Associate Professor Kieron Rooney

Associate Professor Kieron Rooney

BSc(Hons); PhD (Biochemistry); Graduate Certificate Education Studies (Higher Education); Registered Nutritionist (RNutr.)
Associate Professor
Associate Professor Kieron Rooney

Kieron joined the Faculty of Health Sciences in 2003 as a lecturer of the Biochemistry of Exercise and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2012 and then Associate Professor in 2019.

During this time Kieron has been responsible for the design and implementation of curriculum in units of study focussed on metabolic biochemistry and exercise physiology to both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. Kieron’s research portfolio has included both human and small animal studies investigating the role of diet and physical activity on parameters of fuel storage and utilisation as they pertain to dysregulated metabolic states.

Kieron is currently the Head of the Discipline of Exercise and Sport Science (2020 - present); Co-Lead for the Charles Perkins centre Bias in Research node (2020 - present); and Co-Lead of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sport and Physical Activity Research and TeAching Network (SPARTAN; 2021 - present).

ORCID ID:0000-0001-6563-7617

Kieron’s research portfolio is multi-disciplinary spanning each of basic science rodent work; human clinical practice; and influencing policy. To March 2022, Kieron has been awarded a career total of approx. $2.4M of research funding including Australian Research Council; National Health and Medical Research Council, Industry and Philanthropic funding. Kieron is committed to research that is clinically relevant and brings value to the community. Kieron embraces research designs that are translational, evidence based and considerate of the patient voice.

Kieron's primary research interests currently include the influence of habitual eating habits and physical activity on health and performance; the detrimental effects of excess sugar consumption and the influence of non-nutritive sweeteners in sugar withdrawal and recovery; and the barriers and facilitators to developing Best Practice in the conduct and use of animals for scientific purposes.

Kieron's core teaching activities include the delivery of Biochemistry content to students in Applied Sciences Degrees. Biochemistry is traditionally considered a difficult subject by students of pure science let alone those completing a professional degree. And as a unit whose content is largely mechanistic and theoretical, the relevance to a practice based profession is not immediately evident to the student learner. Kieron attempts to achieve an enthusiastic, inspired and motivated learning environment that echoes the discussions of Kornelsen and what he describes as "Teaching With Presence"

Since 2003, Kieron's primary teaching hsa included curriculum development in the areas of Biochemistry of Exercise (Macronutrient Storage and Utilisation; Bioenergetics) and Physiological Adaptations to training.

Kieron is currently supervising 4 PhD students and 1 research honours student. Kieron has previously supervised 12 PhD students and 14 Masters by Research students and 12 research honours students to completion.

Metabolic and Behavioural effects of excess sugar consumption and the role of non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS) in sugar withdrawal and recovery (Basic Science; Clinical and Public Health):Kieron commenced a collaboration with Emeritus Prof. Bob Boakes in 2009 that investigated the impact of excess sugar consumption on both metabolic and Behavioural outcomes. This work attracted ARC-DP funding in 2014-2016 and 2017-2019 and has included a series of rodent mechanistic studies and a human clinical trial that first sought to document the negative effects of excess sugar consumption and in the later years, the influence of the consumption of NNS on the potential to recover when sugar consumption is reduced. Current topics of investigation include understanding community attitudes and consumption patterns of NNS; and the development of ecologically valid rodent models for investigations into the effect of sugar and NNS consumption.

Lower Carbohydrate Diets in Health and Performance (Clinical):Kieron was introduced to the potential for mild carbohydrate restriction to improve weight management when he was invited by then Associate Professor Helen O'Connor to collaborate on the industry funded Weight Loss in Overweight Women (WOW) study in 2005. Since then Kieron has developed a research stream that currently investigates the role of low carbohydrate, high fat, minimally processed ketogenic diets as adjuncts to management of patients with type 1 diabetes or Chronic Pain.

Physical Activity in the management of Substance Use Disorder (Clinical):Kieron was introduced to the potential for exercise to influence SUD management when he was invited by Professors Iain McGregor and Nick Lintzeris to collaborate on an investigation for exercise to re-intoxicate cannabis users in 2010. That work commenced in rodent mechanistic studies and translated to human Clinical trials with support from the NHMRC (2014-2016). Since then Kieron has developed a research stream that currently investigates the capacity for patients with SUD to perform exercise, in aid of developing exercise programs that may enhance treatment outcomes for patients undergoing SUD management.

Barriers and facilitators to best practice in the conduct and use of animals for scientific purposes (Basic Science and Policy Influence):In 2017, the NHMRC released the document EA20 – Best Practice methodology in the use of animals for scientific purposes, identifying 21 flaws in the quality of animal research.In response to document EA20, Kieron, in collaboration with Prof. Lisa Bero established a working party that seeks to understand both, how such poor practices have developed, and strategies for enhancing uptake of best practice methodologies globally.

  • Nutrition Society of Australia
  • Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society (council member)
  • SYRCLE Ambassador
  • Sydney University Animal Ethics Committee
  • Vice-Chancellor representative NSW Department of Primary Industry Animal Research Review Panel
  • National Centre for 3Rs ARRIVE Guidelines revision working party (2019)
  • NHMRC Award for Research Quality on behalf of the Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney (2021)
Obesity, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease, Neurosciences and Mental Health, Healthy Ageing
Project titleResearch student
An investigation of nutrition and health status of Masters AthletesSheran GUO
Is lactate a clinically relevant metabolite of interest?Clorinda HOGAN


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Selected Grants


  • An investigation into pre-clinical trial registration - On the path to enhancing best practice methodology in the use of animals for scientific purposes. , Rooney K, Chamuleau S, Bero L, Rivory L, VanderNaald M, Neef K, Wever K, Luijk J, Leenaars M, Lidbury B, Office of Global Engagement/Partnership Collaboration Awards


  • Withdrawal and relapse to sugar drinks, Rooney K, Boakes R, Australian Research Council (ARC)/Discovery Projects (DP)
  • How we eat and exercise. An investigation of the interaction between macronutrientcomposition of habitual diet and physiological outcomes of energy expenditure duringexercise, Rooney K, Gwinn T, Byrne N, Stevenson R, Hancock D, Reeves A, Coffey V, Mackenzie K, Collaborative Research Network for Advancing Exercise & Sports Science (CRN-AESS)/Research Capacity Building Seeding Grant Scheme

In the media

Selected Community Engagement (Media):


Interviewed / Mentioned: