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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences
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D.Filingeri@soton.ac.uk

Dr Davide Filingeri BSc, MSc, PGCAP, PhD

Associate Professor in Skin Health

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Davide has a background in thermal physiology, and he is internationally recognised as the leading expert in the neurophysiology of human skin wetness sensing. He has >10 years of experience in conducting human research in healthy and clinical groups such as multiple sclerosis patients. In 2017, Davide founded the THERMOSENSELAB, a laboratory that specialises in skin sensing research in health and neurodegeneration, and which is now part of the Skin Health Research Group at the University of Southampton.

Heat, cold, and humidity have a profound impact on our health and comfort. Better understanding how our skin detects and reacts to thermal challenges is key to drive innovation in skin care and comfort in health and disease.

Davide’s research has a strong enterprise ethos, and he believes that major advances in skin and health care can arise from bridging the gap between academia and industry. For example, he has collaborated with leading sport clothing manufacturers to map regional differences in skin sensing across the body, to inform the design of sport clothing that improve thermal comfort for female athletes. Also, he has co-operated with global goods manufacturers to model the biophysics and physiology of wetness on the skin, to improve the design of absorbency products for babies and adults.

After completing a BSc and MSc in exercise physiology (University of Palermo, Italy), Davide obtained a PhD in thermal physiology (Loughborough University, UK).

Following on his doctorate, Davide received an Endeavour Research Fellowship to investigate thermoregulation in multiple sclerosis at the University of Sydney (awarded by the Australian Government). He then held a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California at Berkeley, where he researched patterns of skin thermosensing across the body in healthy individuals (funded by the US Dept. of Energy).

In October 2016, Davide was recruited to a research-intensive Vice Chancellor’s Lectureship by Loughborough University, where he set up the THERMOSENSELAB.

In March 2021, Davide joined the University of Southampton’ Skin Health Research Group as an Associate Professor, where he continues to investigate how the skin, this marvellous organ that wrap us all, detects and reacts to the thermal challenges posed by our surrounding environments.

Research interests

Davide’s original research programme investigates: i) the biophysical and physiological mechanisms that allow humans to sense changes in the temperature and wetness of their skin; ii) the role of these mechanisms in body temperature regulation and the initiation of thermal behaviours; iii) the impact of neurodegeneration (as induced by diseases like multiple sclerosis) on optimal skin sensing and body temperature regulation.

Below is a list of recent research projects:

2021 - [Funder: Global goods manufacturer; Role: Principal Investigator] – Project: Multisensorial modelling of wetness perception post application of Anti-Perspirant Deodorant products to axilla.

2019 - [Funder: Global sport clothing manufacturer; Role: Principal Investigator] – Project: Mapping of skin wetness sensing across the female body.

2018 - [Funder: Global sport clothing manufacturer; Role: Principal Investigator] – Project: Whole-body mapping of thermal, tactile and wetness sensing.

2017 - [Funder: EPSRC & Procter & Gamble; Role: Principal Investigator] – Project: Evaluating multisensory integration in wetness sensing in humans interacting with absorbent products.

2017 - [Funder: MS Research Australia; Role: Co-Investigator] – Project: Evaluating cooling strategies in heat sensitive multiple sclerosis patients.

PhD supervision

2016 – 2021    Student: Aikaterini Christogianni; Project: Behavioural and physiological thermoregulatory mechanisms implicated in heat and cold sensitivity in people with MS; Role: Primary Supervisor (Loughborough University).

2017 – 2021    Student: Charlotte Merrick; Project: Multisensory integration in wetness sensing in humans interacting with absorbent products; Role: Primary Supervisor (Loughborough University).

2015 – 2018   Student: Georgia Chaseling; Project: Physiological considerations of heat intolerance in people with MS; Role: Co-Supervisor (University of Sydney).

PhD research: Title: Why wet feels wet? An investigation into the neurophysiology of human cutaneous wetness sensitivity; Supervisor: Prof G Havenith; Funders: Loughborough University & Decathlon.  

Research group

Skin Health

Affiliate research group

THERMOSENSELAB

In my previous academic posts, I have acted as an Enterprise Education Tutor, and I have been a member of the Enterprise Committee. I have also been the organiser of international scientific symposia (e.g. for the Italian Olympic Committee, and for the Physiology and Pharmacology of Temperature Regulation international conference). Finally, I have acted as scientific consultant for global companies involved with clothing and skin products design and manufacture.

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Dr Davide Filingeri
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