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The University of Southampton
Fundamental Care

Skin Health

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 Health

Skin Health

The research led by Dan Bader and Peter Worsley spans basic laboratory testing using physical and computational models for medical device evaluation, controlled experiments using a range of able-bodied volunteers, to clinical trials involving patients considered at risk of developing pressure ulcers. The group’s work has evaluated the safety of medical devices that interface with the skin, following evidence that implicated devices in the development of over 30% of pressure ulcers acquired in hospitals. Indeed, pressure ulcers in both the acute and community settings contribute to an NHS financial wound care burden of £4Bn/yr. Our research is facilitated by establishing robust test protocols conducted in state-of-art facilities based in the Clinical Academic Facility in the University Hospitals Southampton Trust.

The Skin Health team has been at the forefront of the Clinical Academic postgraduate programme, mentoring clinicians to complete part-time PhDs with clinical collaborators (Solent, Portsmouth, Southern and Salisbury NHS Trust). Bader and Worsley are actively involved with national and international groups including the Tissue Viability Society (Bader is a fellow and Editor of the Tissue Viability Journal) and the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (Worsley is a Trustee and Scientific Committee chair). Our research findings have been used in collaboration with industrial partners to evaluate and develop new medical devices, which safely interface with patent's skin and our work has influenced the guidelines produced by the European, US and Pan-Pacific Panels (EPUAP/NPUAP/PPPIA). Our ultimate goal is to establish robust parameters, which indicate the status of loaded skin and soft tissues, based on an array of biomechanical, biophysical and microclimate measurements, in conjunction with biomarkers. We aim to translate these technologies in a range of care settings to improve clinical practice and support self-management of skin health.


Professor Dan Bader

Dr Peter Worsley

Professor Lisette Schoonhoven

30 October 2018

Institute of Physics and Engineering in Me...

The trustees of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicin...

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16 October 2018

Medical Devices and Vulnerable SkinPLUS an...

We are delighted to announce that Professors Dan Bader and Lisette ...

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28 June 2018

Dr Peter Worsley Awarded Novice Investigat...

Dr Worsley, Lecturer within Health Sciences Faculty and Co-Investig...

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From 2014-2019 we led UK EPSRC/NIHR-funded Network and NetworkPLUS initiatives on Medical Devices and Vulnerable Skin. These activities were designed to develop intelligent sensing to promote self-management and to bring novel designs to the medical device market in order to promote sustainable evolution and long-term healthcare improvements.

Examples of our projects include the assessment of respiratory face masks used for both adults and paediatric patients in intensive care units and the evaluation of pressure redistribution support surfaces. This activity benefitted from collaboration with clinicians, academics and several UK and overseas companies in the healthcare industry (including Medstrom (UK), Care of Sweden (Sweden), HIVIX (Japan), Sumitomo Riko (Japan), Essity (Sweden), Peacocks Medical Group (UK), Footfalls and Heartbeats (UK), Sumed (UK), Xsensor, Canada), Hill-Rom (US)). Notable partners include King’s College London (Grocott and Sinkus) and University of Nottingham (Morgan) and NIHR Health Technology Co-operatives, WoundTec and Devices for Dignity.  International collaboration has involved world leaders from the Netherlands (Oomens) and Israel (Gefen). We have also hosted several international researchers and clinicians from the US, Australia and Israel to undertake research in our facilities. The network funded >£240,000 worth of projects from a range of partners. For more details, please see the website.

UoS Team

Bader, Worsley, Bostan, Brewer

Prosthetics and Orthotics

Prosthetics and Orthotics

Bioengineering approaches have been  designed to monitor both shape changes and loading conditions at the interface between the stump and socket of lower-limb amputees. This research is in collaboration with academic colleagues in Engineering (Professor Liudi Jiang and Dr Alex Dickinson). Our research has encompassed  UKRI funded projects to develop a Triaxial pressure and shear (TRIPS) sensor system and a EPSRC Global Challenge Research Fund project to support prosthetic provision in South East Asia. In addition, the team has been involved in a successful KTP with Blatchford (UK) and a spin out company which provides a digital platform for prosthetic socket design, Radii Devices Ltd.

UoS Team

Bader, Worsley, Dickinson, Jiang, Steer, Tang


Bramley, Kelly



In 2019, we acquired European Union funding with five other academic partners and healthcare companies e.g Phillips Personal Healthcare, Unilever, for an Innovative Training Network (ITN) " STINTS - Skin Tissue Integrity under Shear”. Our specific focus is to develop physical and biomarker sensing for early detection of different forms of skin damage with the support from three Emerging Career Researchers (ECRs) who are being nurtured as future leaders of research in skin health.                 

The Ethical aspects and the implementation of effective skin health promotion within the overall programme is being managed by Professor Lisette Schoonhoven, an ex-President of the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP), who remains a part-time member of our group in Southampton.  For more details, please see the website


Bader, Worsley, Schoonhoven, Jayabal, Abiakam



Worsley is a co-Investigator on a Health Foundation Scaling Up project titled ‘Pressure reduction through continuous monitoring in community settings (PROMISE)’. The project aims to reduce and prevent avoidable and unavoidable pressure ulcers in the community setting. This Quality Improvement project is led by Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with Plymouth University, the University of Southampton and Cedar NHS Wales.

Following a successful feasibility study, this project is designed to use continuous pressure monitoring and pressure adjustments using mattress and chair sensors across four clinical community sites. Scaling up an innovative intervention involving new technology will help to reduce and prevent pressure ulcers in vulnerable community dwelling individuals.

Industry Collaboration

Industry Collaboration.jpg

The skin health research group  has a long standing history of industry collaboration, providing the means to translate research findings into commercial products. Their multidisciplinary activities have led to new knowledge to underpin innovation in device design, translated through a series of commercially successful medical devices across the international healthcare sector. As an example, new support surface technologies have been co-developed with companies in the UK and overseas.

The team works with industry to develop test methodologies to evaluate device design features including physical models for microclimate and able-bodied volunteer evaluations. The group  also works with industry on Knowledge Transfer Partnerships,  Industrial Cooperative Awards in Science & Technology (iCASE) PhDs and engages with industry through national and international organizations and standards, including the British Healthcare Trade Association and International Standards Organization (ISO/TC 173/WG11).

Other Research Funding

Activities in the Skin Health group has expanded in a number of distinctive areas, which have been supported by a diverse funding portfolio. As an example, funding from the NIHR Healthcare Technology –Paediatric Call (£142k) enabled research in conjunction with Professor Howard Clark into examining the vulnerability of skin tissues in paediatric patients, with particular focus on the design of respiratory medical devices to enable effective drug delivery and minimise traumatic damage. The group has also been successful in a UK Knowledge Transfer Partnership grant (£114k) with Blatchford Ltd on designing an instrumented smart liner for assessing conditions at the stump-socket interface.

In conjunction with academic partners, further activities associated with the group has received funding from EPSRC/NIHR Networks. Projects have involved:

  • developing sensing technologies with intelligent support surfaces for closed loop chronic wound prevention (CYCLOPS Healthcare, Nottingham)
  • developing early detection methods to assess the risk of pressure ulcers in individuals with mental illness (NewMind Plus, Manchester)
  • assessing designs of a Penile Compressive Device with Patients using bioengineering tools (IMPRESS Plus, Leeds)
  • evaluating a novel design of radiotherapy positioning board (Surgical MIC, Leeds )
List of related projects to
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