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The University of Southampton
Fundamental Care

Skin Sensing Research Group

Our research focuses on strategies designed to maintain skin health with a particular focus on the prevention of pressure ulcers, a condition which afflicts all ages of the population. It is well known to reduce Quality and Life and represents both a Patient Safety issue and a major financial burden on the health services.

Skin Health Theme
Skin Sensing

Skin Sensing Research Group

The Skin Sensing Research Group, led by Dr Peter Worsley and Dr Davide Filingeri, is focussed on understanding the physiological and pathological determinants of skin function to inform the development of technologies that maintain and promote skin health and comfort across the life course. Our group includes a multidisciplinary team of researchers working at University Hospital Southampton Foundation Trust.

Our research involves basic, applied, and clinical streams and focuses on three inter-connected themes: 1) skin function (I.e. mechanisms of skin barrier, thermoregulatory, and sensory function); 2) skin health (I.e. mechanisms of skin integrity in disease modules such as pressure ulcers, incontinence associated dermatitis, multiple sclerosis); 3) skin technology and comfort (I.e. interactions of skin vs. medical devices, clothing, products).

We work closely with healthcare providers, policy makers and major industries to optimise the performance of medical devices, the design of wearable technologies and products, and improve patient outcomes and peoples’ health status. This includes in vivo, in vitro, and in silico studies to support national and international clinical guidelines and inform international standards for device testing.

Key research areas

  • Aetiology of skin and soft tissue damage from mechanical and thermal interactions
  • Human thermoregulation and sensory function in health and disease
  • Medical device innovation from healthcare to consumer products
  • Wearable technologies to promote health and well-being across the life course

State of the Art Facilities

Pressurelab, led by Dr Peter Worsley, includes a biomechanical lab, imaging facility and CAT II biochemistry laboratory. The lab is purpose-built to evaluate different medical and consumer products, using both volunteer testing and physical models. In addition, bespoke space has been allocated within the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility (WTCRF), where patient testing can be conducted in a controlled environment with research support and facilities.

The ThermosenseLab, led by Dr Davide Filingeri specialises in basic and applied research in human thermo-sensing in health and disease.  This includes: the biophysical and physiological mechanisms that allow humans to sense changes in the temperature and wetness of their skin; how temperature and wetness sensing contribute to body temperature regulation and the initiation of thermal behaviours; and how diseases such as multiple sclerosis impair temperature and wetness sensing and increase vulnerability to thermal stress. The lab benefits from a climatic chamber within the WTCRF to simulate hot, cold, and humid environments and is purpose-built to evaluate the physiology of human temperature regulation at rest and during exercise and under thermal stress.

Device related pressure ulcers

Dr Peter Worsley explains why the prevention of device related pressure ulcers is important

Device-related PU




PhD, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton

  • "Interfacial pressure and shear sensor systems for lower limb prosthetic applications”, P Lazsczak, 2016
  • “Biomechanical analysis of the lower limb amputee socket interface”, J Tang, 2018
  • “Investigating the Mechanisms of Soft Tissue Damage at the Residual Limb-Socket Interface”,  J Bramley, 2020

PhD, Faculty/School of Health Sciences, University of Southampton

  • “Are strategies, including mechanical and traditional repositioning, effective for pressure ulcer prevention?”, MJS Woodhouse, 2017
  • “Impaired lymphatic clearance and pro-inflammatory cytokines in mechanically loaded tissue - implications in pressure ulcer aetiology”, RJ Gray, 2018
  • “Investigation of the underlying mechanisms leading to the development of incontinence-associated dermatitis”, S. Koudounas, 2019
  • “An interdisciplinary approach to pressure ulcer prevention in the community setting: Exploring the barriers and facilitators for implementation”, PD Clarkson, 2019
  • “Bioengineering technologies to monitor movements in supported postures: a potential strategy to prevent pressure ulcers”, S Caggiari, 2020

Hosted International academics and intern students (2016-)

  • Professor B. Bates-Jensen, School of Medicine and Nursing, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA, 2016
  • J. van Asten, Biomedical Engineering, Technical University of Eindhoven, the Netherlands, 2018
  • W. van Zwam, Biomedical Engineering, Technical University of Eindhoven, the Netherlands, 2018
  • Dr. F. Henshaw, School of Medicine and Health, Univ. of Western Sydney, Australia, 2018
  • L. Peko, Biomechanics Laboratory, Tel Aviv University, Israel, 2018
  • L. Crielaard, Biomedical Engineering, Technical University of Eindhoven, the Netherlands, 2019
  • L. v D Boogaaert, Biomedical Engineering, Technical University of Eindhoven, the Netherlands, 2019
  • J. Verberne, Biomedical Engineering, Technical University of  Eindhoven, the Netherlands, 2020
List of related projects to
Related ProjectsStatusType
STINTS - Skin Tissue Integrity under ShearActiveGrant
Prosthetics and OrthoticsActiveGrant
Sensor Smart Liner for a lower Limb prosthesisActiveOther
A BioEngineering approach for the SAFE design and fitting of Respiratory Protective Equipment (BE-SAFE RPE)ActiveGrant
Development of the fundamental 3D face-mask model and multi-individual model using mesh morphing approachesActiveOther
Objective Assessment of Skin and Soft tissues (OASIS): improving on RodnanActiveGrant
Industry CollaborationActive Other
Medical Devices and Vulnerable Skin Network (MDVSN)DormantGrant
Pressure reduction through continuous monitoring in community settings (PROMISE)DormantGrant
Load monitoring and Intervention System (LOMIS) to prevent diabetic foot ulcerationActiveGrant
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