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Dr James Hobkirk

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James Hobkirk

Lecturer in Physiology & Pathophysiology & Honorary Medical Scientist

Biography I received my PhD, entitled Hypertriglyceridaemia, small dense low-density lipoproteins and cardio-metabolic risk stratification in paediatric obesity, in 2011 from Leeds Beckett University.

I started my academic journey/career in the academic unit of Cardiology, under the mentorship of Professor John GF Cleland. I managed a BHF funded study (£50,000) investigating the acute effects of hypoxia on haemodynamic and cardiac function in chronic heart failure. This was a much asked question by patients and simply couldn’t be answered by clinicians because of the lack of evidence. I quickly learnt the requirement for evidenced based medicine. I successfully completed the project with two published manuscripts and the establishment of clinical guidance that patients are directly benefitting from (i.e. patients enjoying holidays in their retirement).

I was subsequently appointed as clinical trial manager for the Department of Academic Cardiology at HUTH. My responsibility was to facilitate and manage numerous phase III clinical trials of medicinal products and medical devices. My responsibilities included completing regulatory submissions and approvals (NHS REC, MHRA), cost modelling and R&D compliance. I was also responsible for coordinating trials to completion (data collection and report writing). In particular, I was the National Clinical Trial Project Manager (2010-2012) for an EU funded (£13.7 million) study assessing a system’s BIOlogy Study to TAilored Treatment in Chronic Heart Failure (BIOSTAT-CHF) https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/242209

I an honorary medical scientist in the Department of Cardiology & Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Hull University Teaching Hospital NHS Trust. I have contributed to various institutional committees (Athena Swann & Human Tissue Authority working group for UoH Research BioBank.
I represent the Faculty of Health Sciences at Senate.

I have strong commercial partners, one which is an official provider of Nutritional services to NHS https://oviva.com/uk/en/. We are currently exploring a digitally delivered nutritional programme for diabetes remission in 1000 patients from Humber and East Yorkshire. This is funded through the UK Department of Health.

I am part of the UK National Cardiac Surgery Nutritional Trials Initiative in nutritional prehabilitation funded through the National Institutes of Health Research.

I am co-principal investigator on a large nutritional screening programme in CVD patients awaiting surgery. Our aim is to identify patients at nutritional risk early to allow for nutritional optimisation prior to surgery. In conjunction with my dietician and surgeon colleagues, we will be comparing a number of screening tools (MUST, diet quality screeners etc vs blood biomarkers and functional tests (body composition and grip strength). This study is unique that it involves trainee dieticians, and they are able to utilise the project and data for work placement and final projects. This project will be starting in Q3 of 2023.

I am very much interested in modulating the gut microbiome through a prebiotic approach, thereby increasing the abundance and diversity of microbes in the gut. In that regard I have a strong partnership with a commercial company (Optiobiotix PLC) who specialises in the microbiome and have developed a good array of products including Well Biome, Sweet Biome, Chol Biome, and Lean Biome.
I will be testing the effects of WellBiome on cardiac surgical outcomes following a pre-operative 6-week nutritional intervention. This project will be starting in Q3 of 2023.

I am a recipient of a small British Heart Foundation grant investigating the role of nutritional digital technology (Apps) in patients with CVD. This is a scoping review plus a qualitative questionnaire to surgeons and patients (across the UK). The Apps we are looking at testing further are Zoe https://joinzoe.com/ (Personalised nutrition based on microbiome signatures), Oviva (digitally delivered nutrition) and vivoo https://vivoo.io/. As the population is becomingly more technologically competent and accepting I believe digital and remote monitoring will become an important part of a practitioners tool kit.

I collaborate with many international academics and clinicians. I am a Council member of the Royal Society of Medicine and was an expert reviewer for the Health Research Authority 2016-2020.
Research Interests I am naturally a very inquisitive individual but my interests are related to the prevention and treatment of human disease via nutritional, exercise and pharmaceutical therapies.

I focus mainly on obesity, metabolic dysregulation and organ specific lipotoxicity. I am passionate about prehabilitation, nutritional screening, personalisation & the digitalisation in the delivery and evaluation of lifestyle interventions.


I am currently progressing a number of projects involving mice, in vitro cell lines, ex vivo human tissue experiments and human in vivo studies. These studies include human tissue such as heart, veins and arteries, liver, skeletal muscle and adipose tissue.
Teaching and Learning I teach to both undergraduate and postgraduate students across multiple departments, including the Hull York Medical School, Department of Biomedicine, and the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) since 2015.

My teaching interests are physiology and pathophysiology of human disease. I am passionate about prevention and treatment of disease through exercise (Make it NECESSARY and/or FUN ) and nutritional interventions (YOU CANNOT, NOT EAT).

I am particularly interested in obesity, metabolism, nutritional epidemiology, nutritional screening, personalisation & the digitalisation in delivery of interventions.

I also teach undergraduates regarding Personal and Professional Practice (PPP)- which is essential for good student outcomes. I focus on many aspects of PPP, for example, communication, time management, resilience, equality and diversity, personality, habits and reflection. I encourage student to shift from a problem to a solution mindset.

Students can find me on Twitter at #TheFatScientist which discusses contemporary and thought provoking issues related to obesity.
I encourage all student to upload contemporary issues related to teaching topics to the institutional VLE (CANVAS).

I am leading the Transforming Programmes initiative at the University for our MSc programmes (Clinical Exercise Physiology and Cardiac Rehabilitation). As part of the TP, and in conjunction with Clinical Exercise Physiology-UK (CEP-UK), our curriculum framework aligns to the Registration Council for Clinical Physiologists (RCCP) degree accreditation.
The RCCP accredited Clinical Exercise Physiology MSc programmes must ensure that the graduates meet the RCCP Standards of Proficiency, that are in line with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) Standards of Proficiency, and the Clinical Exercise Physiologist Scope of Practice.
Scopus Author ID 36547903600