Our Team

At the Institute of Performance Nutrition (“the IOPN”) we have assembled a special team of expert practitioners and academics as our educators who are led by Founder and Director Dr Laurent Bannock, all of whom are highly qualified and well-respected professionals within the field. Such expertise helps to ensure that the professional educational products that we offer are unparalleled and remain at the forefront of competition.

Our experts have significant experience working both within the elite athlete and professional sports team settings as well as active members of the general public. As a result they have collaborated with an impressive variety of elite teams and individual athletes, including FIFA World Cup and English Premiership / Championship league football teams, WTA professional tennis players, Premier League football and rugby players, Olympians, professional boxers, MMA (UFC) fighters, and elite level triathletes (Ironman, GB age group etc). They also have extensive experience working with recreational athletes (cyclists, runners, triathletes, cross-fit athletes, bodybuilders and regular gym goers) who are looking to take their performance (both exercise and day-to-day) to the next level.

Mission Statement:
To provide our students with the best possible, and up to date, evidence-based education and support to help them achieve unparalleled success in their studies and ultimately in their professional practice.

Dr Laurent Bannock DProf, MSc, CSCS, RNutr, SENr
Founder and Director

Laurent is the Founder and Director of the Institute of Performance Nutrition (“the IOPN”, formerly the Guru Performance Institute) with over twenty eight years of practitioner experience in the fields of nutrition, fitness, and performance. Via his private practice he has worked with many elite professional athletes and teams. Notable recent roles include being Performance Nutrition lead to the Egyptian National Football team up to and during the FIFA 2018 World Cup, and the the British Fencing World Class Program; supporting the Team GB Fencing Squad for the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Laurent is a Registered Nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition (AfN), a Registered Sports and Exercise Nutrition Practitioner with the British Dietetic Association’s UK Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register (SENr), and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA). Academic qualifications include a Professional Doctorate (DProf) in Sport and Exercise Nutrition from Middlesex University (UK), a Master of Science degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from California University of Pennsylvania (USA), a Post Graduate Certificate in Strength & Conditioning from Middlesex University (UK), and a post-graduate Certificate in Nutrition Counselling from Cornell University (USA).

Laurent is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health, a Fellow of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, and is the 2016 inaugural winner of the SENr Professor Clyde Williams OBE Award for Sport and Exercise Research/Education.

Although Laurent has been primarily a practitioner throughout his career, he is also a researcher and educator in the field of Applied Sports & Exercise Nutrition, with a number of publications in peer-reviewed journals, and is the host of the highly acclaimed ‘We Do Science’ Podcast. Laurent plays an active role in supporting his profession and fellow professionals in any way he can and is currently serving as a member of the registration panel of the UK Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register (SENr).

Laurent is a highly experienced educator & lecturer, and in addition to his current role at the IOPN he was also the founding program leader for the MSc program in Sport & Exercise Nutrition program at Middlesex University which he ran for several years.

Learn more about Laurent via his personal website: www.LaurentBannock.com

Alex Ritson MSc, SENr (Grad)
Head of Department (Online Education)

Alex is the Head of Department for Online Learning at the IOPN. Alex’s education includes a Master of Science in Sports and Exercise Nutrition (with distinction) from Middlesex University (London), and a Higher Education Teaching Certificate from Harvard University (USA). Of special note, Alex is also a graduate with distinction of the IOPN Diploma in Performance Nutrition. Professional credentials include being a certified sports nutritionist (CISSN), a graduate registrant with the UK Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register, and a UKAD certified Anti-Doping Advisor.

Alex is primarily responsible for the management, design, and continuing development of our online education programs and also serves as a member of in-house research team, keeping up to date with the latest evidence-base in sports nutrition to ensure our courses remain cutting-edge. Adjunct to his dedication to academia, Alex maintains a successful online sports nutrition coaching and consulting practice.

Alex’s background is a multi-cultural one, growing up in Malaysia, Germany, America and the UK. At present, Alex resides in Seville, Spain and is currently researching an appropriate placement for his Ph.D.

Stephen Smith BSc, MSc, PhD(c), SENr (Grad)

Stephen has a Master of Science in Sport Nutrition from Liverpool John Moores University (UK) where he is also currently undertaking Doctoral Research into how the gastrointestinal system responds to exercise. He was amongst the first cohort of students to successfully complete the IOPN’s Graduate Diploma in Applied Sport and Exercise Nutrition, graduating with Distinction. Stephen is a Graduate Registrant on the UK Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register (SENr), a certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN), a certified Anthropometrist (ISAK) and a certified Anti-Doping Advisor with UKAD. He works closely with all students on our Diploma in Performance Nutrition (previously titled ISSN Diploma) program to ensure that they get the very most out of the course.

Specifically, he helps to guide students through the various modules and assignments; offering his advice, ‘top tips’ and pointing students towards useful resources to ensure they are kept up-to-date with the latest research in the field of Applied Sports and Exercise Nutrition.

As a practitioner, Stephen has worked in a diverse spectrum of sports including professional motorsport, pro MMA, world-championship downhill mountain bike, cycling, triathlon and the with the military. This work has seen him travel around Europe providing nutritional support to world-level athletes. His written work has appeared in the UKSCA Journal as well as respected triathlon magazines, and his own blog covers a range of nutritional topics to help athletes improve their performance.

Dr Mark Hearris BSc, MSc, PhD, SENr

Mark has a BSc in Sport Science (Physiology), an MSc in Sports Nutrition, and recently completed his PhD at the Research Institute for Sport & Exercise Sciences at Liverpool John Moore’s University where his specific research interests focussed on the molecular and cellular responses of human skeletal muscle to endurance exercise and the impact of nutrition on modulating these responses as well as nutritional strategies to enhance team-sport performance. To date, Mark has authored 4 scientific research publications in the area of nutrition and exercise metabolism and has presented this work at both national and international conferences. Adjunct to research, Mark also has four years of experience teaching, designing module content, supervising work-based learning placements and providing both academic and pastoral support to students on both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes which has allowed him to become an Associated Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA).

Alongside his roles in academia, Mark is a Registered Sports and Exercise Nutrition Practitioner with the British Dietetic Association’s UK Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register (SENr) and a certified anthropometrist (ISAK). Over the past four years, Mark has continued to work as an applied practitioner where he currently acts as a nutrition consultant within professional football and supports a variety of physiological testing for a range of external clients through LJMU.

Jasmine Campbell BSc, MSc, DProf(c), SENr

Jasmine obtained a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science from the University of Worcester, an MSc in Applied Sport Science from the University of Gloucester, following which she went onto complete the Diploma in Applied Sport and Exercise Nutrition at the IOPN. Since graduating Jasmine has gained a great deal of experience running physiological testing services to a range of clients (including the Guru Performance Clinic in London), and delivers lectures to both undergraduate and postgraduate Sports Nutrition students.
Whilst being a consultant in sports nutrition, she is currently undertaking a Professional Doctorate (DProf) at Liverpool John Moores University. Jasmine is a Registered Sports and Exercise Nutrition Practitioner (SENr), and currently works with a variety of athletes to include elite swimming & rowing, professional football players, and motorport drivers.

Dr Luke O’Brien PhD, MSc, ANutr

Luke has an MSc in Human Nutrition from Ulster University and has recently completed a PhD in Sports Nutrition at Liverpool Hope University. His Doctoral research is focused on investigating the nutritional requirements of elite Gaelic footballers.

Luke has held the position of Graduate Teaching Assistant at Liverpool Hope University for 3 years. This role involved delivering lectures, seminars and tutorials to undergraduate students on both Nutrition and Sport and Exercise Science courses. Luke also assisted academic staff with the development or updating of learning materials and provided technical support to undergraduate projects. Luke is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA).

Luke is a Registered Associate Nutritionist and a certified anthropometrist (ISAK). Luke is currently working as a nutritionist with Spire Healthcare as part of the Weight Management Service, he provides specific, tailored nutrition advice to patients to enable them to meet their weight loss and health goals. Luke has worked as a sports nutrition practitioner providing nutrition consultation services to a range of elite Gaelic football teams.

Gemma Sampson AdvSD, DProf(c), MSc, RD, APD, SENr(Grad)

Gemma has a BSc in Nutrition and Dietetics, MSc in Sports Nutrition, MSc in Public Health Nutrition and is a current Professional Doctorate student at Liverpool John Moore’s University. Her Doctoral research is focused on assessing nutrition knowledge and practices of endurance athletes in competition, specifically regarding carbohydrates.

Gemma is an Advanced Sports Dietitian (Sports Dietitians Australia) and a certified anthropometrist (ISAK). Over the past 12 years Gemma has worked as an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (Dietitians Association Australia) and Registered Dietitian in Australia, the UK and Spain. Alongside her applied practice, Gemma has experience working clinically, within food industry and in research and development. Based in Girona, Spain, Gemma maintains a successful online nutrition coaching and consulting practice to a range of amateur and elite endurance athletes, including World Tour cyclists and professional triathletes.

Dr Kent Hansen PhD, Dip.IOPN

Kent is an Associate Professor at Winona State University in Winona, MN, U.S.A. He teaches courses in Exercise Science as well as general and sport nutrition.  Kent obtained his B.A. in Business Administration (emphasis in Healthcare Administration) from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN.  He then worked in his field until going back to get his M.S. in Exercise Science from the University of Montana (UM).  UM is where Kent’s interest in metabolism and nutrition began to form.  That interest led him to get his PhD in Nutritional Science from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  His thesis revolved around lipid metabolism and exercise using both human and rat models.  Kent has been teaching at the collegiate level for 14 years.  He is also a recent graduate of the IOPN Diploma with distinction.

Because of his interest in nutrition and its role with health and performance as well as his new confidence inspired by the IOPN Diploma, Kent is beginning the journey of developing a nutrition & performance coaching business.  Coupling his developing experience in coaching with his keen desire to teach, Kent has become a tutor with the hope of helping IOPN students get the most out of the program as well as perform at their highest level during their progression through the program.

Sean Buxton MSc ANutr SENr
Director of Product, SENPRO

Sean is the Director of Product for SENPRO, at the IOPN. Over the past 3 years, Sean has had the privilege of working closely with a large network of Sport and Exercise Nutritionists, including those working in global football organisations, Premier League football/rugby clubs, as well as startup nutrition business.

Sean draws on experience as a former elite athlete and practitioner to help him to fulfil his role as the Director of Product. Here he sits between the network of Sport and Exercise Nutritionists, the athlete as well as the development team, in order to shape a truly unique and effective professional business and coaching toolkit for the Sport and Exercise Nutritionist.

Sean holds a First Class Honours degree in BSc Sport and Exercise Science from the University of Exeter, an MSc in Human Nutrition (with Distinction) from the University of Surrey and is currently enrolled on The IOPN Diploma. Sean is a Graduate Registrant on the Sport and Exercise Nutritionist Register (SENr), a Registered Associate Nutritionist (ANutr) with the Association for Nutrition (AfN) and is an accredited ISAK Level 1 Anthropometrist.

Sarah Bannock
Chief Financial Officer

Ramon Smit
Operations Manager