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Research interests

Justin's research is focused on improving health outcomes for individuals that have suffered an orthopaedic or neurological injury primarily affecting one side of the body. 


Justin is primarily interested in understanding the neural mechanisms of the cross-education effect; where exercising one side of the body elicits a positive benefit to the same muscle group on the opposite side of the body. Though mechanistic investigations Justin aims to identify how we can maximise the effectiveness of cross-education and determine how best cross-education can be implemented to improve rehabilitation outcomes after injury. 

Neuromuscular adaptations to resistance training:

Justin is interested in studying how exercise variables such as intensity, volume, and contraction type impact neuroplasticity throughout the neuromuscular system. Justin has a particular interest in the effectiveness of eccentric (i.e., muscle lengthening) muscle actions and how they can be use clinically to maximise motor recovery outcomes. 

Justin uses the following tools and methods to address his research questions:

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
    • Functional MRI (fMRI)
    • Diffisuion Tensor Imaging (DTI)
    • Structural MRI (Volumetric Analyses)
  • Isokinetic Dynamometry
  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
  • Peripheral Nerve Stimulation


Justin is currently a Vice-Chancellor Fellow and Assistant Professor in Sport and Exercise Sciences. Before joining Northumbria University, Justin was a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research funded Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of British Columbia where his research focused on understanding the impact of exercise on motor recovery, and investigating the role of the cortico-reticulospinal tract as a compensatory pathway for motor recovery in individuals that have suffered a stroke

Justin completed his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in the College of Kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan where his work focused on the inter-limb transfer of unilateral motor training to the opposite untrained limb, often termed cross-education, and understanding how the brain and nervous system adapt to motor training and disuse.

Justin has held visiting researcher appointments at Deakin University (Australia), the University of Oxford (United Kingdom), and Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada) where he worked with Dr. Ashlee Hendy (Deakin), Professor Charlotte Stagg (Oxford), and Professor Michelle Ploughman (Memorial).

Key Collaborators (Listed alphabetically by surname):

Northumbria University:

External Collaborators:

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Sports Science, PhD, Neural correlates of upper limb unimanual motor practice, University of Saskatchewan

Award Date: 9 Aug 2021

Sports Science, MSc, Specificity of sparing effects with cross-education after eccentric training, University of Saskatchewan

Award Date: 21 Sept 2017

Physical Education, BA, Vancouver Island University

Research Group keywords

  • Optimising Human Performance


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