Gary Brickley

Favourite Thing: I enjoy testing the extremes of human performance. For example, I recently worked with Jem from Bang Goes the Theory ( to try to find out if he had the power to fly a human powered plane. The mixture of engineering, numbers but also looking at the chemistry and physics is fascinating, hence my interest in swimming and cycling.



Eastbourne Grammar School 1976-1981


University of Brighton

Work History:

Paper round, CO-OP, Grand Hotel, Royal Navy, Eastbourne beach lifeguard, University of Brighton, Queensland University of Technology , Australia, Great Britain Cycling Team Manchester and various venues around the world,


University of Brighton, based in Eastbourne on the South Coast

Current Job:

My job title is Senior Lecturer, but this involves consultancy, research and teaching. I specialise in exercise physiology, nutrition and cardiology.

Me and my work

I’m an exercise physiologist, coaching Paralympic cycling champions and trying to help heart patients reach their potential with hard exercise.

I really like my job as I can get involved in some great projects. We can look at anything from preparing someone to swim the Channel to human powered flight. My great buzz is working with athletes and specifically great Paralympic cyclists. This has taken me to some brilliant events but also maximising the potential of someone through sport is my aim. I have a great interest in the heart and we also do some brilliant work with patients with heart problems. On one study we were able to alter their pacemaker to see if they could exercise better. My teaching is enhanced through my research and work with athletes.

My Typical Day

Cycle to work, swim , look at a screen, spend some time in the labs, speak with athletes, planning.

I tend to start the day with a hard swimming session. I’m in my office around 0830 reading through semi-relevant information online. I may have a lecture in the morning and possibly a lab session in the afternoon. I will spend a couple of days a week working with an athlete in the altitude or heat chamber in preparation for an event. I tend to spend a fair amount of time talking through student projects and trying to improve the output. I will normally have 2 or 3 major projects on the go that will need writing or lab based work.

What I'd do with the money

500 Lottery tickets, seriously £250 into a local primary school science project- linked with a school in Malawi and £250 towards a national / international project.

I think it would be wise to donate some funds to a local primary school so that they can buy equipment for an ‘ interactive science week’ working with a partner school in Malawi. I would also like to use some of the money towards presenting something at a National or International Level that is relevant to the ‘I’m a scientist’, project. I guess a kind of teaching tool to make science cooler.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

untidy, patient, versatile

Would you rather be a scientist or an athlete? And why?

Scientist, being an athlete can be quite selfish, but a scientist can help lots of people. I can live my dreams through the athletes.

If you could have a body super power, what would it be and why?

Fatigue resistance, so that I could run like Forrest Gump

Which Olympic event would you most like to win? And why?

It has to be triathlon, it’s the only sport where the ability to change your clothes and shoes can be the difference between winning and losing

What did you want to be after you left school?

At 17, I joined the Royal Navy to see the world, play sport and learn a trade, I’m not sure if it was what I really wanted to do.

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Yes, but not as much trouble as the boy who didn’t like the science teacher and burned the labs down.

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

I have tested some great athletes. I really enjoyed taking chunks of muscle out of people for my PhD.

Tell us a joke.