Meet Dr Melanie Leggate

At school I didn’t really know what I wanted to do or be but I had a clear favourite subject which was biology.

I finished school and went to the University of Glasgow to study Physiology & Sports Science which was a bit of a surprise to everyone (including myself) as I was never really ‘sporty’ despite my efforts. Regardless, I loved the course and I became particularly passionate about the physiological health benefits from taking regular exercise and being physically active.

At the end of my degree I decided to go travelling around the world for a year – safe to say it was amazing but I also knew a few months into my travels that I wanted to undertake a PhD when I returned to the UK, so I started applying for studentships whilst I was travelling. After a peculiar setting for an interview (a phone interview sat in a campervan in Byron Bay), I was lucky to be offered a studentship at Loughborough University and started my PhD there in 2008. My PhD focused on inflammatory responses to exercise in overweight and obese individuals. After my PhD I worked as a Research Associate for a Biomedical Research Unit between Loughborough and Leicester Universities. It was a great opportunity but I wanted to try something new and work in a different environment so I started to look at other positions and then moved north of the border to Edinburgh Napier in 2013 where I took up a lecturing post in Exercise Physiology & Health.

I realised very early on that I wanted to work in academia. Whilst undertaking my dissertation as part of my undergraduate degree I discovered I loved working with the participants and analysing data from the project. I was involved in a project that was investigating the effects of exercise in the offspring of those with Type 2 diabetes. I found the whole project fascinating, being able to work alongside clinicians as a student was really inspiring and they had made me feel part of the team.

Without doubt, the people I work with make working at Edinburgh Napier University a happy place to be. It can be a tough job at times and without good support it would be even harder. Colleagues are very accommodating and looking to create the best experiences for our students.

My new role within the University is the School Academic Lead for Quality and Enhancement within the School of Applied Sciences. This involves leading colleagues within our school who are responsible for delivery to both our undergraduate and postgraduate students and ensuring that the Quality Framework is implemented. As well as quality assurance, one of the reasons I wanted to take on the role was the ‘enhancement’ aspect to ensure our students have an excellent experience at Edinburgh Napier. I will be working alongside other SALs for Quality and Enhancement in the university as well as DLTE. I’m really excited to have taken on this role and see how I can contribute to quality and enhancement within both my school and the wider university and I am looking forward to working with lots of new people within the University over the next few months.

I’ve had lots of giggles over the last seven years here, but I dare not share the stories!

I have a two year old little girl so there is not much relaxing at home but it is all fun and games. Our little family like to spend weekends outdoors when we can often be found exploring the woods for the Gruffalo or taking our dogs to the beach for a long walk.

Despite my teaching and research being around exercise, health and long-term health condition, I absolutely love baking! Everything in moderation! It is great for de-stressing, although my husband would disagree due to the amount of mess I am famous for creating during a ‘baking day’. But I love any excuse to whip up a batch of cupcakes.

While I was at university I had a few different jobs – working in a pub, care assistant and working for a large department store. By far the worst job was working in retail. I had images of selling fancy clothes (and getting to wear them) when actually there was so much pressure to ‘sell’ store cards to customers. Selling is not my forte at all I am not ashamed to say it! Thinking back to it has made me really glad to be in the career that I am now…