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Durham University

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Dr Karen Hind, PhD

Contact Dr Karen Hind (email at


Dr Karen Hind was appointed to the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences in September 2018 as Assistant Professor and is Chair of the Departmental Research Ethics Committee.

Following a Doctoral Fellowship in the School of Medicine, University of Leeds, she was awarded her PhD in 2005. Her PhD research was the first to demonstrate a similar risk for bone density deficits in men and women elite long distance runners, with shared risk factors including high running volume, relative energy deficit and low body fat.

She was appointed as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Leeds Institute for Genetics, Health and Therapeutics, University of Leeds in 2005 and contributed to studies in childhood obesity and bone health in cystic fibrosis while also serving as a Knowledge Transfer Expert for the School of Health. In 2007 she joined Leeds Beckett University, where as Senior Research Fellow, she established and led the Bone and Body Composition Research Group and dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) imaging unit, facilitating university and externally funded research into obesity, athlete health and musculoskeletal conditions. In 2016, she was awarded the University Mid Career Research Prize for her research into exercise and musculoskeletal health.

Karen is a Certified Clinical Densitometrist and a member of Leadership Committee of the International Society for Clinical Densitometry (ISCD) - a multidisciplinary organisation dedicated to advancing excellence in the assessment of skeletal health, and which partners with the International Osteoporosis Foundation for training provision and educational campaigns. She currently serves as Chair for the UK-Ireland ISCD Panel and delivers on national training courses in densitometry.

She is an Honorary Fellow at Newcastle University and Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Medicine, Trinity College, University of Dublin. Karen is also Associate Editor for Plos One, grant reviewer for the National Institute for Health Research and Hong Kong Health Bureau, and Expert Evaluator for the European Cooperation in Science and Technology Association.

Research Interests

Karen’s research spans two themes: 1) musculoskeletal health across the lifespan, particularly osteoporosis and the effects of exercise on MSK outcomes, and 2) current and retired athlete health.

Her ongoing research in musculoskeletal health and ageing includes a novel exercise and nutrition trial aiming to improve bone and muscle strength in older women (ELDAS - trial registration - ISRCTN12419961). She is a member of the Newcastle Thousand Families Study team, and is leading the age 62 y wave investigations into life course risk factors for osteoporosis, fracture and osteoarthritis. Karen is also a co-investigator on an NIHR funded-study into microRNA involvement in musculoskeletal ageing.

Karen leads the multi-disciplinary UK Rugby Health Project and co-leads the Global Rugby Health Research Network - a consortium dedicated to improving knowledge on the long term health of retired rugby players comprising of over 100 researchers across 9 countries. This joint initiative with Auckland University of Technology's Professor Patria Hume and Dr Doug King, was founded in response to calls for collaborative international efforts to address athlete wellbeing. Collaborative institutions include the University of Sydney, Harvard University, the University of Regina, University of Victoria and Trinity College Dublin. One of the key topics of research is mild traumatic brain injury in sports and efforts are underway to understand how sub/concussive trauma affects the brain both acutely and in the longer term. 

With Visiting Fellow Dr Nicola Keay, Karen is also co-leading research into relative energy deficit and the effects on bone, body composition and performance in elite cyclists (funded by the British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine).

Her work has contributed to national and international guidance and official reports including the National Institute for Clinical Excellence and the International Osteoporosis Foundation. Her methodology-based work includes best practice recommendations for the acquisition and interpreting of DXA scans.

Karen enjoys public engagement and is regularly invited to communicate research and expertise through keynotes and guest lectures, patient group meetings, school outreach and through the media, with recent contributions to BBC Trust me I'm a DoctorThe One Show and The Truth about Menopause.

PhD Students

If you are interested in studying for a PhD or Masters of Research with Karen's supervision, she would be pleased to hear from you. Previous students have achieved highly ranked publications and international Young Investigator Awards.

Current and previous doctoral students include:

Ian Entwistle - Musculoskeletal and Neuromuscular Health in Retired Rugby Players: the UK Rugby Health Project

Cliodyna McHugh - Cardiometabolic Profile and Risk Factors in Professional Male Rugby Players

Lawrence Mayhew - Neuromuscular Risk Factors for Injury in Elite Female Football Players

Ian O'Sullivan - Understanding Factors Affecting Running Economy

Ashley Jones -Lean Tissue Mass, Muscle Function and Subsequent Injury Risk in Professional English Football Players

Mathew Butterworth - Healthy Ageing and Interventions for the Prevention and Management of Sarcopenia

Dr Lisa Gannon - Bone Health in High Performance Male Gymnasts from Age 5 y to Senior Level

(Advisor) Matthew Lees - The Effects of Age and Physical (in)activity on the Anabolic Resistance to Essential Amino Acids in Older Adults

Research Interests

  • Athlete health
  • Bone
  • Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA)
  • Exercise and bone health
  • Fracture
  • Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Musculoskeletal Health
  • Obesity
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
  • Sport and exercise medical science
  • Sport Injury Epidemiology
  • Stress Fracture
  • Visceral fat

Indicators of Esteem

  • 2018: Adjunct Fellow, School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin:
  • 2018: Chair of ISCD UK-Ireland Panel:
  • 2011: Honorary Fellow, Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University: 2011 - present

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

  • Forsyth, Jacky & Hind, Karen (2018). Bone Health and the Exercising Female. In The Exercising Female: Science and Its Application. Forsyth, Jacky & Roberts, Claire-Marie Abingdon, Oxon New York, NY: Routledge. 85-99.

Journal Article

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Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Medical and health research topics:
  • Obesity:
  • Public policy, health and well-being: