Design School

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Dr Davide Filingeri

Photo of Dr Davide Filingeri


Dr Davide Filingeri graduated from the University of Palermo (Italy) with a BSc in human movement and an MSc in exercise physiology (partly conducted at the University of Greenwich, UK). Davide then moved to Loughborough University (UK) to undertake doctoral research in environmental physiology and sensory neuroscience. 

Davide’s PhD was co-funded by the Decathlon Group (a French sport clothing manufacturer) and investigated neurophysiological mechanisms of human skin wetness perception. While undertaking his PhD, Davide spent time as a Visiting Scholar at Tsukuba University (Japan), where he investigated cerebrovascular and ventilatory responses in humans exposed to heat stress.

Following his PhD, Davide received an internationally competitive, merit-based research fellowship form the Australian Government to undertake research at the University of Sydney. While in Australia, he investigated the physiological mechanisms responsible for the impaired thermal sensibility and body temperature regulation observed in multiple sclerosis patients exposed to heat stress. As a result of this research program, Davide has been awarded an honorary adjunct lectureship at the University of Sydney. 

Following his research fellowship, Davide was appointed as a post-doctoral scholar at the Center for the Built Environment at the University of California at Berkeley (USA). While in the US, Davide investigated physiological bases of temperature sensation across the human body as well as efficient conductive heat transfer mechanisms to and from the body. This research aimed at optimizing the design of personal comfort systems to provide energy-efficient individualized thermal comfort to buildings occupants. This research was funded by the US Department of Energy and by industry partners Witricity, Merck (Dr. Scholl’s) and Staples.

Davide’s research interests cover the fields of environmental physiology and somatosensory neuroscience applied to health and disease. 

PSC219 Human Performance at Environmental Extremes

DSB112 Experiment Design & Analysis B2

Davide’s research focuses on understanding how the human body interacts with our surrounding physical environments, both physiologically (e.g. body temperature regulation) and perceptually (e.g. perception of temperature, wetness, touch and pain), and on how neurological diseases (e.g. Multiple Sclerosis, MS) alter these functions. The applied implications of this research are in the context of optimizing the design of environments and of objects/devices for healthy populations as well as for sensory impaired individuals.

For example, Davide’s previous research on skin wetness has provided the first evidence to knowledge on the neural mechanisms underlying this sensory feature of the skin. The applications of this research (e.g. mapping the body regional sensitivity to skin wetness) has translated into evidence-based applied solutions (e.g. improving sport clothing design to maximise thermal comfort) endorsed by industry partners (e.g. Decathlon). This work has also opened to the opportunity to implement real life sensory feedback in the design of haptic devices (e.g. tablets) as well as of neuroprestheses. 

Davide’s current research is focusing on:

1. Investigating mechanisms of skin thermal sensitivity in health and MS patients. MS patients often present reductions in skin temperature sensitivity and this can impair their ability to behaviourally thermoregulate upon exposure to thermal challenges (heat and cold). Acting promptly in response to thermal stress is particularly important for these patients, as many of them experience heat-intolerance and heat-related fatigue.  Understanding of skin thermal sensitivity is altered in this population is critical to design interventions aimed at optimizing thermal protection. 


2. Investigating mechanisms of skin wetness sensitivity during object manipulation in health and Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Decreases in temperature and touch sensitivity are common in PD patients and these sensory symptoms seem to play a role in the development of well-established motor symptoms (e.g. impairments in precision grip and object manipulation). As most somatosensory symptoms begins during the early development of PD, understanding their underlying physiological and pathological mechanisms is critical for early detection and for the design of assistive devices aimed at improving patients’ life quality.


3. Mapping thermal sensitivity of the hands and feet in male and female adults. Application of this research are in the context of the design of personal comfort systems, sport and protective clothing and of diagnostic procedures in clinical neurology (e.g. assessment of peripheral neuropathies).     


Filingeri D, Chaseling G, Hoang P, Barnett M, Davis SL, Jay O (2017) Afferent thermosensory function in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis following exercise-induced increases in body temperature. Experimental Physiology; doi: 10.1113/EP086320 

Filingeri D, Ackerley R (2017) The biology of skin wetness perception and its implications for precision grip and neuroprosthetics. Journal of Neurophysiology; 117:1761-1775

Filingeri D, Zhang H, Arens E (2017) Characteristics of the local cutaneous sensory thermo-neutral zone. Journal of Neurophysiology; 117:1797-1806

Filingeri D, Morris N, Jay O (2017) Warm hands, cold heart: progressive whole-body cooling increases warm thermosensitivity of human hands and feet in a dose-dependent fashion. Experimental Physiology;102:100-112

Filingeri D (2016) The neurophysiology of skin thermal sensations. Comprehensive Physiology; 6:1429-1491

Filingeri D, Chaseling G, Lynch G, Morris N (2015) Temperature in the hot spot: oesophageal temperature and whole body thermal status in patent foramen ovale. Journal of Physiology; 593:4697-4698

Filingeri D, Fournet D, Hodder S, Havenith G (2015) Tactile cues significantly modulate the perception of sweat-induced skin wetness independently of the level of physical skin wetness. Journal of Neurophysiology; 113:3462-3473

Filingeri D, Fournet D, Hodder S, Havenith G (2014) Why wet feels wet? A neurophysiological model of human cutaneous wetness sensitivity. Journal of Neurophysiology; 112:1457-1469

Filingeri D (2014) Humidity sensation, cockroaches, worms and humans: are common sensory mechanisms for hygrosensation shared across species? Journal of Neurophysiology; 114:763-767

Filingeri D, Fournet D, Hodder S, Havenith G (2014) Body mapping of cutaneous wetness perception across the human torso during thermo-neutral and warm environmental exposures. Journal of Applied Physiology; 117:887-897

Filingeri D, Redortier B, Hodder S, Havenith G (2014) Thermal and tactile interactions in the perception of local skin wetness at rest and during exercise in thermo-neutral and warm environments. Neuroscience; 258:121-130

Human temperature regulation, somatosensory physiology and exercise physiology in health and neurological disease