Our Research Team

The research supported by the Fiona Wood Foundation is undertaken at the Burn Injury Research Unit (BIRU) at the School of Surgery UWA and within the Burns Service of WA, based at Fiona Stanley and Perth Children's Hospitals.

We are leading the way in gaining insights into the impact of burn injuries and scarring on both mind and body by integrating basic science research with clinical, rehabilitative and epidemiological studies. By so doing our aim is to continue to improve the quality of outcomes for those suffering burn injury and trauma.

Professor Fiona Wood, FRACS AM  

Professor Fiona Wood is the Director of the Burns Injury Research Unit (BIRU) at UWA.

Fiona leads the research team at the Fiona Wood Foundation, encompassing the BIRU and the Burns Service of WA (BSWA) - both adult and children. 

Fiona has contributed to the advancement of knowledge in burns care through her scientific research, including over 165 publications in international journals. Her research has been cited over 1,341 times. She is dedicated to ensuring the advancement of burns care is rigorous and efficient, regularly reviewing manuscripts for international journals and has reviewed grant and fellowship applications for both state and commonwealth funding bodies. 

Fiona is currently the President of the Australian New Zealand Burn Association (ANZBA).


Fiona Wood

Associate Professor Janine Duke

BPharm, M.P.S, Grad Dip.Epidemiology, PhD (Clinical Epidemiology & Community Medicine)

Janine is an epidemiologist with expertise in injury, clinical and pharmaco-epidemiology, as well as analysis and data linkage methodologies. She has been a lecturer and researcher in public health since 1996 and her research focus since 2009 has been on burn injury to generate evidence to inform burn care, prevention, education and policy.

Janine joined the Burn Injury Research Unit in 2012 to develop a population-based burn injury research project, which incorporates a number of areas including assessment of spatial or geographic trends in burns, the long-term health impacts of burns, burn-related readmissions and costs associated with treatment. She is also involved in other clinical and burn prevention projects, including collaborative endeavours in Nepal.

Janine Duke 

Dr Dale Edgar

BPhty (Hons First), PhD

Dale is the Fiona Wood Foundation's Director of Clinical Research and, as a senior physiotherapist and researcher, has devoted the past 19 years to the provision and improvement of burn survivor rehabilitation. He holds academic teacher and mentoring positions at UWA's School of Surgery, Curtin University of Technology, the University of Notre Dame and James Cook University (Townsville). Previous roles have included Executive Officer of the Australian and New Zealand Burns Association (ANZBA), including being President of ANZBA for three years.

Dale is active in and recognised by the international burns community. He received the Andre Zagame International Society of Burn Injury Rehabilitation Specialist Award in 2012. His goals for the Foundation are to focus his research into the challenging area of acute major burn patient rehabilitation and using exercise as a therapeutic tool. He is continuing to focus on burn prevention, preparedness and pre-hospital management of burn patients, and he is heavily involved in community education programs and strategies, burn registries, plans and first aid strategies.

Dale Edgar

Associate Professor Mark Fear

MA (Oxon), PhD (Lond)

Mark is a Senior Scientist at the Fiona Wood Foundation and Associate Professor at the Burn Injury Research Unit at UWA.  Since graduating in 1996, Mark has been involved in scientific research at Northwestern University in Chicago, the University of London and UWA.

Since 2006, Mark’s research focus has been on wound healing, scar formation and ways to improve outcomes for burn patients. Together with Professor Fiona Wood, he established the basic scientific research group at UWA.


Mark Fear

Lisa Martin

RN, MSs (Public Health) Research Associate Burn Injury Research Unit, UWA

Lisa is a registered nurse with specialist training in critical care in the UK and Australia, and has a Master's in Public Health. She is interested in the fact that the same treatment causes different scars in different people, and is intent on investigating differences in genetic make-up.

Lisa strives to raise awareness of burn risk in the community by identifying and targeting at-risk groups through prevention campaigns.



Lisa Martin

Professor Suzanne Rea

MB, Bch (Hons), MRCSF, FRCSI(Plast) PhD

Suzanne is a Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Fiona Stanley Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital. Her research has been awarded by the Australian and New Zealand Burns Association and the American Burns Association.

Suzanne is currently researching the role of the bone marrow, peripheral nerve and muscle responses to burn injury, as well as supervising epidemiology studies to identify areas for further scientific research. She is also driving research into paediatric burn injuries and outcomes and also is instrumental in our research involving the laser. 


Suzanne Rea

PhD & Masters Students

Our PhD and Masters students are paving the way by undertaking new research into key areas of burn injuries.


Paul Gittings

BSc (Phty), (Hons First)

Paul is a senior Physiotherapist at the State Adult Burns Unit and a clinical researcher with the Fiona Wood Foundation. He has an interest in the patient’s journey through rehabilitation after a burn injury.

Paul is currently undertaking a PhD testing a specific exercise programme for burns patients immediately after their injury and assessing the quality of their outcomes.

Paul Gittings

Dr Vetrichevvel Palanivelu

MBBS, MD (Dermatology and Venereolgy)

Vetrichevvel is a dermatologist from India (a graduate of the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research) with a keen interest in research. His PhD with the BIRU is investigating the systemic effect of localised burn on the skin.

Vetrichevvel is looking at the different subtypes of nerve fibres that are affected in the skin, dorsal root ganglion (DRG) and the spine when burn injuries occur. Patients often suffer from decreased sensation or chronic pain at the site of a burn injury, changes that are not only due to the way the nerves regenerate in the burn scar but also due to the effect of the burn injury on the cutaneous sensory pathways.

Vetri Palanivelu

Dr Casey Whife

Casey went to medical school at UWA and graduated at the end of 2012. Since then, Casey divided his time between working at Bunbury Regional Hospital and Royal Peth Hospital. Whilst working in Perth in 2014, Casey worked at the WA State Burns Unit. This year Casey will be completeing a Master's through UWA, and is the recipient of the 2016 Cynthua Banham Burn Inury Research Fellowship, awarded by The Ian Potter Foundation.




 Read more about the research work of the team.

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