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Dr. Wilby Williamson
Assistant Professor, Physiology


I am a clinical academic on the IMC Specialist Register as a Consultant in Sports and Exercise Medicine. I am a Fellow of the Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland and Senior Atlantic Fellow with Global Brain Health Institute. My recent clinical work involved leading a 24 bed rehabilitation ward in the HSE. My specialist interests are health promotion, lifestyle medicine and heart-brain health. I have a DPhil (PhD) in Cardiovascular Medicine from University of Oxford. I continue my research in heart-brain health working with Professor Kenny and the research team from the TILDA study. I remain a visiting academic in Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Oxford.

Originally from Ireland, I moved to England to complete medical training. I completed core clinical training in acute critical care (ACCS) on rotation through University College Hospital London, completing Membership of the Royal College of Physicians, London (2010). I completed Membership of the Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine and Higher Specialist Training in Cambridge and Oxford. In parallel, to clinical practice, I completed clinical academic training through National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) leading to the competitive award of a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Training Fellowship.

I am an early career leader in preventive cardiovascular medicine and heart-brain health. In recognition, I was award an Atlantic Fellowship from the Global Brain Health Institute in 2019. I have high impact academic publications including publication in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association). I am an invited speaker at the American Heart Association and European Society for Preventive Cardiology. I have over 10 years' experience leading the design and implementation of multidisciplinary integrative community and tertiary care pathways in the NHS across musculoskeletal medicine, cardiovascular prevention and falls and frailty management. Furthermore, I have led design and implementation of innovative online engagement and health screening tools to optimize face-face health screening and deliver community health promotion initiatives. I secured over £1 million in research funds to design, implement and evaluate preventive health interventions. In addition, I have managed the delivery of research programs with budgets in excess of £2 million phenotyping cardiovascular risk populations. I am an experienced clinical trials co-ordinator and have led project delivery on a number of studies. This work has involved the leadership of research assistants, PhD students, post-doctoral researchers and the coordination of international collaborators to deliver academic outputs

My research is at the cutting edge of medical innovation, using advances in medical imaging and personalized health intervention. I apply advanced MR imaging techniques and vascular assessments to phenotype and stratify cardiovascular risk populations. I am independent in performing research echocardiography, clinical cardiopulmonary exercise testing, peripheral vascular assessments and I have developed expertise in Brain MRI analysis through training provided at FMRIB and the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging. I undertook my doctoral studies in tandem with gaining sub-specialist training in cardiovascular medicine and continuing to work as a musculoskeletal physician. My dual clinical academic training has allowed me to develop expertise in preventive and precision medicine. I am trained in both behavioral and pharmacological strategies to target optimization of modifiable risk profiles. My clinical research focuses on risk stratification and phenotyping of young adult hypertension populations and I worked for 3 years in the Oxford Hypertension service managing high risk patients, including patients with prior cerebrovascular injury, resistant hypertension, early onset hypertension and patients with secondary hypertension.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Céline De Looze, PhD, Wilby Williamson, PhD, Naiara Demnitz, PhD, Deirdre O'Connor, MPH, Belinda Hernández, PhD, Rose Anne Kenny, MD, Physical Function, An Adjunct to Brain Health Score for Phenotyping Cognitive Function Trajectories in Older Age: Findings From The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), The Journals of Gerontology: Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 2022 Journal Article, 2022 DOI

Williamson W, Lewandowski AJ, Huckstep OJ, Lapidaire W, Ooms A, Tan C, Mohamed A, Alsharqi M, Bertagnolli M, Woodward W, Dockerill C, McCourt A, Kenworthy Y, Burchert H, Doherty A, Newton J, Hanssen H, Cruickshank JK, McManus R, Holmes J, Ji C, Love S, Frangou E, Everett C, Hillsdon M, Dawes H, Foster C, Leeson P., Effect of moderate to high intensity aerobic exercise on blood pressure in young adults: The TEPHRA open, two-arm, parallel superiority randomized clinical trial., EClinicalMedicine, 48, 2022, p101445 Journal Article, 2022 DOI

Adam J Lewandowski, Betty Raman, Mariane Bertagnolli, Afifah Mohamed, Wilby Williamson, Joana Leal Pelado, Angus McCance, Winok Lapidaire, Stefan Neubauer, Paul Leeson, Association of preterm birth with myocardial fibrosis and diastolic dysfunction in young adulthood, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2021, 683-692 Journal Article, 2021

Caoilfhionn Ní Leidhin, Jason McMorrow, DanielCarey, LouiseNewman, Wilby Williamson, Andrew J.Fagan, Michael A.Chappell, Rose Anne Kenny, James F. Meaney, Silvin P. Knight, Age-related normative changes in cerebral perfusion: data from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), NeuroImage, 229, (117741), 2021 Journal Article, 2021 URL TARA - Full Text DOI

Cheryl MJ Tan, Adam J Lewandowski, Wilby Williamson, Odaro J Huckstep, Grace Z Yu, Roman Fischer, Jillian N Simon, Maryam Alsharqi, Afifah Mohamed, Paul Leeson, Mariane Bertagnolli, Proteomic Signature of Dysfunctional Circulating Endothelial Colony‐Forming Cells of Young Adults, Journal of the American Heart Association, 2021 Journal Article, 2021

Afifah Mohamed, Maciej Marciniak, Wilby Williamson, Odaro J Huckstep, Winok Lapidaire, Angus McCance, Stefan Neubauer, Paul Leeson, Adam J Lewandowski, Association of Systolic Blood Pressure Elevation With Disproportionate Left Ventricular Remodeling in Very Preterm-Born Young Adults: The Preterm Heart and Elevated Blood Pressure, JAMA cardiology, 2021, pdoi:10.1001/jamacardio.2021.09 Journal Article, 2021 DOI

Afifah Mohamed, Maciej Marciniak, Wilby Williamson, Odaro J Huckstep, Winok Lapidaire, Angus McCance, Stefan Neubauer, Paul Leeson, Adam J Lewandowski, Association of Systolic Blood Pressure Elevation With Disproportionate Left Ventricular Remodeling in Very Preterm-Born Young Adults: The Preterm Heart and Elevated Blood Pressure, JAMA cardiology, 2021, pdoi:10.1001/jamacardio.2021.09 Journal Article, 2021

Silvin P Knight, Eamon Laird, Wilby Williamson, John O'Connor, Louise Newman, Daniel Carey, Celine De Looze, Andrew J Fagan, Michael A Chappell, James F Meaney, Rose Anne Kenny, Obesity is associated with reduced cerebral blood flow-modified by physical activity, Neurobiology of Aging, 105, 2021, p35-47 Journal Article, 2021

Maryam Alsharqi, Odaro J Huckstep, Winok Lapidaire, Wilby Williamson, Afifah Mohamed, Cheryl MJ Tan, Jamie Kitt, Holger Burchert, Fernando Telles, Helen Dawes, Charlie Foster, Adam J Lewandowski, Paul Leeson, Left atrial strain predicts cardiovascular response to exercise in young adults with suboptimal blood pressure, Echocardiography, 2021 Journal Article, 2021 URL

Hirst, R.J. and Whelan, R. and Boyle, R. and Setti, A. and Knight, S. and O'Connor, J. and Williamson, W. and McMorrow, J. and Fagan, A.J. and Meaney, J.F. and Kenny, R.A. and De Looze, C. and Newell, F.N., Gray matter volume in the right angular gyrus is associated with differential patterns of multisensory integration with aging, Neurobiology of Aging, 100, 2021, p83-90 Journal Article, 2021 DOI TARA - Full Text

Boardman H, Lamata P, Lazdam M, et al., Variations in Cardiovascular Structure, Function, and Geometry in Midlife Associated With a History of Hypertensive Pregnancy., Hypertension., 2020, pdoi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.11 Journal Article, 2020

Céline De Looze, Wilby Williamson, Rebecca Hirst, John O'Connor, Silvin Knight, Cathal McCrory, Daniel Carey, Rose‐Anne Kenny, Impaired orthostatic heart rate recovery is associated with smaller thalamic volume: Results from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging (TILDA), Human Brain Mapping, 2020 Journal Article, 2020 URL DOI TARA - Full Text

Wassenaar TM, Williamson W, Johansen-Berg H, et al. , A Critical Evaluation of Systematic Reviews Assessing the Effect of Chronic Physical Activity on Academic Achievement, Cognition and the Brain in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review, Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. , 2020 Journal Article, 2020

Wassenaar TM, Williamson W, Johansen-Berg H, Dawes H, Roberts N, Foster C, Sexton CE., A critical evaluation of systematic reviews assessing the effect of chronic physical activity on academic achievement, cognition and the brain in children and adolescents: a systematic review., The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity, 17, (1), 2020, p79 Journal Article, 2020 DOI

Mohamed Afifah, Lamata Pablo, Williamson Wilby, Alsharqi Maryam, Tan Cheryl M.J., Burchert Holger, Huckstep Odaro J., Suriano Katie, Francis Jane M., Pelado Joana Leal, Monteiro Cristiana, Neubauer Stefan, Levy Philip T., Leeson Paul, Lewandowski Adam J., Multimodality Imaging Demonstrates Reduced Right-Ventricular Function Independent of Pulmonary Physiology in Moderately Preterm-Born Adults , 2020, p3403 - Journal Article, 2020 URL DOI

Huckstep OJ, Burchert H, Williamson W, et al., Impaired myocardial reserve underlies reduced exercise capacity and heart rate recovery in preterm-born young adults , Eur Heart J Cardiovasc Imaging, 2020 Journal Article, 2020

Frailty in older persons in, editor(s)O'Hanlon S, Smith M , A Comprehensive Guide to Rehabilitation of the Older Patient 4e, Elsevier, 2019, [Roe L, Williamson W, Romero-Ortuno R] Book Chapter, 2019 DOI

Williamson W, Leroi I., Thinking about dementia: is childhood too early?, International psychogeriatrics, 31, (12), 2019, p1689-1690 Journal Article, 2019 DOI

Williamson W, Huckstep OJ, Frangou E, Mohamed A, Tan C, Alsharqi M, Bertagnolli M, Lapidaire W, Newton J, Hanssen H, McManus R, Dawes H, Foster C, Lewandowski AJ, Leeson P., Trial of exercise to prevent HypeRtension in young adults (TEPHRA) a randomized controlled trial: study protocol., BMC cardiovascular disorders, 18, (1), 2018, p208 Journal Article, 2018 DOI

Huckstep OJ, Williamson W, Telles F, Burchert H, Bertagnolli M, Herdman C, Arnold L, Smillie R, Mohamed A, Boardman H, McCormick K, Neubauer S, Leeson P, Lewandowski AJ., Physiological Stress Elicits Impaired Left Ventricular Function in Preterm-Born Adults., Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 71, (12), 2018, p1347-1356 Journal Article, 2018 DOI

Williamson W, Lewandowski AJ, Forkert ND, Griffanti L, Okell TW, Betts J, Boardman H, Siepmann T, McKean D, Huckstep O, Francis JM, Neubauer S, Phellan R, Jenkinson M, Doherty A, Dawes H, Frangou E, Malamateniou C, Foster C, Leeson P., Association of Cardiovascular Risk Factors With MRI Indices of Cerebrovascular Structure and Function and White Matter Hyperintensities in Young Adults., JAMA, 320, (7), 2018, p665-673 Journal Article, 2018 DOI

Boardman H, Lewandowski AJ, Lazdam M, Kenworthy Y, Whitworth P, Zwager CL, Francis JM, Aye CY, Williamson W, Neubauer S, Leeson P., Aortic stiffness and blood pressure variability in young people: a multimodality investigation of central and peripheral vasculature., Journal of hypertension, 35, (3), 2017, p513-522 Journal Article, 2017 DOI

Williamson W, Foster C, Reid H, Kelly P, Lewandowski AJ, Boardman H, Roberts N, McCartney D, Huckstep O, Newton J, Dawes H, Gerry S, Leeson P., Will Exercise Advice Be Sufficient for Treatment of Young Adults With Prehypertension and Hypertension? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis., Hypertension (Dallas, Tex. : 1979), 68, (1), 2016, p78-87 Journal Article, 2016 DOI

Williamson W, Boardman H, Lewandowski AJ, Leeson P., Time to rethink physical activity advice and blood pressure: A role for occupation-based interventions?, European journal of preventive cardiology, 23, (10), 2016, p1051-1053 Journal Article, 2016 DOI

Davis EF, Lewandowski AJ, Aye C, Williamson W, Boardman H, Huang RC, Mori TA, Newnham J, Beilin LJ, Leeson P., Clinical cardiovascular risk during young adulthood in offspring of hypertensive pregnancies: insights from a 20-year prospective follow-up birth cohort., BMJ Open, 5, (6), 2015, pe008136 Journal Article, 2015 DOI

Williamson W, Fuld J, Westgate K, Sylvester K, Ekelund U, Brage S., Validity of reporting oxygen uptake efficiency slope from submaximal exercise using respiratory exchange ratio as secondary criterion., Pulmonary medicine, 2012, 2012, p874020 Journal Article, 2012 DOI

Down J, Williamson W., Early vs late tracheostomy in critical care., British journal of hospital medicine (London, England : 2005), 70, (9), 2009, p510-513 Journal Article, 2009 DOI

Lane TR, Williamson WJ, Brostoff JM., Carbon monoxide poisoning in a patient with carbon dioxide retention: a therapeutic challenge., Cases journal, 1, (1), 2008, p102 Journal Article, 2008 DOI

Research Expertise


My primary interest is preventive medicine focusing on early cardiovascular risk assessment, aging and physiological resilience and heart-brain health.


  • Title
    • Trial of Exercise to Prevent Hypertension in young Adults (TEPHRA
  • Summary
    • Background Hypertension prevalence in young adults has increased and is associated with increased incidence of cerebrovascular events in middle age. However, there is significant debate regards how to effectively manage young adult hypertension with recommendation to target lifestyle intervention. Surprisingly, no trials have investigated whether lifestyle advice developed for blood pressure control in older adults is effective in these younger populations. Methods/Design TEPHRA is an open label, parallel arm, randomised control trial in young adults with high normal and elevated blood pressure. The study will compare a supervised physical activity intervention consisting of 16 weeks structured exercise, physical activity self-monitoring and motivational coaching with a control group receiving usual care/minimal intervention. 200 young adults aged 18-35 years, including a subgroup of preterm born participants will be recruited through open recruitment and direct invitation. Participants will be randomised in a ratio of 1:1 to either the exercise intervention group or control group. Primary outcome will be ambulatory blood pressure monitoring at 16 weeks with measure of sustained effect at 12 months. Study measures include multimodal cardiovascular assessments; peripheral vascular measures, blood sampling, microvascular assessment, echocardiography, objective physical activity monitoring and a subgroup will complete multi-organ magnetic resonance imaging. Discussion The results of this trial will deliver a novel, randomised control trial that reports the effect of physical activity intervention on blood pressure integrated with detailed cardiovascular phenotyping in young adults. The results will support the development of future research and expand the evidence-based for management of blood pressure in young adult populations. Trial Registration: registration number NCT02723552, registered on 30 March, 2016. Keywords: Young Adult, Blood Pressure, Hypertension, Prehypertension, Preterm Birth, Randomised Trial, Exercise, Cardiac Imaging, Cardiac Remodelling, Cerebrovascular Health
  • Funding Agency
    • Wellcome Trust and British Heart Foundation
  • Date From
    • 2016
  • Date To
    • 2020



I am the national lead for exercise medicine on the Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine, sitting on the national council and educational committee. 2019

Council Member Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine

Awards and Honours

Senior Fellow Global Brain Health Institute 2020

Atlantic Fellow Global Brain Health Institute 2019