Dr Federico Villagra Povina BSc (Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Spain); MSc (Birmingham University); PhD (Birmingham University)

Dr Federico Villagra Povina

Lecturer in Exercise and Health Physiology

Contact Details


Federico received a BSc in Sport Sciences (INEF) from Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (Spain) & completed an MSc by research at Birmingham University in the area of human muscle Physiology. He completed his PhD thesis in the area of Motor Control of human tremors in health & disease in 1995, then moved to the University of Kansas Medical Centre where he undertook his first Post-doctoral Fellowship with Dr William C. Koller in the area of controlling tremor in Parkinson's Disease.

Between 1997 & 2002 Federico worked at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne with Professor Janet Eyre & Simon Miller to investigate how peripheral or central nervous system damage early in life can affect subsequent brain development & lead to abnormal patterns of brain organisation & function. Between 2003 & 2007 Federico worked at the School of Medicine at the University of Maryland (USA) as a Research Assistant Professor. Concurrently he working as an investigator in the Department of Neurology at Johns Hopkins University where he collaborated with Drs Hanley, Luft, Macko & others in understanding the principles & mechanisms underlying upper & lower extremity stroke rehabilitation & contributing to provide a scientific basis for treating this population & other neurological disabilities with exercise as main factor of recovering motor function.

Between 2007 & 2012 Federico worked at the University of Navarra in Pamplona investigating the recovery of movement control after strokes & in Parkinson's Disease using neuroimaging & non-invasive neurophysiological techniques (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation) & exercise as a therapy. Between 2013 & 2015 he contributed to establishing a new area in Sport Medicine at the Clinic University of Navarra (Spain) where the principle of "Exercise is Medicine" was applied to prevent & treat patients suffering from chronic diseases. Federico joined Aberystwyth University in January 2016 as a Lecturer in Exercise & Health Physiology.

Additional Information

My teaching currently is on the Principles of the cardiorespiratory system related to health and disease. I am also teaching Research Methods to First and Second Year students of Exercise Sciences. I am currently doing a Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching in Higher Education (PGCTHE) at Aberystwyth University.

Cardiovascular Physiology and Research Methods (Statistics); Research in the area of Neuroscience (Motor Control in health and Diseases) and Exercise Medicine (Prevention and treatment of chronic diseases with Exercise).

My research interest are in the area of Motor control in health and disease and in the application of Exercise as a form of Medicine to prevent and treat chronic diseases.




Martínez, M., Valencia, M., Vidorreta, M., Luis, E.O., Castellanos, G., Villagra, F., Fernández-Seara, M.A., Pastor, M.A. 2016. Trade-off between frequency and precision during stepping movements: Kinematic and BOLD brain activation patterns. Human Brain Mapping 37 (5) pp. 1722-1737. 10.1002/hbm.23131 Cadair


Los Arcos, A., Vázquez, J.S., Martín, J., Lerga, J., Sánchez, F., Villagra, F., Zulueta, J.J. 2015. Effects of Small-Sided Games vs. Interval Training in Aerobic Fitness and Physical Enjoyment in Young Elite Soccer Players. PLoS One 10 (9) e0137224 10.1371/journal.pone.0137224 Cadair


Martinez, M., Villagra, F., Loayza, F., Vidorreta, M., Arrondo, G., Luis, E., Diaz, J., Echeverria, M., Fernández-Seara, M.A., Pastor, M.A. 2014. MRI-compatible device for examining brain activation related to stepping. IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging 33 (5) pp. 1044-1053. 10.1109/TMI.2014.2301493 Cadair

Cancela, J., Pastorino, M., Arredondo, M.T., Nikita, K.S., Villagra Povina, F., Pastor, M.A. 2014. Feasibility study of a wearable system based on a wireless body area network for gait assessment in Parkinson's disease patients. Sensors 14 (3) pp. 4618-4633. 10.3390/s140304618 Cadair


Fernández-Seara, M.A., Mengual, E., Vidorreta, M., Aznárez-Sanado, M., Loayza, F.R., Villagra, F., Irigoyen, J., Pastor, M.A. 2012. Cortical hypoperfusion in Parkinson's disease assessed using arterial spin labeled perfusion MRI. NeuroImage 59 (3) pp. 2743-2750. 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.10.033 Cadair


Cancela, J., Pastorino, M., Arredondo, M.T., Pansera, M., Pastor-Sanz, L., Villagra, F., Pastor, M.A., Gonzalez, A.P. 2011. Gait assessment in Parkinson's disease patients through a network of wearable accelerometers in unsupervised environments. Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society 2011 pp. 2233-6. 10.1109/IEMBS.2011.6090423 Cadair

Pastorino, M., Cancela, J., Arredondo, M.T., Pansera, M., Pastor-Sanz, L., Villagra, F., Pastor, M.A., Martin, J.A. 2011. Assessment of Bradykinesia in Parkinson's disease patients through a multi-parametric system. Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society 2011 2011 Annual International Conference . pp. 1810-3. 10.1109/IEMBS.2011.6090516 Cadair


Wheaton, L.A., Villagra, F., Hanley, D.F., Macko, R.F., Forrester, L.W. 2009. Reliability of TMS motor evoked potentials in quadriceps of subjects with chronic hemiparesis after stroke. Journal of the Neurological Sciences 276 (1-2) pp. 115-117. 10.1016/j.jns.2008.09.012 Cadair


Luft, A.R., Macko, R.F., Forrester, L.W., Villagra, F., Ivey, F., Sorkin, J.D., Whitall, J., McCombe-Waller, S., Katzel, L., Goldberg, A.P., Hanley, D.F. 2008. Treadmill exercise activates subcortical neural networks and improves walking after stroke: a randomized controlled trial. Stroke 39 (12) pp. 3341-3350. 10.1161/STROKEAHA.108.527531 Cadair

McCombe Waller, S., Forrester, L., Villagra, F., Whitall, J. 2008. Intracortical inhibition and facilitation with unilateral dominant, unilateral nondominant and bilateral movement tasks in left- and right-handed adults. Journal of the Neurological Sciences 269 (1-2) pp. 96-104. 10.1016/j.jns.2007.12.033 Cadair


Luft, A.R., Forrester, L., Macko, R.F., McCombe-Waller, S., Whitall, J., Villagra, F., Hanley, D.F. 2005. Brain activation of lower extremity movement in chronically impaired stroke survivors. NeuroImage 26 (1) pp. 184-194. 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2005.01.027 Cadair


Dobson, C.B., Villagra, F., Clowry, G.J., Smith, M., Kenwrick, S., Donnai, D., Miller, S., Eyre, J.A. 2001. Abnormal corticospinal function but normal axonal guidance in human L1CAM mutations. Brain 124 (12) pp. 2393-23406. 10.1093/brain/124.12.2393 Cadair

Eyre, J.A., Taylor, J.P., Villagra, F., Smith, M., Miller, S. 2001. Evidence of activity-dependent withdrawal of corticospinal projections during human development. Neurology 57 (9) pp. 1543-54. 10.​1212/​WNL.​57.​9.​1543 Cadair


Busenbark, K., Barnes, P., Lyons, K., Ince, D., Villagra, F., Koller, W.C. 1996. Accuracy of reported family histories of essential tremor. Neurology 47 (1) pp. 264-265. 10.​1212/​WNL.​47.​1.​264 Cadair


Lakie, M., Villagra, F., Bowman, I., Wilby, R. 1995. Shooting performance is related to forearm temperature and hand tremor size. Journal of Sports Sciences 13 (4) pp. 313-320. 10.1080/02640419508732245 Cadair


Lakie, M., Frymann, K., Villagra, F., Jakeman, P. 1994. The effect of alcohol on physiological tremor. Experimental Physiology 79 (2) pp. 273-276. 10.1113/expphysiol.1994.sp003763 Cadair

Lakie, M., Walsh, E.G., Arblaster, L.A., Villagra, F., Roberts, R.C. 1994. Limb temperature and human tremors. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 57 (1) pp. 35-42. 10.1136/jnnp.57.1.35 Cadair


Villagra, F., Cooke, C.B., McDonagh, M.J.N. 1993. Metabolic cost and efficiency in two forms of squatting exercise in children and adults. European Journal of Applied Physiology European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology 67 (6) pp. 549-553. 10.1007/BF00241653 Cadair