Carolyn Greig




Dr Carolyn A Greig



Senior Research Fellow





0131 242 6940


0131 242 6371


Room S1642, Geriatric Medicine, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, 51 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 5SA


I graduated from Newcastle University (BSc Hons Physiology in 1981. I moved to London where I obtained a MSc in Human and Applied Physiology at King's College London (1982) and a Sports Council funded PhD from the Polytechnic of North London under the supervision of Prof Tony Sargeant (1988). Following 2 years as a Lecturer in Exercise Physiology at St Mary's College of Higher Education, Strawberry Hill, I joined Prof Archie Young at the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, as a Lecturer in Human and Applied Physiology in the Department of Geriatric Medicine. I created a Human Performance Laboratory and embarked on a programme of work based on development of methods of measurement and strategies to improve physical performance and functional ability in older people. During this time I trained the field workers who made the functional ability measurements included in the English National Fitness Survey, supervised MSc and PhD students and was the first non-clinical recipient of the Dhole Bursary of the British Geriatrics Society. From 1992-2000 I took a career break and moved to Edinburgh where I worked as a part-time visiting lecturer at Queen Margaret University College, before resuming my research career at Edinburgh University (2000-).


Professional Membership

· The Physiological Society

· Society for Sarcopenia, Cachexia and Wasting Disorders


Broad Areas of interest:






· Molecular and functional biomarkers for skeletal muscle frailty (main collaborators Prof KCH Fearon/ Prof JA Ross)


· Clinical trials in cancer cachexia (main collaborator Prof KCH Fearon)

· Imaging biomarkers of muscle loss (collaborators Dr Calum Gray, Dr Tom MacGillivray, Prof Neil Roberts)

· Factors influencing the responsiveness of healthy elderly people to physical training (collaborator Dr Philip Atherton)

· Exercise after stroke/ fatigue after stroke (collaborator Dr GE Mead)


· The role of glucocorticoids in the regulation of muscle mass in sarcopenia/ cachexia (collaborators Prof KCH Fearon, Dr I Gallagher, Prof B Walker, Dr R Andrew, Prof K Chapman)



· Supervision of University of Edinburgh undergraduate (hons.) projects and postgraduate researchers

 · Contributor to the Copenhagen Institute of Sports Medicine/ University of Copenhagen International PhD course "Exercise physiology in basic and applied research "



Methodological Skills

 · Design and conduct of studies of exercise and muscle function in very elderly people/ frail patient groups (e.g. upper GI cancer, stroke, hip fracture)

 · Design, conduct and co-ordination of clinical trials for cachexia/ sarcopenia in upper GI cancer, elderly community dwelling men and women


Highlights of previous research


First non-clinical recipient of the Dhole Bursary of the British Geriatrics Society (1990)

Hobbies & interests

Further information


Running (mainly 5-10K) plus an annual crack at the Great North Run (21K)

I am the Lead for the Physiological Society’s Human and Exercise themed group, a member of South East Scotland Research Ethics Committee, a member of the Exercise after Stroke Reference Group, a member of the Cachexia network and Co-ordinator of the NIHR Age and Ageing Specialty Group (Scotland). 

Ongoing research projects

1.Molecular and functional biomarkers for skeletal muscle frailty

Funded by Cancer Research UK, the Translational Medicine Research Collaboration, the Melville Trust and the Cachexia network. PI KCH Fearon, Professor of Surgical Oncology, University of Edinburgh.

This is a programme of research in cancer cachexia/ sarcopenia. We hypothesise that there are early changes influencing regulation of muscle mass in sarcopenia/ cancer cachexia which may be identified (as well as the underlying mechanisms) from molecular/ biochemical changes in blood, urine, tumour and skeletal muscle. If early markers of cancer cachexia can be identified, such patients could benefit from entry into trials of prophylactic treatment of cancer. We are also researching measurement techniques and patient-centred outcomes having utility in both cachexia and sarcopenia research.


I am the Lead for the Physiological Society’s Human and Exercise themed group, a member of South East Scotland Research Ethics Committee, a member of the Exercise after Stroke Reference Group, a member of the Cachexia network and Co-ordinator of the NIHR Age and Ageing Specialty Group (Scotland).

1.1 Cancer cachexia/ sarcopenia Translational Medicine Research Collaboration (co-PI with Prof KCH Fearon, Prof JA Ross)


1.2 Muscle protein synthesis as an outcome measure for intervention studies in cancer cachexia (co-I with Dr A MacDonald, Prof JA Ross, Prof T Preston, Prof KCH Fearon)

1.3 Direct objective physical activity monitoring as an outcome for studies of ageing/ cancer cachexia (collaborators Prof KCH Fearon, Dr E Ferriolli, University of Sao Paolo and Dr Sebastien Chastin, Glasgow Caledonian University)

2. Clinical trials in cancer cachexia

Funded by Acacia Pharma Ltd., Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Danone Nutricia. Main collaborator Prof KCH Fearon, University of Edinburgh

The primary outcome measures of these trials in advanced upper GI cancer patients and in elderly community dwelling men and women is muscle mass and function.

3. Imaging biomarkers of muscle loss

Funded by Research into Ageing (now Age UK), the Moray Endowment Fund and the Edinburgh University small project grant. Main collaborators Dr Calum Gray, Prof Neil Roberts Dr T MacGillivray

These are exploratory studies, based in the Clinical Research Imaging Centre in which we are using state of the art imaging techniques to measure muscle cross-sectional area, volume, metabolism and stiffness. These function functional markers may be used not only as outcome measures in their own right but also as correlates of putative molecular/ biochemical markers (see 1. Molecular and functional biomarkers for skeletal muscle frailty).


3.1 Magnetic Resonance Elastography
3.2 3D freehand ultrasound
3.3 Magnetic Resonance Imaging
3.4 Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

4. Factors influencing the responsiveness of healthy elderly people to acute & chronic exercise

The purpose of this work which began as a Research into Ageing funded Research Fellowship, is to provide new insights into the responsiveness of elderly muscle to a hypertrophic stimulus and the underlying adaptive mechanisms. An improvement in our understanding of how old human muscle adapts to an intended rehabilitative stimulus may help to explain the differences in the speed and degree of recovery observed in frail elderly patients following acute illness or surgery. This knowledge will enable the development of effective countermeasures against physical frailty and the optimisation of rehabilitative strategies designed to maintain physical independence.


5. Exercise/ fatigue after stroke

Funded by the Chief Scientist Office and The Stroke Association (PI Dr GE Mead)

5.1 Fatigue after stroke: a longitudinal cohort study of frequency, prognosis and relationship with physical activity and physical deconditioning. Chief Scientist Office (co-I with Dr GE Mead (principal), Prof M Dennis, Prof M Sharpe, Dr A MacLullich, Dr S Lewis)
5.2 Using pedometers to promote physical activity in patients after stroke. The Stroke Association PhD Fellowship awarded to Sarah Carroll July (Dr CA Greig co-Supervisor, Dr GE Mead Principal Supervisor)


6. Influence of glucocorticoids on muscle function in sarcopenia/ cancer cachexia

Main collaborators Prof KCH Fearon, Prof K Chapman, Dr R Andrew, Prof B Walker, Prof A MacLullich

The purpose of this research is to investigate the role of glucocorticoid dysregulation as a potential mechanism of muscle loss in sarcopenia/ cancer cachexia.


Publications (2003 onwards):

MacDonald A, Greig CA, Baracos V. The advantages and limitations of cross-sectional body composition analysis. Current opinion in supportive and palliative care. Accepted for publication.

Greig CA, Gray C, Rankin D, Young A, Mann V, Noble B, Atherton PA. Blunting of adaptive responses to resistance exercise training in women over 75 y. J Exper Gerontol, 2011. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2011.07.010.

Ferriolli E, Skipworth RJE, Hendry P, Scott A, , Stensteth J, Dahele M, Wall L, Greig C, Fallon M, Strasser F, Preston T, Fearon KCH. Physical activity monitoring: a responsive and meaningful patient-centred outcome for surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy? Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. Accepted for publication.

Stephens NA, Skipworth RJE, MacDonald A, Greig CA, Ross JA, Fearon KCH. Intramyocellular lipid droplets increase with progression of weight loss in cancer patients. J Cachex Sarcopenia Muscle. 2011 Jun;2(2):111-117. Epub 2011 May 31.

Chastin SFM, Ferriolli E, Stephens NA, Fearon KCH, Greig C. Relationship between sedentary behaviour, physical activity, muscle quality and body composition in healthy older adults. Age Ageing. 2011 Jul 12. [Epub ahead of print].

Husi H, Stephens N, Cronshaw A, MacDonald A, Gallagher I, Greig C, Fearon KCH, Ross JA. Proteomic analysis of urinary upper gastrointestinal cancer markers. Proteomics Clin Appl. 2011 Jun;5(5-6):289-99. doi: 10.1002/prca.201000107. Epub 2011 Apr 28.

Lewis SJ, Barugh AJ, Greig CA,  Saunders DH, Fitzsimons C, Dinan-Young S, Young A, Mead GE. Is Fatigue After Stroke Associated With Physical Deconditioning? A Cross-Sectional Study in Ambulatory Stroke Survivors. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2011 Feb;92 (2):295-8.

Ratkevicius A, Joyson A, Selmer I, Dhanani T, Grierson C, Tommasi AM, DeVries A, Rauchhaus P, Crowther D, Alesci S, Yaworsky P, Gilbert F, Redpath TW, Brady J, Fearon KCH, Reid D, Greig CA. Wackerhage H. Serum concentrations of myostatin and myostatin-interacting proteins do not differ between young and sarcopenic, elderly men. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2011 Mar 7.

Gray C, MacGillivray TJ, Eeley C, Stephens NA, Fearon KCH, Greig CA.
Magnetic resonance imaging with k-means clustering objectively measures whole muscle volume compartments in sarcopenia/cancer cachexia. Clinical Nutrition 2011; 30: 106-111. Epub 2010 Aug 19.

Saunders D, Greig C, Young A, Mead G, 2010
Physical Fitness Training for Patients with Stroke: An Updated Review. Stroke, Vol. 41(3), pp. 160-161.

Greig CA, Atherton PJ, Rennie MJ. Can an NSAID a day keep muscle wasting away?
Clinical Perspective. J Physiol 587.24 (2009) pp 5799–5800.

Jones DA, Greig CA, The control of muscle contraction, Surgery (2009), doi:10.1016/ j.mpsur.2009.10.017

Greig CA, Jones DA. Muscle physiology, Surgery (2009), doi:10.1016/ j.mpsur.2009.10.019

MacGillivray T J, Ross E, Simpson AHRW, Greig CA. 3D Freehand Ultrasound for in vivo Determination of Human Skeletal MuscleVolume Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology. 2009, 35 (6): 928-935.

Saunders D, Greig C, Young A, Mead G. Physical fitness training for stroke patients. Updated systematic review for the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Vol. Issue 4 2009.

Mead GE, Morley W, Campbell P, Greig CA, McMurdo M, Lawlor DA. Exercise for depression. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD004366. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004366.pub3.

Carin-Levy G, Greig CA, Lewis SJ, Stewart A, Young A, Mead GE. The effect of different body positions on anthropometric measurements and derived estimates of body composition. International Journal of Body Composition Research 2008; 6 (1): 17-20.

Saunders DH, Greig CA, Young A, Mead GE. Association of activity limitations and lower-limb explosive extensor power in ambulatory people with stroke. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2008; 89 (4): 677-683.

Lynch J, Mead GE, Greig CA, Young A, Lewis S, Sharpe M. Development and evaluation of a case definition for fatigue after stroke. J Psychosom Res 2007; 63:539-544.

Mead GE, Greig CA, Cunningham I, Lewis SJ, Dinan S, Saunders DH, Fitzsimons C, Young A. Stroke: a randomized trial of exercise or relaxation. J Am Geriatr Soc 2007; 55 (6): 892-899.

Mead G, Lynch J, Greig C, Young A, Lewis S, Sharpe M. Evaluation of fatigue scales in stroke patients Stroke. 2007 Jul; 38 (7): 2090-5. Epub 2007 May 24.

Fitzsimons C.F, Simpson AHRW, Young A, Greig C.
Oxygen uptake kinetics measured at the onset of comfortable self-paced walking in elderly women after hip fracture. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2007 Jun; 100 (3): 355-62. Epub 2007 Apr 12.

Greig CA, Hameed M, Young A, Goldspink G, Noble B.
Skeletal muscle IGF-I isoform expression in healthy women after isometric exercise. Growth Horm IGF Res. 2006 Oct-Dec;16(5-6):373-6.

Carin-Levy G, Greig C, Lewis S, Hannan J, Young A, Mead G. Longitudinal changes in muscle strength and mass after stroke. Cerebrovasc Dis 2006; 21:201-207.

Fitzsimons C, Greig C, Saunders D, Lewis S, Shenkin S, Lavery C, Young A.
Response to walking speed instructions: Implications for health promotion in old age. Journal of Physical Activity and Aging 2005, 13: 172-183, 2005.

Saunders DH, Greig CA, Young A, Mead G.E. Physical fitness training for stroke patients. Stroke 2004, 35: 2235, 2004.

Saunders DH, Greig CA, Young A, Mead G.E. Physical fitness training for stroke patients. (Cochrane Review). In: The Cochrane Library, Issue 1, 2004. Chichester UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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