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Whole Body Calorimeter

The Human Metabolism Research Unit houses two of the world’s most advanced Whole Body Calorimeters through which detailed 24 hour energy profiles can be generated for an individual.

Knowledge of an individual’s energy expenditure in such detail allows new avenues of metabolic research with the potential to develop new treatments and drugs. The HMRU provides fundamental understanding of the nature of metabolism and metabolic disorders, and enables research to uncover new relationships between diet composition, life-style and long-term health in the population at large.

The Whole Body Calorimeter allows the carbon dioxide produced and oxygen consumed by the volunteer to be very accurately measured; these quantities make it possible to determine a subject’s energy expenditure. When this is combined with additional measurements (for example, urine samples) researchers can determine the type of macronutrients (e.g. fat, carbohydrates or protein) that are used to create that energy.

The Whole Body Calorimeter has applications in:

  • Studies that allow us to understand how food, physical activity and other aspects of behaviour, including sleep, affect our ability to control body weight
  • Understanding how biomarkers for metabolic disorders identified in laboratory studies affect weight gain
  • Investigation of real-time changes in metabolic function associated with diabetes and obesity and their treatment
  • Clinical trials for novel nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals

Funds to purchase the whole body calorimeter were awarded to the University of Warwick via the Birmingham Science City, Translational Medicine - Clinical Research Infrastructure and Trials platform. This award is part of a £20 million investment in Translational Medicine by Advantage West Midlands. The Translational Medicine Programme is led jointly by the University of Warwick and the University of Birmingham as part of the Science City Research Alliance.

Contact Us:

If you are interested in running academic or commercial studies using the Whole Body Calorimeter, please contact HMRU at uhcw dot nhs dot uk

Science City Research Alliance

Advantage West Midlands

Birmingham Science City

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Internal view of calorimeter room one.


Monitoring area outside calorimeter rooms