Fast Five With Jack Talbot

Jack Talbot

Postdoctoral researcher, Dr Jack Talbot, has recently joined our Cardiometabolic Health and Exercise Physiology (CHEP) lab. He moved to Australia in December, leaving behind the lush countryside of Devon, where he grew up, and Cardiff, where he went to university. He and his wife are now enjoying a slightly warmer climate living by the beach in Melbourne’s Bayside suburbs, hunting out the best coffee places in Victoria and pursuing greater understanding of cerebrovascular function and physical activity.

How did you find out about this position and what role did your networks play?

I initially came across an advertisement for a Research Assistant role in the CHEP lab on X last year while I was preparing for my PhD defence. I decided to email A/Prof. Erin Howden to see if any postdoc opportunities were coming up in the lab and luckily for me there was a position advertised a few weeks later. So, in the space of a few months I got married, finished my PhD and packed my bags to begin a new job on the other side or the world. It’s been a busy year!

You’re looking at cardiotoxicity and cerebrovascular function and risk of stroke after cancer. Tell us more?

I find the dynamic and integrative control of cerebral blood flow in humans fascinating, but it can be disastrous when it goes wrong in an acute setting, and heartbreaking when it causes the brain to deteriorate during old age. So, I’m passionate about improving our understanding of how lifestyle and pharmacological interventions can be tailored to optimise cerebrovascular function across the lifespan.

You completed your PhD at Cardiff Metropolitan University last year. What was the focus of this work?

My PhD focussed on investigating the developmental trajectory of cerebrovascular function across childhood and adolescence, and whether exercise training modulates cerebrovascular function during these key periods of neural development. However, I was fortunate enough to also get involved in research looking at the influence of exercise training on arterial stiffness and autonomic function in healthy adults, as well the influence of implantable device pacing strategies of cardiac function in heart failure patients.

We understand that in 2020, the Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences successfully achieved the University’s first departmental Athena SWAN Silver award in recognition of its commitment to advancing gender equity. You’ve joined our Gender Equity and Diversity Committee (GEDC), what are some of the successful initiatives that the Cardiff School developed?

I’m very proud to have been part of the Athena Swan committee at Cardiff Metropolitan University and I’m really looking forward to contributing to the Baker Institute’s GEDC. We developed an Institutional Women’s Network in Cardiff which worked as both an informal way for scientists and lecturers to share their experiences of career disruptions and barriers and how they may have overcome these issues. Likewise, the network led to more formal mechanisms including a ‘Classroom to Professor’ initiative that aimed to increase the rate of successful professorial applications from female employees at the university and address the gender imbalance at senior research positions.

You work in physical activity research, how do you keep fit?

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