Professor Samuele Marcora received his Bachelor in Physical Education from the State University of Milan (Italy). He then studied for an MSc in Human Performance at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (USA), and for a PhD in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of Wales-Bangor (UK). After a successful academic career at Bangor University, Professor Marcora began his post as Director of Research at the University of Kent at the end of 2010. His role is to stimulate, coordinate, monitor and assess all research activity within the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences.
In 2006, Professor Marcora changed his research direction and decided to integrate exercise physiology with motivation psychology and cognitive neuroscience. This psychobiological approach has generated several innovative studies including the effects of mental fatigue on endurance performance and brain training for endurance athletes (Brain Endurance Training). Professor Marcora had been research consultant for MAPEI Sport Service in Italy where he contributed to highly cited research on football and mountain biking physiology.
In his spare time, Professor Marcora enjoys riding his two motorbikes. In 2013, he completed a gruelling 3-month ride from London to Beijing through Central Asia and Tibet to investigate fatigue in motorbike riders. If you are interested in Professor Marcora's research on fatigue in motorbike riders, you can listen to his recent interview on Adventure Rider Radio here.
My current research combines physiology and psychology in a truly interdisciplinary approach to investigate fatigue and endurance performance.
The ultimate goal of my research programme is to find new ways to improve performance of endurance athletes, and reduce physical and mental fatigue in a variety of populations. These populations include soldiers, motorbike riders, and patients affected by diseases such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic kidney disease.
My previous research includes research into the mechanisms, assessment and treatment of muscle wasting, and applied sports science research (e.g., football training and mountain biking).
Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository
Angius, L. et al. (2018). The Effect of Anodal Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Over Left and Right Temporal Cortex on the Cardiovascular Response: A Comparative Study. Frontiers in Physiology [Online] 9. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2018.01822.Background: Stimulation of the right and left anterior insular cortex, increases and decreases the cardiovascular response respectively, thus indicating the brain's lateralization of the neural control of circulation. Previous experiments have demonstrated that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) modulates the autonomic cardiovascular control when applied over the temporal cortex. Given the importance of neural control for a normal hemodynamic response, and the potential for the use of tDCS in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, this study investigated whether tDCS was capable of modulating autonomic regulation. Methods: Cardiovascular response was monitored during a post-exercise muscle ischemia (PEMI) test, which is well-documented to increase sympathetic drive. A group of 12 healthy participants performed a PEMI test in a control (Control), sham (Sham) and two different experimental sessions where the anodal electrode was applied over the left temporal cortex and right temporal cortex with the cathodal electrode placed over the contralateral supraorbital area. Stimulation lasted 20 min at 2 mA. The hemodynamic profile was measured during a PEMI test. The cardiovascular parameters were continuously measured with a transthoracic bio-impedance device both during the PEMI test and during tDCS. Results: None of the subjects presented any side effects during or after tDCS stimulation. A consistent cardiovascular response during PEMI test was observed in all conditions. Statistical analysis did not find any significant interaction and any significant main effect of condition on cardiovascular parameters (all ps > 0.316) after tDCS. No statistical differences regarding the hemodynamic responses were found between conditions and time during tDCS stimulation (p > 0.05). Discussion: This is the first study comparing the cardiovascular response after tDCS stimulation of left and right TC both during exercise and at rest. The results of the current study suggest that anodal tDCS of the left and right TC does not affect functional cardiovascular response during exercise PEMI test and during tDCS. In light of the present and previous findings, the effect of tDCS on the cardiovascular response remains inconclusive.
Anstiss, P. et al. (2018). Development and Initial Validation of the Endurance Sport Self-efficacy Scale (ESSES). Psychology of Sport and Exercise [Online] 38:176-183. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2018.06.015.Self-efficacy is likely to be an important psychological construct for endurance sport performance. Research into the role of self-efficacy, however, is limited as there is currently no validated measure of endurance sport self-efficacy. Consequently, the purpose of the present research was to develop and validate the Endurance Sport Self-Efficacy Scale (ESSES). In Study 1, an initial item pool was developed following a review of the literature. These items were then examined for content validity by an expert panel. In Study 2, the resultant 18 items were subjected to exploratory factor analyses. These analyses provided support for a unidimensional scale comprised of 11 items. Study 2 also provided evidence for the ESSES's convergent validity. In Study 3, using confirmatory factor analyses, further support was found for the 11-item unidimensional structure. Study 3 also provided evidence for the ESSES's convergent and concurrent validity. The present findings provide initial evidence that the ESSES is a valid and reliable measure of self-efficacy beliefs in endurance sports.
Van Cutsem, J. et al. (2018). A caffeine-maltodextrin mouth rinse counters mental fatigue. Psychopharmacology [Online] 235:947-958. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-017-4809-0.Introduction Mental fatigue is a psychobiological state caused by prolonged periods of demanding cognitive activity that has negative implications on many aspects in daily life. Caffeine and carbohydrate ingestion have been shown to be able to reduce these negative effects of mental fatigue. Intake of these substances might however be less desirable in some situations (e.g., restricted caloric intake, Ramadan). Rinsing caffeine or glucose within the mouth has already been shown to improve exercise performance. Therefore, we sought to evaluate the effect of frequent caffeine-maltodextrin (CAF-MALT) mouth rinsing on mental fatigue induced by a prolonged cognitive task. Methods Ten males (age 23?±?2 years, physical activity 7.3?±?4.3 h/week, low CAF users) performed two trials. Participants first completed a Flanker task (3 min), then performed a 90-min mentally fatiguing task (Stroop task), followed by another Flanker task. Before the start and after each 12.5% of the Stroop task (eight blocks), subjects received a CAF-MALT mouth rinse (MR: 0.3 g/25 ml CAF: 1.6g/25 ml MALT) or placebo (PLAC: 25 ml artificial saliva). Results Self-reported mental fatigue was lower in MR (p?=?0.017) compared to PLAC. Normalized accuracy (accuracy first block?=?100%) was higher in the last block of the Stroop in MR (p?=?0.032) compared to PLAC. P2 amplitude in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) decreased over time only in PLAC (p?=?0.017). Conclusion Frequent mouth rinsing during a prolonged and demanding cognitive task reduces mental fatigue compared to mouth rinsing with artificial saliva.