My research focuses on how our bodies and brains interact with our surrounding thermal environment, both from a physiological and perceptual point of view.
Some of the fundamental questions we try to answer are:
- how is body temperature regulated when we are exposed to different environments (cold, heat, humid)?
- how do we sense temperature, wetness and touch on the skin?
- how does skin sensitivity differ across the body, between genders, and between individuals with pathological conditions?
These fundamentals questions have applied implications in the context of:
- designing environments that are healthy and safe
- tailoring the design of smart products, and assistive technology, to the physiological and perceptual requirements of the individual
To answer the questions above, I perform research at the interface between thermal physiology and sensory neuroscience in humans. In our laboratory, we have capabilities for the assessment of:
- body temperature regulation in humans (measurements of skin, core and muscle temperatures, infrared thermography, indirect calorimetry, sweat production, skin blood flow, heart rate, blood pressure)
- sensory function of the human skin (quantitative sensory testing, measurements of sensory detection thresholds, body mapping, hand function and manual dexterity)
Our laboratory houses state-of-art climatic chambers, water baths, and water-perfused suit, that allow precise control and manipulation of the environment within which our tests take place.
In recent years, I have been actively researching how humans sense temperature and wetness across their skin, how this sensitivity varies across the body, how these mechanisms contribute to our ability to regulate our body temperature, and how the sensory function of the skin is altered in diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
For example, my research on human skin wetness was the first to show that humans have developed a unique way to sense moisture on their skin in the absence of a specialized humidity receptor. Also, we have recently developed the most detailed thermosensory maps currently available for human hands and feet (you can see a snapshot of this work on the homepage).
My research has real-world impact. For example, my work on wetness has produced maps of temperature and wetness sensitivity across the human body that have been used by industry partners to improve their product design (e.g. sport clothing and indoor heating/cooling systems).
Now I am focusing on expanding my research applications to industrial and clinical settings. My sensory mapping work could indeed support the development and design of smart and interactive tablets, of smart clothing, as well as of assistive technologies for the sensory impaired (e.g. hand prostheses that restore a sense of touch in amputees).
For more detailed information on my published work see the publications tab.
For potential enterprise collaborations feel free to contact me here.