A second-year Sport and Exercise Science student has returned from a two week-long trip in Brazil where she participated in a study on exercise performance.

Twenty-year-old India Middlebrook from Southport is in her second year of study for her undergraduate degree and arrived back in the UK on Sunday (8 September).

Sport and Exercise student India Middlebrook from Edge Hill University taking blood from a participant in the study in Brazil

The research trip, funded by Edge Hill’s Student Opportunity Fund, saw India being based at the University of São Paulo.

She said: “I’ll be writing my dissertation next year so this was an incredible opportunity for me, not only being able to see how they collected the data, as I’ll be using similar methods and equipment in my research, but being able to do it at such an esteemed university on the other side of the world. It’s something I would never have had the chance to do otherwise.”

India was directly involved in the data collection for the study by taking blood from individuals who participated in the project.

The study investigated the influence ingesting sodium bicarbonate in different forms had on the pharmacokinetic profile of blood bicarbonate and pH responses over a six-hour period. Blood bicarbonate is a physiological buffer – it can alter acidity levels, which, when increased via supplementation, can improve exercise performance.

Her professor, Dr Lars McNaughton, Associate Head of Sport and Physical Activity, said: “The Student Opportunity Fund is an invaluable gateway for students to explore, study and hone their expertise outside of usual learning environments.

“India is an excellent student who has definitely made the most of the trip, working with peers in another continent. I look forward to welcoming her back to Edge Hill to begin the next part of her degree in preparation for her career with the experience she has gained.”

As well as participating in the research, India has also had chance to see a muscle biopsy, muscle ultrasound and has worked closely with other students during her time there.

Sport and Exercise student India Middlebrook from Edge Hill University presenting to peers at the University of São Paulo

India added: “I’ve always enjoyed sport so to be able to study the subject and the science that underpins performance is of great interest to me.

“Everyone in the department was so welcoming to me during my stay in Brazil and I’ve had the most amazing time.” 

Now India’s returned from Brazil, she’ll be focusing on preparing for her thesis and own research, using similar supplements to the ones that are used in the lab in São Paulo.

Edge Hill’s Student Opportunity Fund gives students of all levels the chance to gain career-enhancing experiences and transferable skills. Find out you can apply for financial support from the Student Opportunity Fund here https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/scholarships/student-opportunity-fund/