 2015 to commence her PhD at the AIS in conjunction with the University of Canberra. Rachel’s PhD involves exploring and enhancing opportunities for team sport athletes to take part in short-term heat training programs.

Her other research interests include physical preparation, performance recovery, load and fatigue management in team sports. Rachel hopes to continue working in high performance sport upon completion of her PhD.

"I love being a part of such a fun, enthusiastic and supportive team here in Physiology. As a young researcher, I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to learn and be challenged from the very best in the world across a wide range of sports science disciplines."

Steven Hughes - PhD Scholar

Steven Hughes - PhD Scholar

Steven completed his First Class Honours at the University of Sydney in 2014 before moving to Canberra to complete a one year post graduate scholarship in Physiology. In 2016 he began his PhD on Fatigue management and Athlete Readiness in conjunction with AIS and Edith Cowan University which focused on improving methods of fatigue measurement in athletes to assist planning and periodisation. His other areas of interest are research to progress novel sports, team sports, and strength and conditioning.

Conducting research as a part of AIS Physiology enables you to work closely with a large number of Physiologists who can provide different perspectives on a single project. I believe the ideas that come out of these collaborations are the reason Physiology continues to produce ground-breaking research in sport science and the benefits of working alongside these researchers is extraordinary.

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