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Research Dashboard
Lifetime Achievement Award
Professor Timothy Noakes has steadily built an
international reputation in the area of sports science,
biokinetics, and sports medicine. His research has not
only challenged established dogma in the area of
exercise and sports training, but also broken new
ground in our understanding of human physiology
and endurance.
The work of Professor Noakes and his research group
has influenced a number of areas of endurance sport.
For example, his recommendations have led to changes
in practice regarding fluid ingestion. This and his other
work led to the awarding of the Lifetime Achievement
in Marathon Sports Medicine Research Award by the
International Marathon Medical Directors Association
in 2009, and resulted in the publication of his book
Waterlogged: The Serious Problem of Over-Hydration
on Endurance Sports
, the culmination of 30 years of
research that controversially exposes the false science
advocated by the sports-drink industry in the USA in
the marketing of their products, and examines the
serious medical condition known as exercise-associated
hyponatraemia, a condition first described and causation
determined by Professor Noakes.
A noteworthy focus of his work has been on the Central
Governor Theory of Fatigue during Exercise, which
posits that the brain regulates exercise, controlling
physical activity so that its intensity cannot threaten
the body’s homeostasis (internal stability) by causing
ischaemic damage to the heart or other organs. This
work led to a series of articles in the
British Journal
of Sports Medicine
in 2005. His most recent article
on this topic has attracted close to 7 000 Internet
views, one of the highest for any article published in
Frontiers of Physiology
Professor Noakes began teaching of the sports sciences
at UCT in 1981 and has supervised or co-supervised 77
MSc, MPhil, MD, and PhD graduates at UCT in areas such
as sports medicine, exercise science, and physiology. He
also founded the UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise
and Sports Medicine, one of the longest-standing research
units of the Medical Research Council. He also co-founded
the Sports Science Institute of South Africa.
Professor Noakes has been a National Research Foundation
A1-rated scientist since 2004. He maintains an H-index of
59 and his work has attracted well over 12 000 citations. He
has authored/co-authored more than 80 book chapters,
as well as over 425 internationally peer-reviewed articles
in journals such as the
New England Journal of Medicine
International Journal of Sports Medicine
, and the
Medical Journal
. He also currently serves on the editorial
boards of 16 international journals.
He received the Citation Award from the American
College of Sports Medicine in 1996, was elected founder
member of the International Olympic Committee Science
Academy in 1999, received the International Cannes
Grand Prix Award for Research in Medicine and Water
in 2001, and was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by
the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine in the UK
in 2008. In 2011, he received an honorary doctorate
from the Vrije University in Amsterdam. He is a Visiting
Professor in Neuroscience and Biomedical Systems at
the University of Glasgow, and in Sports Medicine at Sri
Ramachandra University in India. In 2008, in recognition
of his ‘excellent contribution to the field of sport and the
science of physical exercise’, he was awarded the Order of
Mapungubwe (Silver) by President Thabo Mbeki.
He is currently director of the UCT/MRC Research Unit
for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine and Discovery
Health Chair of Exercise and Sports Science at UCT.
A veteran of more than 70 marathons and ultra-
marathons, Professor Noakes authored the book
of Running
(1985), which is now in its fourth edition.
The book, which is regarded as a runner’s ’bible‘,
draws on his research to explore the physiology of
training, temperature regulation, ergogenic aids, injury
prevention and treatment, and challenges much of
the commonly held assumptions about running. His
recently released autobiography,
Challenging Beliefs:
Memoirs of a Career
describes the significant themes
and achievements in his scientific career.
Professor Timothy Noakes