PhD BSc FRSB FPhysiol

Senior Lecturer (Scholarship)


Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 437456
The University of Aberdeen IMS 2.22


An Aberdeen alumni, Derek Ball completed his PhD at the Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine in medical sciences focussing on the effect of diet on acid-base balance and exercise capacity.  His first Post-doctoral postion was at the Gatty Marine Laboratory (University of St Andrews) examining the effect of temperature on muscle function in the marine species, Myoxcephalus Scorpius (the short-horned scupin). His next post (post-doctoral fellow then senior lecturer) at Manchester Metropolitan University required him to set up the Molecular Biology facitilites within the Department of Sport Science. Derek returned to Aberdeen University (2002-2005) as a lecturer in Human Physiology and Biochemistry on the newly established Sport Science degree. Derek was Associate Professor in Applied and Integrative Physiology at Heriot-Watt University (2006-2017) where he held the roles of Director of Sport and Exercise Science and was the Post-graduate Director of Studies for Human Health and Disease. He was a member of Senate at Heriot-Watt (2014-2017) a member of undergraduate studies committee (2011-2014) and chair of the exam and award boards for the Institute of Biological Chemistry, Biophysics and Bioengineering.

Derek's role as the Head of Sport Science at the University of Aberdeen is to integrate the degree programs in Sport Science with University Sport. This unique collaboration provides the Sport Science students first-hand experience of providing Sport Science support for University Sport and is one of the platforms that enables the University athletes to achieve their full potential.  Derek has worked with International level athletes in Track and Field athletics, judo, weight lifting, and netball.  More recently he has worked with the Scottish Football Association on their SFA Performance School development program.  


Teaching Responsibilities

I teach across the range of Biomedical Science degree programmes in addition to my responsibilities to our three degree programmes in the Sport and Exercise Sciences. I usually supervise between 5 and 7 honours project each year (that includes both laboratory and library-based projects) as well as a supervisory role for post-graduate research students.

Current course co-ordinator roles:

SR3508 Clincal Exercise Physiolgy

SR4007 Research topics in Sport Sciences and Sport Studies


Course teaching role

SM3003 Frontiers in 

SR3506 Exercise Biochemistry & Nutrition of Exercise

SR3511 Nutrition, Health and Disease

SR4007 Research topics in Sport Sciences and Sport Studies

SR4301 Exercise Physiology

SR4501 Exercise Science Project

SM3003 Frontiers of Applied Medical Sciences

BM4301 Science of Aging - From Cradle to Grave

PU5403 Human Nutrition in Context



Further Info

External Responsibilities

Derek is a member of the following learned societies: The Physiological Society, The Nutrition Society, The Royal Society of Biology, The American Physiological Society, British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences.

Derek is the Physiological Society (see link) representative at the University of Aberdeen and he was awarded fellowship status (FPhysiol) in 2019 as recognition for the long standing support he has given to the Society.

Derek is the current Secretary of the Scottish Section of the Nutrition Society (see link). After serving for four years as a member of the Scottish Executive Derek took the responsibility of secretary for the Scottish Section (2019-2022).

Derek was awarded fellowship status (FRSB) to the Royal Society of Biology in 2015 in recognition of his research output.