History of GSSI
The Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) has a long history of sports science research, education and testing athletes to help them get the most out of their bodies. The Gatorade Exercise Physiology Lab was established in 1985 by Dr. Robert Murray as part of the Quaker Oats R&D facility in Barrington, IL. Expansion to the Sports Science Institute followed shortly after in 1988 with the goals of expanding knowledge and sharing information on sports nutrition and exercise science to enhance the performance and well-being of athletes. Key to the development of GSSI were collaborations with top researchers at Ohio State University, Yale University, the University of Texas and the University of Iowa. As GSSI continued to grow, partnerships were established with top researchers and key influencers worldwide, helping to fulfill the mission of furthering research and education in the field.
In Barrington, GSSI staff scientists studied the effects of exercise, the environment and nutrition on the human body using the latest scientific technology and equipment in the physiology, biochemistry and exercise sensory/hedonic response labs. Over the years, the facilities were updated to include laboratory space specific for exercise performance, body composition, metabolism and gastrointestinal physiology. The results of the research program have helped drive superior formulations in both taste and functionality, presented at scientific conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals. A complete list of journal publications can be found HERE.
Beyond the laboratory walls of Barrington, GSSI has helped to support the scientific community and further research in the field by funding numerous external research studies at universities worldwide. Part of that funding included maintaining a yearly competitive student grant program. Over 300 student projects have been funded, and the program continues today.
In addition to furthering knowledge through clinical research in the laboratory, GSSI partnered with athletic trainers, physicians and other key influencers to establish a Field Testing Program, which ran from 1999-2006. The focus of the program was primarily to understand the implications of fluid and electrolyte losses on thermoregulation, performance and muscle cramping. Athletes were evaluated on the field of play (their real-life lab) for real-time data collection and to provide them with experiential learning about their individual hydration needs. This program was the precursor to the current athlete testing service program, which provides information to athletes on their physiology, hydration and sports nutrition needs.
Education & Outreach
Generation of new knowledge is only as beneficial as the ability to translate and share that information in a meaningful way. Therefore, the second part of the mission has been to share knowledge, educating influencers and sports health professionals in the area of sports science and sports nutrition. As a result, GSSI was the one of the first such organizations to provide a robust library of learning materials including tips & handouts, posters, e-Newsletters, Sports Science Exchange (SSE) articles and Performance Playbooks, establishing the Institute as a go-to resource. The GSSI website was launched in 1996, the first SSE was published in 1988 and the generation of new information and tools continues today.
GSSI also partners with professional organizations (see the list of affiliations HERE). One of the longest running such affiliations as with the American College of Sports Medicine, with whom a partnership was established in 1989. As part of that partnership, GSSI maintains a significant presence at the annual meeting to support the sports science community.
As part of the development and continued growth of GSSI, several top researchers and practitioners sat on an advisory boards providing professional insight on research topics relevant to GSSI's mission and offered direction on future educational offerings. Beginning in 1987 these board members and other invitees participated in the GSSI Summer Conferences, the outcomes of which are published in the Perspectives in Exercise Science and Sports Medicine book series (Cooper Publishing Group, 1988-99). This 12 volume series aimed to further the education of athletic trainers, coaches, exercise physiologists and athletes, as well as advance further scientific inquiry. The Perspective series covered topics such as fuel for sport performance, hydration, ergogenic aids, cardiovascular and other health problems in athletes, immune function, overtraining and recovery from injury.
GSSI was led by Dr. Asker Jeukendrup, a renowned researcher and triathlete, from 2011-2014. Currently under the direction of Dr. James Carter, GSSI continues to build on its rich history of research and education, as well as increasing services provided directly to athletes. As a part of our ongoing effort to provide cutting edge service to our athlete and influencer partners, the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) continues to expand its global reach and scope of expertise. As a result, GSSI has expanded beyond Barrington to IMG Academies in Bradenton, FL (2011) and in the United Kingdom where GSSI staff spend time working within athlete environments. GSSI also maintains relationships with top researchers and practitioners in the sport sciences, and several serve to advise the team as part of the GSSI Expert Panel. Through the headquarters in Barrington and the global satellite locations, the goal of GSSI remains as it has always been – to help athletes optimize their health and performance through research, education and service in hydration and nutrition science.