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Dr Nicola Brown

Course Lead BSc Nutrition
Associate Professor in Female Health

Dr Nicola Brown

About Research

Tel: 020 8240 4821


Nicola is an associate professor in female health and performance at St Mary’s University and is co-course lead of the BSc Nutrition degree. She contributes to teaching and supervision across the Health Sciences Department in the BSc Nutrition, BSc Sports and Exercise Nutrition, MSc Applied Sports Nutrition, and MSc Chronic Disease Management programmes. She is also an accredited ISAK Level III anthropometrist delivering ISAK accredited training courses to a wide range of sport and health professionals.

Nicola is an executive board member of the Women in Sport and Exercise Academic Network and is also a member of the Research Group in Breast Health at the University of Portsmouth who are well known within the commercial sector, with research projects funded by many of the major lingerie, sports bra, and sporting apparel manufacturers around the world.


Research profile

Nicola's primary research focus is to increase scientific knowledge of female specific health issues, and to develop and disseminate effective stages for optimising health and performance of female athletes and exercisers. Key areas of interest include:

  • the influence of the breast on sport and exercise participation
  • investigation of breast pain and bra fit issues in exercising females
  • breast education of female adolescents.

PhD students

  • Itse Olaoye
  • Hannah Owen
  • Elaine Mullally
  • Dr David Silver (completed 2023)
  • Dr John Downey (completed 2022)
  • Dr Hilary Baxter (completed 2022)
  • Dr Matthew Wade (completed 2021)
  • Dr Atefeh Omrani (completed 2020)

If you are interested in doing a PhD with Nicola, please email her directly.

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • Mullally, E. M., Atack, A. C., Glaister, M., Clark, N. C., & Brown, N. (2023). A cross-sectional retrospective survey of injury situation and prevalence in female recreational netball players with a focus on knee injuries. Physical Therapy in Sport, 60, 70-74. DOI: 1016/j.ptsp.2023.01.003
  • Norris, M., O'Neill, A., Blackmore, T., Mills, C., Sanchez, A., Brown, N., & Wakefield-Scurr, J. (2022). Can we predict the neutral breast position using the gravity-loaded breast position, age, anthropometrics and breast composition data? Clinical Biomechanics, 99, 105760. DOI: 1016/j.clinbiomech.2022.105760
  • Okholm Kryger, K., Thomson, A., Tang, A., Brown, N., Bruinvels, G., Rosenbloom, C., ... & Mehta, R. (2023). Ten questions in sports engineering: technology in elite women’s football. Sports Engineering, 25(1), 25. DOI: 1007/s12283-022-00384-3
  • Mahaffey, R., Brown, N., Cramp, M., Morrison, S. C., & Drechsler, W. I. (2022). Evaluation of bioelectrical impedance analysis in measuring body fat in 6-to-12-year-old boys compared to air displacement plethysmography. British Journal of Nutrition, 1-22. DOI: 1017/S0007114522004019
  • Downey, J., Shearn, K., Brown, N., Wadey, R., & Breckon, J. (2021). Behaviour change practices in exercise referral schemes: developing realist programme theory of implementation. BMC Health Services Research, 21(1), 1-9. DOI: 1186/s12913-021-06349-9
  • Forsyth, J., Brown, N., Bullingham, R. & Roberts, C-M. (2021). Getting back on their feet: Women in Sport and Exercise Academic Network Virtual Conference, Sept 7–8, 2020. Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal, DOI: 1123/wspaj.2020-0076.
  • Brown, N., Burbage, J., & Wakefield-Scurr, J. (2020). Sports bra use, preferences and fit issues among exercising females in the US, UK and China.  Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, DOI: 1108/JFMM-05-2020-0084
  • Omrani, A., Wakefield-Scurr, J., Smith, J., Wadery R. & Brown, N. (2020). Breast education improves adolescent girls’ breast knowledge, attitudes to breasts and engagement with positive breast habits.  Frontiers in Public Health, DOI: 3389/fpubh.2020.591927
  • Brown, N., Campbell, C., Owen, C. & Omrani, A. (2020). How girls’ magazines talk about breasts? Feminism and Psychology, 30(2), 206-226. DOI: 1177/0959353519900203
  • Brown, N., Forsyth, J., Bullingham, R. & Roberts, C.-M. (2020) Pushing boundaries: Women in Sport and Exercise Conference, St Mary’s University, Twickenham, June 11–12, 2019. Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal, 28(1), 53-54. DOI: 1123/wspaj.2019-0050
  • Wade, M., Majumdar, A., Brown, N., Dancy, B., Mann, S. & Gissane, C. (2020). Identification of dropout predictors to a community-based physical activity programme that uses motivational interviewing. Journal of Public Health, 42(1), 3-11. DOI: 1093/pubmed/fdy206
  • Omrani, A., Wakefield-Scurr, J., Smith, J., & Brown, N. (2019). The development and psychometric properties of a survey to assess breast knowledge and attitudes of adolescent girls. American Journal of Health Education, 50(6), 374-389. DOI: 1080/19325037.2019.1663380
  • Bowmer, Y., & Brown, N. (2018). Perceived barriers and motivators to physical activity in young and middle aged women. Women in Sport Physical Activity Journal, 27(1), 52-59. DOI: 1123/wspaj.2017-0045
  • Brown, N., Smith, J., Brasher, A., Risius, D., Marczyk, A., & Wakefield-Scurr, J. (2018). Breast health education for schoolgirls: why, what, when and how? The Breast Journal, 24(3):377-382. DOI: 1111/tbj.12945
  • Omrani, A., Wakefield-Scurr, J., Smith, J., & Brown, N. (2018). Survey development for adolescents aged 11-16 years: A developmental science based guide. Adolescent Research Review, DOI: 1007/s40894-018-0089-0
  • Silver, D., Brown, N., & Gissane, C. (2018). Reported concussion incidence in youth community Rugby Union and parental assessment of post head injury cognitive recovery using the King-Devick test. Journal of the Neurological Sciences, 388, 40-46. DOI: 1016/j.jns.2018.02.046
  • Wade, M., Brown, N., & Majumdar, A. (2018). Effectiveness of a community based physical activity intervention grounded in motivational interviewing. The Lancet, 392, S90. DOI: 1016/S0140-6736(18)32406-1
  • Brown, N., Smith, J., Brasher, A., Omrani, A., & Wakefield-Scurr, J. (2017). Breast cancer education for schoolgirls: an exploratory study. European Journal of Cancer Prevention. DOI: 1097/CEJ.0000000000000356
  • Blagrove, R., Brown, N., Howatson, G., & Hayes, P. (in press). Strength and conditioning habits of competitive distance runners. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. DOI: 1519/JSC.0000000000002261
  • Brown, N., & Scurr, J. (2016). Do women with smaller breasts perform better in long distance running? European Journal of Sports Science, 16(8), 965-971. DOI: 1080/17461391.2016.1200674
  • Brown, N., & Scurr, J. (2016). Breasts are getting bigger. Where is the evidence? Journal of Anthropological Sciences, 94, 237-244. DOI: 4436/JASS.94020
  • Brown, N., Burnett, E., & Scurr, J. (2016). Is breast pain greater in active females compared to the general population in the UK? The Breast Journal, 22(2), 194-201. DOI: 1111/tbj.12547
  • Risius, D., Milligan, A., Berns, J., Brown, N., & Scurr, J. (2016). Understanding key performance indicators for breast support: An analysis of breast support effects on biomechanical, physiological and subjective measures during running. Journal of Sports Sciences. DOI: 1080/02640414.2016.1194523
  • Scurr, J., Brown, N., Smith, J., Brasher, A., Risius, D., & Marczyk, A. (2016). The influence of the breast on sport and exercise participation in schoolgirls in the UK. Journal of Adolescent Health. 58(2), 167-173. DOI: 1016/j.jadohealth.2015.10.005
  • Patterson, S., Legg, H., Gibson, A-M., & Brown, N. (2016). The impact of badminton on health markers in untrained females. Journal of Sports Science. DOI: 1080/02640414.2016.1210819
  • Bruinvels, G., Burden, R., Brown, N., Richards, T., & Pedlar, C. (2016). The prevalence and impact of heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia) in elite and non-elite athletes. PLoS ONE. DOI: 1371/journal.pone.0149881
  • Bruinvels, G., Burden, R., Brown, N., Richards, T., & Pedlar, C. (2016). The prevalence and impact of heavy menstrual bleeding among athletes and mass start runners of the 2015 London Marathon. British Journal of Sports Medicine. DOI: 1136/bjsports-2015-095505
  • Scurr, J., Loveridge, A., Brown, N., & Mills, C. (2015). Acute changes in clinical breast measurements following bra removal: Implications for surgical practice. Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery Open, 3, 22-25. DOI: 1016/j.jpra.2015.01.002
  • Brown, N., White, J., Brasher, A., & Scurr, J. (2014). An investigation into breast support and sports bra use in female runners of the 2012 London Marathon. Journal of Sports Sciences, 32(9), 801-809. DOI: 1080/02640414.2013.844348
  • Brown, N., White, J., Brasher, A., & Scurr, J. (2014). The experience of breast pain (mastalgia) in female runners of the 2012 London Marathon and its effect on exercise behaviour. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 48(4), 320-325. DOI: 1136/bjsports-2013-092175
  • Scurr, J., Hedger, W., Morris, P., & Brown, N. (2014). The prevalence, severity and impact of breast pain in the general population. The Breast Journal, 20(5), 508-513. DOI: 1111/tbj.123010.1111/tbj.12305
  • Brown, N., & Scurr, J. (2012). The need for a standardised anthropometric protocol for objective assessment of pre- and postoperative breast surgery. Gland Surgery, 1(3), 142-145. DOI: 3978/j.issn.2227-684X.2012.10.01
  • Brown, N., White, J., Milligan, A., Risius, D., Ayres, B., Hedger, W., & Scurr, J. (2012). The relationship between breast size and anthropometric measures. 24, 158-164. DOI: 1002/ajhb.22212

Book Chapters

  • Bruinvels, G., Goldsmith, E. & Brown, N. (2020). Considerations for the female athlete. In P. Hayes & R. Blagrove (Eds.), Science and Practice of Training for Distance Running, London,UK: Routledge.
  • Penn, S., & Brown, N. (2016). Components of fitness. In P. Hough & S. Penn (Eds.), Advanced personal training: Science to practice. London, UK: Routledge.
  • Penn, S., & Brown, N. (2016). Fitness assessment. In P. Hough & S. Penn (Eds.), Advanced personal training: Science to practice. London, UK: Routledge.

Media enquiries

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