Research Period in the University of Southampton
Students are invited to spend an Internship period in the Skin Health Group under Professor Dan Bader (who is part-time appointment at TU/e collaborating with Dr Cees Oomens). The research will be conducted at the Faculty of Health Sciences facilities based at Southampton General Hospital.
The aim of the group is to translate our bioengineering research capability into a clinical setting. Accordingly the focus of our research is in the design of personalised medical devices to minimise risk of the development of pressure ulcers in high-risk individuals. This aligns with interest from international healthcare companies who are developing novel designs of medical devices, with modulus matched materials to minimise forces at the skin interface.
We have adopted a number of approaches to assess the impact of medical devices on vulnerable skin tissues. These include experimental studies and finite element simulations of common devices such as interventional respiratory masks. Experimental measures include biomechanical (pressure) and microclimate (temperature and humidity) factors at the skin surface as well as biophysical parameters at the skin, including; water evaporation and pH. Additionally, we collect key biomarkers released at the skin surface in the form of sweat analytes and inflammatory cytokines.
Finite element modelling of the mask-face interface has been initiated with clinical and industrial collaborators. A preliminary sensitivity analysis has identified factors affecting stress and strain transmission from the mask into the skin and soft tissues. This approach needs to be to incorporate experimental data in the form of boundary conditions into the FEA environment and build appropriate validation testing in the computational model.
Specific projects as part of our existing research programme can be designed to match the interests of the students.