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 post-doctoral course in computer science as well as a medical-biological sciences teaching degree. Professor Daanen completed a PhD in medicine 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 research since 1985 in Leiden, the Netherlands, and Toronto, Canada. 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 at the TNO company from 2003 till 2008. This company tries  to connect people and innovation in a sustainable manner. From 2003 till 2016 he was a professor in thermal physiology at the Faculty of Human Movement Science 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, is focused on the balance between heat production and loss of heat. During food intake the heat production will increase, this is called diet induced thermogenesis. During exercise it takes a while before the heat regulation takes place. This is due to the perfusion of muscles that is being optimized by sympathetic activation. Therefore the direct perfusion of the skin is less optimal. So if the temperature of the muscles is high enough, the skin will be perfused and there will be more heat loss. Only if the body temperature exceeds a certain point in an individual, there will be loss of heath in the form of sweat. A body temperature that is too high can impair exertion. Historically, people have always searched for ways to prevent high temperatures to optimize their body temperature regulation. Pilots during the second world war were already searching for ways to cool their body.  For athletes body temperature is important for example, a racing driver in a Formula 1 car is constantly being cooled to make sure the temperature in the cockpit stays around 50 degrees and does not become higher. Pre-cooling also tends to have a positive effect on the physical performance of athletes. The thought is that it creates a buffer where one can store body heat. There is a performance exertional improvement in athletes who have participated in studies that made use of pre-cooling techniques. Many athletes are pre-cooling for matches nowadays.

So how does exercise physiology in swimming work? What do we call applied thermal physiology? What is the heat strain in soccer players?

Topics like these will be discussed during Professor Daanen’s lecture on the 4th of June from 16:45 till 17:45!