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Introducing The New Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) At The Leicester Diabetes Centre 

Exercise equipment at LDC


The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leicester-Loughiborough, Diet Lifestyle and Physical Activity Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) has opened its doors for business to look at how physical activity, diet and lifestyle can impact upon the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases. 
Exercise lab UHLThe Research Unit Is Managed by Tim Skelton.

State of the art exercise equipment has been installed and new staff have been appointed at both the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) and Loughborough University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS).
The NIHR Leicester – Loughborough Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity BRU was awarded £4.5 million NIHR funding over five years from April 2012 plus £1.38 million capital funding by the Department of Health.
The NIHR Leicester – Loughborough Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity BRU will focus on improving health for patients with long term conditions such as diabetes by using and improving upon therapeutic lifestyle interventions. For example, these interventions could increase the amount of movement and physical activity people take part in, reduce time in sedentary behaviours, and use other approaches such as the interplay of exercise and appetite control, and minimising weight re-gain after bariatric (such as gastric band) surgery.

The important work of the BRU will be integrated with and complement the UK’s first ever National Sports and Exercise Medicine Centre of Excellence based at Loughborough University, an Olympic legacy project recently announced by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.
This new BRU is a collaboration between Loughborough University, one of the leading international institutions in exercise research, University Hospitals of Leicester and the University of Leicester. It provides an opportunity for researchers in the East Midlands to become some of the leading experts internationally in research into lifestyle, and in particular physical activity interventions to both prevent and treat diseases such as diabetes.  The funding will create nearly thirty new research posts.  

Anne Milton, Public Health Minister said: 

"We know that having a good diet and being active can help protect against heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. That’s why it's important for us to understand how diet and lifestyle can affect and perhaps treat long-term conditions. The work being carried out by NIHR Leicester-Loughborough BRU will positively benefit patients taking part in the research and will help improve the lives of those living with chronic conditions.”

Professor Dame Sally C. Davies, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Advisor, Department of Health, said:

“The world-class research undertaken in this NIHR Unit has the potential to directly benefit the health and lives of patients and will also contribute to knowledge that will improve the nation’s health. With the 2012 Olympics now underway, the national and international interest is focused on physical fitness and activity, and the opening of this Unit is particularly welcome and timely.”

Professor Melanie Davies, Professor of Diabetes and BRU Director said:

“Physical inactivity is estimated to be the fourth leading cause of death globally and our research will particularly include subjects from black and minority ethnic groups and young people at the highest risk of chronic diseases. The award of this BRU will allow us to become an International Centre of Research Excellence undertaking the full spectrum of lifestyle research which we believe will make a real difference, not only to people in the East Midlands but nationally and internationally. The award was made after an interview involving international experts from across the world including Australia, Canada, the US and Europe and was a highly competitive process. The award will mean that we will be able to attract and retain some of the leading researchers, nationally and internationally, in this area.”

Facilities at the LDC

At the Leicester Diabetes Centre we have a fully functioning exercise lab. Our state of the art equipment includes Technogym Excite Med equipment and ARKE equipment


Follow our research 

We have a dedicated website where you can follow our research and find out more about what we are currently doing. Link to the 


Getting Involved

If you would like to get involved with the BRU or just want to know more please register using the contact form by following the link.