Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Burn Injury Research Unit


Prof. Fiona Wood

Burn Injury Research Unit
Clinical Training and Evaluation Centre, University of Western Australia
[email protected]

Patient scar pre(A) and post(B) laser therapy. Scar is significantly improved in colour and pliability after 3 laser treatments of the scar area over a period of 3 months

Area of Expertise

There are a number of related but distinct research foci within the Burn injury research group including;

  1. The long-term impact of burn injury on patients’ health. We are interested in the systemic impacts of burn and increased risk of secondary pathologies after discharge, including cancer and infection.
  2. Development of novel therapies for scarring and fibrosis. We are currently investigating the potential use of Lysyl Oxidase inhibitors to ameliorate scarring and fibrosis. We are also interested in the use of genetic strategies to alter scar fibroblast phenotype to produce dermal matrix that appears more similar to normal skin rather than scar tissue.
  3. The role of innervation in wound repair and fibrosis. It is clear that many animals require intact nerves to regenerate limbs and tissues. However the role of nerves in scarring and fibrosis has largely been overlooked. We are interested in how innervation contributes to the extent of scarring and in extreme cases to progressive fibrotic disease.
  4. Understanding the molecular and cellular pathophysiology of scarring and fibrosis. We have a number of projects focused on the basic molecular and cellular changes that underpin scar formation and progressive fibrotic disease. We are interested in cell communication and cross-talk that exacerbates matrix deposition. We are looking for common mechanisms of fibrosis that occur across tissues as potential therapeutic targets for many diseases.

Top 5 Recent Publications

  1. O'Halloran E, Shah A, Dembo L, Hool L, Viola H, Grey C, Boyd J, O'Neill T, Wood F, Duke J, Fear M. The impact of non-severe burn injury on cardiac function and long-term cardiovascular pathology. Sci Rep. 2016 Oct 3;6:34650. doi: 10.1038/srep34650.
  2. Valvis SM, Waithman J, Wood FM, Fear MW, Fear VS. The Immune Response to Skin Trauma Is Dependent on the Etiology of Injury in a Mouse Model of Burn and Excision. J Invest Dermatol. 2015 Aug;135(8):2119-28
  3. Haustead DJ, Stevenson A, Saxena V, Marriage F, Firth M, Silla R, Martin L, Adcroft KF, Rea S, Day PJ, Melton P, Wood FM, Fear MW. Transcriptome analysis of human ageing in male skin shows mid-life period of variability and central role of NF-κB. Sci Rep. 2016 May 27;6:26846. doi: 10.1038/srep26846.
  4. Agarwal V, Toshniwal P, Smith NE, Smith NM, Li B, Clemons TD, Byrne LT, Kakulas F, Wood FM, Fear M, Corry B, Swaminathan Iyer K. Enhancing the efficacy of cation-independent mannose 6-phosphate receptor inhibitors by intracellular delivery. Chem Commun (Camb). 2016 Jan 7;52(2):327-30
  5. Rea S, Stevenson A, Giles NL, Wood FM, Fear MW. Cells from the hematopoietic lineage are only present transiently during healing in a mouse model of non-severe burn injury. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2015 Jul 24;6:134

Recent Grant Successes

  1. NHMRC Development grant with Pharmaxis as collaborating partner
  2. NHMRC project grant together with Dr Prele (CIA) looking at common mechanisms of fibrosis
  3. TPCHRF WA Department of Health funding – Chronic immune suppression in pediatric burn survivors

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