Prof. Hein A.M. Daanen MD PhD

Prof. Hein A.M. Daanen MD PhD was born in Mierlo, the Netherlands, in 1958. He completed a study in Human Movement Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam. Afterwards, he obtained a degree as teacher in medical-biological sciences.  Professor Daanen completed a PhD at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam. His thesis: ‘‘Central and peripheral control of finger blood flow in the cold’’. Professor Daanen has been involved in electromyography research  from 1985 – 1990 in Leiden. In 1990 he started working for TNO, a company specialized in applied scientific research. In 1995 he spent a year in Canada and US for military research in thermal physiology and anthropometry.  He was a research coordinator of the Workplace Ergonomics Group and of the Thermal Physiology Group. He was head of the department of human performance from 2003 till 2008.  From 2003 till  2016 he was adjunct professor in thermal physiology at the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences at the Vrije Universteit of Amsterdam. In addition he has been working as a professor at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute. Since 2016 he is a full professor in (environmental) exercise physiology and director of master education in Human Movement Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam.

The research of professor Daanen focusses on thermal strain of the human body during exercise, with special relation to body dimensions.  During exercise it takes a while before heat loss mechanisms are activated and therefore body core temperature rises.  High body temperatures are related to a reduced power delivery during endurance exercise and precooling mechanisms are investigated to reduce the increase in body temperatures. These mechanisms include external cooling using garments or ice vests, but also body core cooling using ice slurry ingestion prior to exercise.  For athletes body temperature is important for optimal performance. The vigilance of  racing drivers in a Formula 1 car, for instance, is reduced when the driver is very hot.  Pre-cooling thus tends to have a positive effect on the physical performance of athletes. Pre-cooling  creates a thermal buffer where one can store body heat. The performance  improvement is undisputed in endurance athletes who have participated in studies that made use of pre-cooling techniques. Many athletes are pre-cooling prior to competition nowadays.

Many questions remains such as how the temperature of water affects  swimming performance. How can the thermal physiological knowledge be implemented in sports practice? How can we reduce  heat strain in soccer players?

Prof. Daanen’s lecture will be about ‘Preparation for exercise in extreme heath and cold’. You can visit professor Professor Daanen’s lecture on the 4th of June from 16:45 till 17:45!