Mr Tom Gurney

Research project: Investigating the metabolic, physiological, and functional effects from the supplementation of microalgae on exercise performance


Competitive athletes are continuously looking to enhance performance via the use of various emerging ergogenic dietary supplements. Recently, there has been a widespread unremitting trend and interest in the functional food benefits of freshwater micro algae. This interest has predominantly surfaced from substantial amount of investigations primarily focused on the potential health benefits derived from supplementation. At present, the understanding of the ergogenic capabilities of algae are equivocal. The multicomponent species boasts a vast array of vitamins, minerals and proteins and thus pinpointing the exact mechanisms of action behind any ergogenic effects are difficult to ascertain.  

To date, negligible research has been conducted on trained athletes implementing the supplementation of algae and whether it may have a profound effect on exercise performance. This project intends to develop and contribute into the novel area of algae supplementation for exercise performance. 

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: Investigating the metabolic, physiological, and functional effects from the supplementation of microalgae on exercise performance
  • Research supervisor: Dr Owen Spendiff
  • Other research supervisor: Dr James Brouner


Tom enrolled at Kingston University in 2014 to complete a BSc in Sport Science, achieving First Class honours. His dissertation research project was investigating the supplementation of Spirulina on upper body exercise. Following this, in May 2019 Tom began his PhD research journey, aiming to contribute research and understanding into the algae supplementation field.

During his PhD he has been involved with lecturing on the Essentials for Sport & Exercise Science and the Health & Exercise Physiology modules at Kingston University. Additionally, Tom lectures at UCL on the UG & MSc Sports Medicine, Exercise & Health degree.

Adjacent to his research, Tom previously worked at Fulham Football Club for 4 years as a Performance Analyst, working alongside the first team and academy to provide extensive team and player analysis. 

Areas of research interest

  • Exercise Physiology
  • Human Performance
  • Ergogenic Aids
  • Micro-nutrient Supplementation
  • Lactate Metabolism
  • Performance Analysis


  • BSc Sport Science, Kingston University London
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Funding or awards received

  • 2nd Best Oral Presentation - KU SEC Conference 2021
  • PGR Faculty Achievement Award 2022


  • Gurney, T., Brouner, J., Spendiff, O. (2023) The Efficacy of Chlorella Supplementation on Multiple Indices of Cycling Performance. Journal of Dietary Supplements, DOI: 10.1080/19390211.2023.2186557

  • Gurney, T., Bradley, N., Izquierdo, D. and Ronca, F. (2022) Cognitive Effects of Guarana Supplementation with Maximal Intensity Cycling. British Journal of Nutrition, pp.1-21.

  • Gurney, T. and Spendiff, O., (2022). Algae supplementation for exercise performance: current perspectives and future directions for spirulina and chlorella. Frontiers in Nutrition, p.384.
  • Gurney, T., Brouner, J., Spendiff, O. (2021). Twenty-one days of spirulina supplementation lowers heart rate during submaximal cycling and augments power output during repeated sprints in trained cyclists. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2021-0344. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34399066.
  • Gurney, T & Spendiff, O. (2020) Spirulina supplementation improves oxygen uptake in arm cycling exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol.