FWF Team Focus - Dr Vetri Palanivelu

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Congratulations to Vetri for graduating with his PHD at UWA. Vetri has been with the Burn Injury Research Unit at UWA since late 2011 and as well as completing his PhD has contributed to lots of our other projects.

Vetri’s thesis studied the effect of non-severe burn injury on the sensory nervous system. He found that a non-severe burn injury systemically decreased the nerve fibers carrying touch and pressure sensation, and increased the pain and itch mediating fibers. He also found that these changes to nerve cells occurred all the way from the skin into the spinal cord (dorsal root ganglia). Using corticosteroids seemed to be effective in helping to stop the nerve changes after a burn injury, but more work is needed on this area of research.

This work has the potential to help in the future with identifying new treatments that can improve sensory function and reduce pain in scars after burn injury.

Currently, Vetri is working as a Research Associate with us on a project that looks at the “immunological effects of burns in children”. This project is to see if there are long-term effects of the burn injury on how well the immune system works in children. One way we are looking at this is to measure the response to vaccines in children after a burn injury and compare this to children who were not injured.

Vetri is also continuing to look at nerves, following up his PhD work with more investigations into how we can improve nerve function and reduce pain in scars.

We would like to acknowledge the support of the WA Freemasons Ladies Group, who has contributed to supporting Vetri’s work as an early career researcher – Thank You! It is often difficult for early career researchers to attract competitive funding,and philanthropic support from the community goes a long way in keeping some of our brightest researchers in WA.

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