Today we have part one of a two-part interview with Dr. Greg Potter, a British researcher who specializes in circadian biology, sleep, diet, and metabolism. Greg gained attention in the U.S. and Europe for his research into the importance of biological rhythms and sleep and how they affect people’s lives. His work has been featured in the BBC World Service, the Washington Post, Reuters and other scientific journals and news outlets.
In addition to being a science writer and sleep consultant, Greg also is an entrepreneur who co-founded Resilient Nutrition in 2020, a company that leverages science to produce foods and supplements geared toward helping people feel and perform better. Greg earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in exercise science from Loughborough University in England before heading off to the University of Leeds for his Ph.D.
Ken Ford’s STEM-Talk co-host Dawn Kernagis is traveling and was not able to join him for today’s interview with Greg. In this first part of the interview, Ken talks to Greg about his youth and academic background and how he became interested in circadian biology. Greg also goes into detail about why he decided to specialize in sleep and what his research has taught him about the role and importance of melatonin, a hormone that helps control the body’s sleep cycle. Be on the lookout for part two of Ken’s interview with Greg, which covers a number of topics ranging from insomnia, sleep apnea, time-restricted eating, exercise, and nutrition.
[00:05:03] Ken opens the interview asking if it’s true that Greg’s curiosity and fascination with building things as a child led him to tell his uncle he wanted to be an engineer when he grew up.
[00:06:22] Greg talks about how he and his older siblings lived on the campus of the school where their parents taught.
[00:07:35] Ken asks Greg why he abandoned the idea of being an engineer and instead applied for an art scholarship to senior school.
[00:08:28] Ken asks what kind of art Greg liked to make.
[00:09:17} Ken asks how a rugby injury in Greg’s childhood sparked his initial interest in science.
[00:10:33] Ken asks why Greg took a year off before attending university, and what he did during that time.
[00:11:04] Greg talks about his first experience with research, which came during a physiological society studentship in his second year of university, where he worked under Dr. Johnathan Folland.
[00:12:59] Ken asks about Greg’s experiences as an undergrad when he coached sprinters and worked as a personal trainer and massage therapist.
[00:14:18] Ken mentions that Greg must have been a good coach because in addition to training sprinters, he also helped two men break the Atlantic Rowing World Record.
[00:16:01] Ken mentions that Greg finished his undergraduate degree in exercise science at Loughborough around the same time as the 2012 London Olympic games. The Great Britain Olympic Team used Loughborough as its base. Greg talks about what a great experience that was for him as a recent graduate who had an interest in elite athletic performance.
[00:16:42] Ken asks about Greg’s experience in between his undergraduate and graduate studies, where he took an internship in the sports science and sports medicine department of the Rugby Football Union.
[00:17:36] Ken mentions that while at Loughborough pursing a master’s degree, Greg began to pay more attention to the role of biological rhythms and sleep in people’s lives. That prompted him to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Leeds, researching circadian rhythms, sleep, nutrition, and metabolism. Ken asks why Greg developed an interest in these research topics and what led him to the University of Leeds.
[00:19:58] Ken mentions that Greg has become best...