Donation leads to new post in life-changing disability research

The University has appointed the first research fellow for a new Centre that aims to change lives through its research into disability, physical activity and health.

Jean-Philippe Walhin has been appointed as the Susan Whorrod Research Fellow of the Centre of Excellence for DisAbility Sport & Health (DASH) which was launched earlier this year.

Based on Bath's Claverton Campus, the Centre has been inspired by the University's Paralympic legacy to carry out life-changing research into disability, physical activity and health.

It has been supported by significant gifts from University of Bath alumni and friends, including Susan Whorrod who made a donation of £250,000.

Susan and her husband Roger have a long standing relationship with the University. Roger is one of Bath’s earliest graduates and recently donated a gift worth £1 million to provide a huge boost to the University’s research into sustainable chemical technologies

Susan was inspired to support the DASH Centre following a careering in nursing, working both as a front line nursing sister and a nursing manager. She was often confronted by the health problems facing people with disabilities and tried hard to alleviate their problems.

Researchers at the Centre will investigate the role of physical activity in maintaining health among disabled groups. Evidence suggests that spinal cord injured paraplegics have a 60 per cent increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and a 400 per cent higher risk of developing Type-2 diabetes. It is not clear whether this risk is an inherent consequence of their disability or related to a less active lifestyle.

By better understanding the amount and type of physical activity carried out by manual wheelchair users in the general public, they will be able to design interventions to enhance the health of disabled people. This cutting-edge project will explore an area of disability health in which there has been little previous research.

Jean-Philippe joined the University of Bath seven years ago as a Research Officer on a project jointly funded by the University and the British Heart Foundation that investigated the effect of diet and exercise in Type 2 Diabetes.

He said: "This fellowship is a fantastic opportunity to apply the expertise I have gained while working within the Department for Health to the wider disabled population thanks to Susan Whorrods' very generous donation. It will enable us to investigate the biological mechanisms by which physical activity protects against chronic disease. This is a fantastic opportunity to apply our existing expertise and knowledge in the area and translate this to the wider disabled population."

Susan and Roger Whorrod said they were impressed by the ideas and enthusiasm for the new Centre.

Sue said: "Having meet Jean-Philippe we are convinced that, not only will he carry out excellent research, but he will also be a very good ambassador for the University and we look forward to following his work."

Bookmark with:

What is this?

We are one of the UK's leading universities with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. Our Mission is to deliver world class research and teaching, educating our graduates to become future leaders and innovators, and benefiting the wider population through our research, enterprise and influence. Our courses are innovative and interdisciplinary and we have an outstanding record of graduate employment.