Improving health and quality of life through research
Prevention and management of chronic diseases starts with quality research. At IPAN, we conduct world-leading research into all aspects of physical activity and nutrition across the lifespan, from conception to old age.
Our research is ranked well above world standard*. It spans from the lab to real-world settings, including studying the biological mechanisms behind exercise and nutrition; using technology and exercise to prevent and manage chronic conditions; innovative solutions to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour in our community; and developing evidence-based food policy.
Through our research, we strive to improve health outcomes in populations all over the world. Our team collaborates nationally and internationally, as well as across disciplines. We’re also committed to nurturing a new generation of leading researchers, through a supportive and dynamic research environment.
* Australian Research Council (2019). State of Australian University Research 2018–19: ERA National Report. Australian Research Council, Canberra.
Our vision is to improve the health of all populations through physical activity and nutrition research excellence.
Our mission is to conduct high quality multidisciplinary physical activity and nutrition research to actively inform policy and practice to improve health, and build capacity in the field.
Our researchers have access to world class sport and nutrition science and laboratory facilities at Deakin’s Burwood and Geelong campuses.
- State-of-the-art laboratories to take and analyse muscle and adipose tissue samples, common blood and urine biomarkers, ranging from simple blood lipids to more complex hormonal, inflammatory and oxidative stress biomarkers, and undertake nutritional analysis.
- A research gymnasium to undertake resistance (strength) training, aerobic exercise, and high velocity functional power training tests.
Our facilities are extensively equipped with specialised equipment to allow for innovative research including:
- Dual Energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), Quantitative Computed Tomography (QCT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines to accurately measure changes in total body and regional bone mineral density (BMD), bone structure and strength as well as body composition [lean tissue mass, fat mass, muscle cross-sectional area, subcutaneous fat area)
- Electrocardiogram to measure heart rate and heart rate variability
- Metabolic carts to measure oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production, to determine a person’s metabolic rate; how many calories a person burns in a day; and whether a person prefers to burn fat or carbohydrate.
- Ultrasound machine to measure cardiovascular function including blood flow.
- Metabolic gas analysers to assess maximal oxygen uptake and blood sampling devices.
- Commercial-grade gym equipment, speed and power testing equipment.
The Physical Activity and Nutrition Research Unit was established with just four staff (pictured) at Deakin University in 2001.
In 2003, the Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition (C-PAN) was launched by then Governor of Victoria, the Hon. John Landy AC, as a Faculty-level research centre, and in 2004 became a University Research Priority Area.
By 2010, C-PAN had become a Strategic Research Centre within Deakin, and had expanded to 40 staff. In 2016 C-PAN was designated University Research Institute status and officially became the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN).
Today, IPAN has more than 80 research staff members, as well as five professional staff. Alfred Deakin Professor Jo Salmon is Director.
Three of the four founding members still belong to IPAN, with former Co-Director David Crawford retiring in 2020 as Emeritus Professor. However, David is still very involved with IPAN in an honorary capacity.
The original IPAN founders, L-R: Alfred Deakin Professors Jo Salmon, David Crawford, Anna Timperio and Kylie Ball