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Sport, Exercise and Nutrition Sciences

Dr Mary O'Leary

Dr Mary O'Leary

Senior Lecturer


 Richards Building RB104b


Richard's Building, University of Exeter, St Luke's Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK


Mary is a Senior Lecturer working within the BioActivEx research group. They are currently working on research projects investigating the effects of bioactive compounds on exercise-induced muscle damage, adipose tissue inflammation and musculoskeletal ageing. Mary has expertise in integrated human physiology and uses techniques such as proteomics and primary human cell culture to provide mechanistic insights into the physioloigcal effects of bioactives on humans in vivo. 

Mary has received research funding from industrial and public/governmeal sources, including Innovate UK, The US Highbush Blueberry Council, Pukka Herbs, The Torbay Medical Research Fund, Lallemand and PepsiCo. 

Mary is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Mary completed a Wellcome Trust supported MRes/PhD programme at the University of Birmingham in 2018. Their PhD work investigated the role of adipose and skeletal muscle derived cytokines in in vitro human myogenesis and was supervised by Dr Simon Jones and co-supervised by Dr Graham Wallace and Dr Kostas Tsintzas.

Mary completed a Medical Degree (MB BCh BAO) at University College Cork and Master's Degrees at the Universities of Nottingham and Birmingham.


2011 - MB, BCh, BAO, University College Cork. First Class Honours. 

2013 - MSc Integrated Physiology, University of Nottingham.

2014 - MRes Biomedical Research, University of Birmingham.

2018 - PhD, Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, University of Birmingham.

  • 'The role of adipose and skeletal muscle derived cytokines in human myogenesis: implications for ageing skeletal muscle.'

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Journal articles

O'Leary M, Jackman S, Bowtell J (2024). Shatavari Supplementation in Postmenopausal Women Alters the Skeletal Muscle Proteome and Pathways Involved in Training Adaptation. European Journal of Nutrition
Wangdi JT, O'Leary MF, Kelly VG, Jackman SR, Tang JCY, Dutton J, Bowtell JL (2022). Tart Cherry Supplement Enhances Skeletal Muscle Glutathione Peroxidase Expression and Functional Recovery after Muscle Damage. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 54(4), 609-621. Abstract.  Author URL.
Sabou VR, O'Leary MF, Liu Y, Brown PN, Murch S, Bowtell JL (2021). Review of Analytical Methods and Reporting of the Polyphenol Content of Tart Cherry Supplements in Human Supplementation Studies Investigating Health and Exercise Performance Effects: Recommendations for Good Practice. Frontiers in Nutrition, 8 Abstract.
O’Leary MF, Jackman SR, Sabou VR, Campbell MI, Tang JCY, Dutton J, Bowtell JL (2021). Shatavari Supplementation in Postmenopausal Women Improves Handgrip Strength and Increases Vastus lateralis Myosin Regulatory Light Chain Phosphorylation but Does Not Alter Markers of Bone Turnover. Nutrients, 13(12), 4282-4282. Abstract.
Wangdi JT, Sabou V, O'Leary MF, Kelly VG, Bowtell JL (2021). Use, Practices and Attitudes of Elite and Sub-Elite Athletes towards Tart Cherry Supplementation. Sports (Basel), 9(4). Abstract.  Author URL.
Hodson N, Dent JR, O'Leary MF, Song Z, Nicholson T, Jones SW, Murray JT, Jeromson S, Hamilton DL, Breen L, et al (2020). Protein‐carbohydrate ingestion alters Vps34 cellular localization independent of changes in kinase activity in human skeletal muscle. Experimental Physiology
Sabou V, Wangdi J, O’Leary MF, Kelly VG, Bowtell JL (2020). Use, Practices and Attitudes of Sports Nutrition and Strength and Conditioning Practitioners towards Tart Cherry Supplementation. Sports, 9(1), 2-2. Abstract.
O'Leary M, Barreto M, Bowtell J (2019). Evaluating the effect of a home-delivered meal service on the physical and psychological wellbeing of a UK population of older adults—A pilot and feasibility study. Journal of Nutrition in Gerontology and Geriatrics
Murphy D, Nicholson T, Jones S, O'Leary M (2019). MyoCount: a software tool for the automated quantification of myotube surface area and nuclear fusion index. Wellcome Open Research
Lear R, O'Leary M, O'Brien Andersen L, Holt CC, Stensvold CR, van der Giezen M, Bowtell JL (2019). Tart Cherry Concentrate Does Not Alter the Gut Microbiome, Glycaemic Control or Systemic Inflammation in a Middle-Aged Population. Nutrients, 11(5). Abstract.  Author URL.
O'Leary MF, Wallace GR, Davis ET, Murphy DP, Nicholson T, Bennett AJ, Tsintzas K, Jones SW (2018). Obese subcutaneous adipose tissue impairs human myogenesis, particularly in old skeletal muscle, via resistin-mediated activation of NFκB. Scientific Reports
O’Leary MF, Wallace GR, Bennett AJ, Tsintzas K, Jones SW (2017). IL-15 promotes human myogenesis and mitigates the detrimental effects of TNFα on myotube development. Scientific Reports, 7(1). Abstract.
Song Z, Moore DR, Hodson N, Ward C, Dent JR, O’Leary MF, Shaw AM, Hamilton DL, Sarkar S, Gangloff Y-G, et al (2017). Resistance exercise initiates mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) translocation and protein complex co-localisation in human skeletal muscle. Scientific Reports, 7(1). Abstract.
Hardy RS, Doig CL, Hussain Z, O'Leary M, Morgan SA, Pearson MJ, Naylor A, Jones SW, Filer A, Stewart PM, et al (2016). 11β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 within muscle protects against the adverse effects of local inflammation. The Journal of Pathology, 240(4), 472-483.
Kavanagh D, Boulton A, O'leary M, Suresh S, Newsome PN, Kalia N (2014). P351Pretreatment of mesenchymal stem cells does not enhance their recruitment to injured tissue in a model of ischemia-reperfusion injury yet abolishes their anti-inflammatory capabilities. Cardiovascular Research, 103(suppl 1), S64.2-S64.



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Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers

  • Elsa Greed
  • Celeste Lugtmeijer
  • Vlad Razvan Sabou


  • Jimmy Wangdi

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