Unravelling the interplay of structural and material properties of skin


Considering the special place of the skin in our life and its multiple physiological functions, understanding its physiology and biophysics in health, disease and ageing has become a broad and very active multidisciplinary research domain. To unravel some of the secrets of such a complex organ new experimental, imaging and computational techniques are needed. Novel mechanistic theories explaining particular mechanobiological processes need to be formulated and put to the test. Developing and exploiting such an integrated framework underpin many aspects of our research which aims to understand the interplay between the microstructural and material properties of the skin, particularly as they evolve over the life course. The skin microstructure plays a critical role in how macroscopic deformations are modulated at the microscopic level. These structural mechanisms are also at the heart of skin tribology by being part of, and conditioning mechanical load transmission and the nature of surface physics interactions. Skin biophysics is therefore fundamental to many industrial sectors from biomedical devices, personal care and cosmetic products to vehicle safety, sport equipment, wearable electronics and tactile surfaces.

In this talk, I will present some of the modelling approaches we have been developing to gain a mechanistic understanding of the interplay between material and structural properties of the skin, and ultimately, to exploit this knowledge for a variety of clinical and industrial applications.


Georges Limbert (GL) is a Professor of Biophysical Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton. He also holds an Honorary Professor position in the Department of Human Biology in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. His current research focus is on the constitutive modelling of soft tissues with special interest on skin biophysics and the mechanics and tribology of biological structures. His research is supported by world-leading organisations operating in the consumer goods, cosmetic, pharmaceutics and military sectors. GL acts as a consultant for Fortune 500/FTSE 100 and SME companies. Some of his constitutive models are used in industry, academia and the US Army. He has a Master in Engineering Mechanics (Toulouse, France) and a Research Master in Solid Mechanics (Bordeaux, France). He obtained a PhD in Computational Biomechanics from the University of Southampton, is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), UK.


  1. Lauber, M., Weymouth, G., Limbert, G. (2023) Rapid flapping and fiber-reinforced membrane wing are key to high-performance bat flight, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 20:20230466.
  2. Mudassir, M., Limbert, G., Navarro-Alarcon, D. (2022) Development of a numerical multi-layer model of skin subjected to pulsed laser irradiation to optimise thermal stimulation in skin photorejuvenation procedure, Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine, Volume 216, April 2022, 106653.
  3. Skatulla, S., Sansour, C. and Limbert, G. (2021) Local micromorphic non-affine anisotropy for materials incorporating elastically bonded fibers, Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, Vol. 156 Pages 104576
  4. Limbert, G., Masen, M. A., Pond, D. Graham, H. K., Sherratt, M. J., Jobanputra, R. and McBride, A. (2019) Biotribology of the ageing skin-Why we should care. Biotribology, 17:75-90.
  5. Limbert, G. (ed.) (2019) Skin biophysics – From experimental characterisation to advanced modelling, (2019), Springer, Heidelberg, 295 pages
  6. Pond, D., McBride, A., Davids, L., Reddy, B.D., Limbert, G. (2018) Microstructurally-based constitutive modelling of the skin-Linking intrinsic ageing to microstructural parameters. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 444:108-123.
  7. Limbert, G., Kuhl, E. (2018) On skin microrelief and the emergence of expression micro-wrinkles. Soft Matter, 14(8):1292-1300.
  8. Limbert, G., 2017. Mathematical and computational modelling of skin biophysics-A review. Proceedings of the Royal Society Part A, 473:1-39.
  9. Leyva-Mendivil, M.F., Lengiewicz, J., Page, A., Bressloff, N.W., Limbert, G., 2017. Skin microstructure is a key contributor to its friction behaviour. Tribology Letters 65, 12.


Professor Georges Limbert

National Centre for Advanced Tribology at Southampton (nCATS) | Bioengineering Science Research Group & Laboratory of Biomechanics and Mechanobiology, University of Cape Town

Event Quick Information

15 Apr, 2024
11:45 AM - 12:45 PM
KAUST, Building 9, Level 2, Lecture Hall 1