Research Projects of TeamDerave

1. Metabolism of carnosine and related compounds

We explore the physiological regulation and the role of carnosine (a dipeptide composed of beta-alanine and histidine) with a characteristically high concentration in skeletal muscle.

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2. Effect of nutrition and dietary supplements/medication on performance and health

This research line focuses on the effect of dietary supplements (beta-alanine) and medication (anti-histamines) on exercise performance during different types of exercise as well as in relation to health and diseases. Towards exercise, Team Derave has a specifically strong research expertise in the field of beta-alanine and bioactive compounds in fish and meat. Towards health, the research group focuses on dietary supplements in relation to the development of diabetes, diabetic complications and other metabolic disorders.

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3. The Muscle Talent scan

We investigate novel applications of medical imaging, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy (MRS) in elite athletes. This research line led to the development of the Muscle Talent Scan, a fast, painless and non-invasive technique to measure muscle fiber type distribution using MRI scans instead of muscle biopsies. This information can help athletes to define the sports discipline that best suits their muscle fiber typology. Moreover, this can help trainers to optimize training programs and recovery cycles and thereby prevent injury.

All information on this project can be found on the next website: and

 Do you want more information on the relevance of the muscle fiber typology in sports ? Have a look at our new illustrated guide: Myotypes - the relevance of muscle fiber typology in sports (2021)(Lievens E., Stassen F., Derave W.)

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Research group Boone - Bourgois

1. The Critical Power Concept

The Critical Power Concept quantifies the hyperbolic relationship between power and duration (time to exhaustion). The Critical Power represents the asymptote of this hyperbolic relationship which corresponds to the maximal lactate steady state and represent a critical intensity while performing exercise. The second parameter within this model is W’, representing an anaerobic energy reserve, that can be used by the athlete while performing above the Critical Power.

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2. Training load monitoring/quantification and Performance prediction

The accurate quantification of training load is an essential part of the training process, especially since an optimal training effect requires a well-balanced alternation between training and recovery. Identifying the relationship between training (load) and change in performance is considered as the holy grail within the research domain of physical conditioning. The research within this project tries to monitor and predict performance based on the content and the load of training.

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3. The effects of apnea (training) on health and performance

Holding the breath (i.e., apnea) poses a critical challenge to the human body as the oxygen supply to the body is restricted. In the body the ‘diving response’ will induce an oxygen conserving effect and will ensure that the oxygen supply to the brain can be maintained. The physiological responses during apnea could have an acute effect on the subsequent performance and also the use of apnea training has shown potential positive effects on performance since it has shown to increase hemoglobin in the blood.

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