By combining findings from basic science, population health and clinical research our aim is to develop innovative interventions and treatments that will drive evidence based clinical practice. Our goal in the deliver scarless healing, in mind and body.
Basic Science Research
Understanding Scar formation and maintenance
Scar formation is the result of the injury repair response in mammals. Scar tissue is cosmetically and functionally different to normal skin, and this can lead to psychological as well as physical problems. Scars remain for life and even grow as the person grows through life. This can be particularly important in children burnt at a young age. We also know that some people are prone to having poor scars whilst others recover better from an injury and have less scarring.
We are investigating how scars are formed and maintained for life. In particular we are interested in the genetics of scarring – by looking at individuals with poor and good scar outcomes we may be able to identify new therapies as well as better identify patients at higher risk of poor scar outcomes. We are also interested in the cells that keep the scar permanently. We are interested in the molecular level control of this process and these cells that maintains scar and whether we can intervene in scar cells to make them produce more normal looking and functioning skin.
The systemic effects of Burn Injury
As well as the significant problem of scarring, burn injuries cause much wider effects on the body. This can include impacting on cardiovascular function and on nerves. We are investigating these systemic effects and trying to understand how they impact on the long term morbidity for burn patients. The role of stress and the nervous system in changing burn patient outcomes are two key focus areas of our current research.
Population Health Research
Understanding the impact of burn injury in the Australian population
The overarching aim of the Western Australia Population-based Burn Injury Project is to provide high quality data on the long-term health impacts, hospital utilisation and costs, and spatial patterns of burn injury that will make significant local, national and global contributions to burn care, prevention, education and policy.
Developing better clinical interventions for burn patients
Clinical Research is a branch of healthcare science that determines the value of diagnostics and treatments intended for human use.
The findings of clinical research
- point to prevention strategies
- improve treatments
- establish earlier and more accurate diagnosis techniques, or
- may relieve the symptoms of disease or injury.
Current treatments for burn patients have made dramatic improvements on survival and on the quality of patient outcomes, however we believe there is much more progress that can be made by adopting and developing new clinical therapies. We are also investigating both current clinical interventions such as laser scar modulation as well as developing new drugs and methods of delivery to improve scarring in the laboratory.