Meet our Sport and Exercise Science researchers

Our Sport and Exercise Science researchers are transforming fitness, recreation, sport and human performance, and injury prevention and recovery

Dr Haresh Suppiah

Meet Dr Haresh Suppiah (pictured above), a Lecturer and Research Fellow in Sport and Exercise Science and Sport Analytics.

“Coming from a multidisciplinary applied sport science background prior to joining academia, I enjoy exploring a variety of research topics in sport performance,” says Haresh. “This has ranged from performance and recovery physiology, sport analytics, strength and conditioning, and youth athlete development.”

While there is no shortage of research questions in sport performance, Haresh believes that integrating data science techniques in sport science research can provide new insights and support decision-making for practitioners in the field.

“I am fortunate to work with  a fantastic team of researchers that are constantly looking for novel ways to capitalize on data to produce translational research outcomes,” he says.

“Some of our recent work has resulted in the development of a decision support tool for sport scientists to identify youth athletes that are at risk of poor sleep quality, as well as the creation of an open-source statistical package to help practitioners categorize large groups of athletes by their sleep characteristics to assist practitioners with the prioritization of sleep support intervention planning. ”

Associate Professor Clare MacMahon

Meet Associate Professor Clare MacMahon, an expert in motor learning and skilled performance.

Her work focuses on the best ways to teach and develop motor skills, and on understanding what makes an expert. With this focus, her work applies to sport coaching, methods in rehabilitation, and in talent identification and development.

“My research has explored the differences between more and less successful athletes from the same talent development program, factors that influence the sports referee’s on-field decision, and how mental fatigue influences our physical performance,” she says.

A keen transdisciplinary researcher, Associate Professor MacMahon’s work is also applied to skill in complex domains such as aviation and astronomy discovery. Her interest in skill development also extends to academia, in her role as the Graduate Research Coordinator for Sport and Exercise science, where she coordinates the processes and progress for higher degree research students in the discipline.

An active leader of skill acquisition and motor learning in Australia, Associate Professor MacMahon is a founding member of the Australasian Skill Acquisition Network. La Trobe is a two-time host of the ASAN annual meeting (2021, 2022), which brings together researchers with sports coaches, and performance scientists to discuss research and practice in motor learning and sport expertise.

Dr Anthea Clarke

Meet Dr Anthea Clarke, a Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science. She researches the impact of the menstrual cycle on the performance of women athletes.

“It is important that coaching staff understand the menstrual cycle and hormonal contraceptives to better support female athletes,” says Clarke. “Training can be adjusted or a medical referral be made, for example.”

Clarke developed a short course, ‘Supporting the Female Athlete’, to address this need. “The course is aimed at coaching and support staff and covers medical and dietary considerations, training and performance, psychology and communication, strength and conditioning, and injury prevention,” she explains.

The first iteration of the course, launched in October 2021, had over 500 enrolments.

“Participants' understanding of the menstrual cycle and hormonal contraceptives improved, as did their perceived confidence in being able to have a conversation with their athletes,” says Clarke.

Learn more about the course.

Find out more about the Department of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition Sciences on the website and LinkedIn.