Michael O'Brien

Michael graduated with first-class honours from the  B.Sc. (Honours) in Physical Activity and Health Science in TUS, and the M.Sc.in Adolescent Health in the University of Galway. Following the completion of his Masters, Michael completed several research assistantships including:

  • ‘An evaluation of a 10-week dance intervention for female survivors of cancer’ with Solas Cancer Support Centre
  • ‘A scoping review of community-based PA initiatives for mental health and wellbeing across the European context’, with the South East Technological University
  • ‘A mixed-methods evaluation of community-based lymphoedema services for individuals at risk of, or living with, oncology-related lymphoedema’, with TUS and the National Cancer Control Programme, and
  • ‘An evaluation of findings and review of a 12-week pilot exercise programme for childhood survivors of cancer’ with ExWell Medical.

These projects motivated Michael to complete his PhD in the area of exercise and cancer, which he began in January 2024.


The Role of the Menstrual Cycle in Sport Performance

Project About

This project aims to reduce the ambiguity surrounding the menstrual cycle and sport performance, and shape monitoring and training practices of high performance female athletes through a series of studies. Primarily, the project examines the relationships between the menstrual cycle, training load and wellbeing over a longitudinal period. Robust biochemical techniques such as blood serum hormone analysis will be used to establish menstrual phases in athletes.

Practical Impact of Project

Despite a growing interest in research on the female athlete, male-based research findings continue to be applied to females. Hence, the role of the menstrual cycle in sport performance and recovery has yet to be fully understood. This research will advance existing knowledge that is paramount to optimise athletic potential, especially at the elite level where marginal gains can give athletes a competitive edge.

Major finding of project


Taim BC, Suppiah HT, Wee J, Lee M, Lee JKW, Chia M. Palatable Flavoured Fluids without Carbohydrates and Electrolytes Do Not Enhance Voluntary Fluid Consumption in Male Collegiate Basketball Players in the Heat. Nutrients. 2021; 13(12):4197. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13124197; Suppiah HT, Ng EL, Wee J, Taim BC, Huynh M, Gastin PB, Chia M, Low CY, Lee JKW. Hydration Status and Fluid Replacement Strategies of High-Performance Adolescent Athletes: An Application of Machine Learning to Distinguish Hydration Characteristics. Nutrients. 2021; 13(11):4073. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13114073


Niamh Ní Chéilleachair and Ciarán Ó Catháin