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Professional details.
Robert A. Robergs, PhD, CEP, AEP
Research Professor: Exercise Physiology & Biochemistry
School of Human Movement Studies
Building 1431; Office 1.28
Faculty of Science
Charles Sturt University
Panorama Avenue, Bathurst NSW, 2795
Phone: +61 2 6338 4579; Email: rrobergs@csu.edu.au

Personal Details.
2 Willman Place
South Bathurst, NSW 2795
Phone: +61 2 6331 4452; Email: rob@rrobergs.net

I decided to develop this as a combined written and photographic account of my past educational and professional experiences, and as such is actually a combined resume and biography.

1965 - 1971: Elwood Primary School, Melbourne, Australia
1971 - 1971: Burwood Heights Primary School, Melbourne, Australia
1972 - 1975: Burwood High School, Melbourne, Australia
1976 - 1977: Kingswood College, Box Hill, Melbourne, Australia
1978 - 1981: Rusden Teachers College (now Deakin University), Blackburn, Melbourne, Australia. B.Ed. - Physical Education (major) and Geography (minor)
1985 - 1987: Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA. M.A. - Sports Science & Cardiac Rehabilitation
1987 - 1990: Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, U.S.A. PhD. - Human Bioenergetics

My parents raised me in the inner Melbourne bay beach suburb of Elwood until I was 11 years old.  I attended Elwood Primary School until I was 11, and then we moved to Melbourne's eastern suburbs, where we lived not far from Burwood Primary and Burwood High Schools.  I completed my grade 6 year at Burwood Primary School, and progressed to Burwood High School for the next 4 years (form 1 to 4).  I think both schools have now been replaced with the expanded Deakin University campus. During this time, I was excelling at Australian Rules Football, captained the Victorian Schoolboys (under 15) team, made the all Australian Schoolboys team, and was drafted to play for Hawthorn Football Club when 15 years old.  I had moved from Burwood High to Kingswood College Senior School to complete my high school education thanks to my signing arrangement with Hawthorn. I played for the under 19 team, and infrequent games for the senior reserves team prior to a major shoulder injury requiring shoulder reconstruction surgery at 17 years of age (my senior year of High School at Kingswood College). So much for a future professional AFL football career! I did well in my high school education and was accepted into Physical Education at Rusden Teachers College (now consumed by Deakin University) in 1981. In those days, university education was free in Australia to those who qualified based on their year 12 higher school certificate scores from high school. I scraped in with the lowest mark accepted for that degree! Three years later, I was performing in the top 5 of all students of that year. In exercise physiology, I was at the top!

After 3 years of teaching at Irymple Technical School in Mildura, Victoria, I knew that there must be more to life, and work, and the educated mind.  I resigned from teaching in early 1985 and commenced a Masters Preliminary Year at the University of Western Australia. While there I studied organic chemistry and pure physiology, as I knew that to be a good exercise physiologist I would need to improve my command of the basic life sciences.  I received an A grade in organic chemistry, and a C grade in physiology (wow, really!!!!). At that time, the UWA Department of Human Movement was the funnel for all who were interested in a higher degree in exercise science within Australia. That was it.  My prior lecturer in exercise physiology from Rusden had always stressed the need to venture to the U.S.A. to pursue higher education. So I inquired, submitted numerous applications to the University of Southern California, the University of Maryland, Indiana State University, Kent State University, and Wake Forest University, my mentor's first choice for me. In April 1985, I was accepted into all of them, and I chose Wake Forest and their program of Sports Science and Cardiac Rehabilitation; a decision that changed my life forever, for the better; thus creating new roads to travel, new doors of opportunity to open, and the infusion into all that is possible for the well educated and directed mind, body and soul.

I savored everything about higher education at Wake Forest. I immersed myself into reading all that I could about exercise physiology research, went to as many talks, conferences, and artistic performances that I could afford, and grew in knowledge and character. I had to have more education. I wanted to conduct research in exercise physiology. I desired to learn more about muscle biochemistry and the physiological limits and determinants to exercise performance. The pursuit of a PhD was an obvious choice - well really, not a choice at all, a necessity.

I was accepted into the PhD program at the Ball State University Human Performance Laboratory (HPL), working under Dr. David Costill (Doc), who like any student of exercise physiology in the 1980's, was perceived to be iconic in stature; a deity figure in multiple topics within exercise physiology. To sum up my time at Ball State is simple. I lived my dream.  All I did was study and conduct research, while obviously learning as much as I could along the way and occasionally eating, sleeping and playing some weekend golf with Bill Fink; Doc's biochemist right-hand man. 

I could live this life as I was still single and unattached. I craved more and more learning, and I discovered at this early stage, thanks to all my reading, to question the published word.  So much of what I read was clearly driven by opinion and not fact!  Yes, reading, thinking, and questioning are three essential ingredients in education and science, that when combined, allow you to see the truth.  These three pillars have forged my career ever since. I am proud of my time at Ball State.  I excelled in the classroom and the laboratory, receiving A grades in all my subjects and graduating with a Dean's Citation Award For Academic Excellence.  My collaborative involvement in a diverse variety of published research from Ball State speaks for itself.  Furthermore, it is also worth noting that observing Doc's passion, productivity and excellence in research across many sub-disciplines of exercise physiology has had a profound influence on my own career and views of what/who a PhD educated exercise physiologist is.  For example, I think it is a fair statement to say that a well-trained scientist is able to ask pertinent questions across many different disciplines.  With the right equipment, training, and collaborative involvement, there is scope to research far more than the traditional "specialization".  Indeed, I often wonder whether a suitable definition of a research-based exercise physiologist is to research across the disciplines that influence exercise performance.  Otherwise we are just a cardiovascular physiologist, or a neuromuscular physiologist, or a metabolic biochemist, or physicist, or a psychologist, or sociologist with a particular interest in exercise.  Surely there is so much more value to a complete multidisciplinary understanding that adds to the worth of a well educated exercise physiologist. Shouldn't such broad knowledge allow a scientist to pursue a diverse research agenda?  Actually, I know it can, for my understanding of human physiology to exercise is far superior than the typical peer reviewer of my research who too often is clearly constrained by a singular physiological discipline understanding of exercise.

Higher Education Employment:
In 1989, as I was planning for my next progression in professional life, a job, the realization that job prospects were not great in Australia at that time forced me to look within the U.S.A.  Fortunately, a position opened at the University of New Mexico (UNM).  I applied and was offered the job. To this day, I swear that the university was not sincere in the job advertising, because I started at a salary of just $24,000/9 month year. No married academic, let alone with a family to feed, would have been able to live off that salary!  My income rose to respectable values quite quickly, and I progressed through the ranks of promotion with ease; first tenure and promotion to associate professor, then to Professor.  My time at UNM was incredibly hectic, as I taught a full load (3 subjects per semester), supervised a growing number of PhD students, and developed all teaching and research laboratories (exercise, clinical, biochemistry, altitude).

My return to Australia occurred at the end of 2010 after 2 years of part-time involvement in the Exercise Science program, School of Biomedical and Health Sciences at the University of Western Sydney under the leadership of Greg Kolt. Prior professional interaction with Frank Marino from Charles Sturt University made me aware of their interest to hiring a Professor.  I applied for this position after their multiple failed searches in prior years, and was successful.  I commenced work in January 2011.  I spent the next two years as Head of School, and am now back in my original position as a Research Professor.  Currently, I am heavily involved in Honours and PhD student supervision, have expanded the capabilities and capacities of the teaching and research laboratories, provide leadership in course accreditation with Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA), teach in the undergraduate and post-graduate courses, and mentor junior academic staff.

Textbook Writing:
In 1995, my then PhD student Scott Roberts asked me to collaborate on a textbook of exercise physiology.  I thought this was a great idea, and we both worked hard on this initial text.  We decided to focus on the smaller, yet limited competition graduate level market.  Mosby was an interested publisher, and we went with them because they did not have a competing exercise physiology text.  The irony here was that in the months leading up to a final version, Mosby was bought out by Times-Mirror, which dumped us into a multiple exercise physiology textbook environment within the same publisher.  The sale also caused incomplete final editorial screening and feedback to us on book contents, and all in all, it ended as a bad experience for us.  Our second text focused on the undergraduate market, and even though it went through a second edition, and one translated to Portuguese, multiple text competition within the same publisher meant that the new kid on the block was to go by the wayside.  By the mid-2000's, I was fed up with commercial retail (for profit) textbook publishers.

In 2008, while at UNM, I took a sabbatical, and as I was then very proficient in LabVIEW data-flow programming, I decided to write an entirely new textbook with content programmed into LabVIEW to make the book electronic and highly interactive. Despite commercial publisher superficial interest, I have not been ale to find a publisher, so I sell this electronic version myself. However, as of this website, I now offer the pdf version of all the book content as a free investment back to all that is exercise physiology.  The link to this content is found within my "My Business Site" linked from my "Home" page. I continue to add Topics to this electronic text, and the interactive LabVIEW version.

As an exercise physiologist, my specialty within physiology is exercise. To be an exercise physiologist is to be unique because of our multiple systems physiology education and training. I am naturally motivated to research a variety of topics within exercise physiology, because I am skilled enough to do that. I am passionate about knowing more and more about exercise physiology. As such, over the last decades, I have research topics spanning a broad collection of sub-disciplines within exercise physiology; exercise and altitude/hypoxia; exercise and thermal stress; sports nutrition; glycerol hydration; muscle biochemistry; muscle histology; exercise and cardiovascular regulation; exercise and blood pressure; heat acclimation; heart rate variability; VO2max; metabolic acidosis; oxygen cost of ventilation during exercise; exercise and substrate oxidation; metabolic thresholds; muscle phosphate magnetic resonance spectroscopy; proton spectroscopy of muscle lipids; muscle contractile power; protocol development, and more. Lately, my scholarship is directed by the next "poor" published manuscript I read.  This has lead me to research VO2 kinetics to steady state; Wingate testing; and further work on improving the scientific validity of the equipment and procedures involved in the method of indirect calorimetry.

Coupled to all of this is my responsibility to mentor the PhD students who place their future careers in my responsibility. I do not dictate to them what I want them to research. Rather, I discuss their interests, where I see the next "demand" for research in exercise physiology, and the varied research skill sets they need to be competitive in a constrained employment market.  Once we cover all these issues, we home in on a range of topics, and I help them master this.  Along the way, I learn more and more about the field of exercise physiology.

LabVIEW Dataflow Progamming:
LabVIEW is a programming method developed by National Instruments way back in the 1970's. I was inspired to learn LabVIEW programming by a biomechanist (Angus Burnett) who was working at Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia during my sabbatical there in 2000. At that time, I was frustrated by the constraints imposed on my research by inappropriate commercial software for processing breath-by-breath VO2 data. Angus opened my mind to the unconstrained (well, okay, less constrained!) world of independent software programming in science. LabVIEW was the perfect option for this. I studied BASIC programming during my PhD at Ball State, and that served me well from a terminology and programming approach perspective.  The graphic interface of LabVIEW, and how it totally aligned with how I think, did the rest.  Within 3 years, I was an "advanced" programmer thanks in part to the enormous support I received at UNM from the skilled LabVIEW engineers that serviced the state of New Mexico and the numerous government funded labs sprinkled throughout Albuquerque and across the state (e.g. Sandia Labs, Los Alamos, etc.).

My skill in LabVIEW programming has made me a better scientist. Do not under-interpret this statement.  I would say that I am an exceptional scientist now, as I can acquire data through my own skills in instrument control, electrical and medical engineering, and data acquisition programming.  I can then perform unconstrained post-acquisition data processing, all of which can be developed and completed to suit the right question while adhering to the best scientific process I am capable of.  In other words, I no longer have to ask my questions based on the large filter of what commercial software I have to collect and then process my data!

I now do my best to teach my PhD students as much about LabVIEW as I can. They will all be better scientists if they can control their own data collection and post-acquisition data processing.