The Department for Health’s Dr Oly Perkin has been appointed as the new Medlock Research Fellow. The position is designed to enhance Bath’s research alongside external health and social care partners.

The three-year post, which started in January 2023, has been established thanks to a generous gift of just over £200,000 from the Medlock Charitable Trust.

Through its focus on improving the health and care of older adults, Dr Perkin’s research will support the University’s partnership with Bath’s Royal United Hospital (RUH). He will work alongside Professor Fiona Gillison, Professor Dylan Thompson, and Dr Max Western, and will align with the University’s interdisciplinary Healthy Later Living Network.

Oly’s research aims to develop practical, cost effective, and implementable interventions to maintain and improve physical function in older adult patients during hospital stays and on return to the community.

There is mounting evidence that even minimal ‘doses’ of simple, safe exercise can have enormous benefits for muscle strength and function, particularly in patients at risk of frailty associated with hospital admissions and longer length of hospital stay.

Oly’s background is in exercise physiology, principally focussing on the crucial role that exercise and nutrition play in maintaining muscle health in older adults.

His work explores how zero-cost ‘exercise snacking’ can prevent loss of strength in later years of life, which is the foundation to maintaining independence and well-being in older adults.

Speaking about the appointment, Oly said:

I am hugely grateful to the Medlock Charitable Trust for supporting this fellowship. With the NHS facing unprecedented challenges, particularly in the care of older people, we must develop innovative and sustainable strategies to improve health in our ageing population.

Professor Gillison said:

This fellowship is a great opportunity to expand some of our interdisciplinary research while extending our partnership with the RUH, and to scale up early-phase research into competitive leading studies.

David Medlock, Chair of the Medlock Charitable Trust, said:

The Medlock Charitable Trust are a longstanding partner of the University. Their previous gifts have supported Fellowships in the areas of Disability, Sport and Health and Clinical Exercise Rehabilitation, impacting on the lives of those with disabilities and spinal cord injuries.