The Environmental Ergonomics Research Centre is interested in how a mechanistic understanding of Environmental Physiology and Medicine can be used to improve human performance and health through translational research. This doctoral project will examine the skin’s interface with external surfaces, and how environmental factors can impact on pressure-related skin breakdown.
Sustained pressure from an external surface can result in pressure-related skin injury. The total cost to the National Health Service for pressure sore treatment has been estimated to be in excess of £2-billion annually. At present, the secondary factors that contribute to the development pressure-related skin injury are not well understood, but likely include moisture, temperature, body morphology, general health, physical activity level, skin pigmentation, sex, sensory functionality, as well as vascular functionality. This project will aim to develop evidence-based understanding of a selection of factors affecting skin pressure injury development, and how these may be mitigated through design and engineering. The approach will utilise a combination of in-vivo and cellular analysis techniques.
Depending on the candidates’ experience and qualifications, this research will be used to inform three key areas of application, including: 1) the development of patient surfaces that help mitigate pressure sore onset; 2) the development of evidence-based patient care packages, including assistive technologies and software for nursing use; and 3) developing the understanding of the cellular mechanisms underpinning skin degradation, with a view to informing future regenerative medicine applications. This research will be conducted in collaboration with partners at the University of Leicester.