20 Jul 2015

Crowdfunding boost for burns victims: Your vote counts!

Dr Shiva Akbarzadeh's Thinkable.org entry - Please vote!
You can help medical research at Monash win a cash prize by voting for it in the Thinkable 'Inspire Australia' competition.

New skin substitutes tailor-made for severe burns victims could become a reality through the work of a group of scientists led by Dr Shiva Akbarzadeh, and a boost from crowdfunding site, Thinkable.

Dr Akbarzadeh, a skin biologist at The Alfred hospital and Monash University, researches growing artificial skin in the laboratory using patients’ own cells that can be applied instead of skin grafts.

“The gold standard for treating deep burns is skin grafts,” Dr Akbarzadeh said. “That is difficult when a patient has massive burns and not enough donor sites, as happens in extensive burns.”

Dr Akbarzadeh’s Skin Tissue Culture Laboratory has developed techniques to create composite skin in the laboratory that is close to native skin.

“Our goal is to enable surgeons to replace both dermal and epidermal layers of damaged skin with tissue engineered skin in a single procedure. This will speed up wound healing and reduce the risk of infection.

“We are collaborating with material engineers at Monash to develop novel dermal matrices which are made from natural dermal components and would enhance epidermisation both in laboratory incubators and on patients.”

The work of Dr Akbarzadeh and her team could come to full fruition with the help of the Australian Academy of Science’s Australian Early to Mid-Career Researcher Forum which has launched the Inspire Australia Video Research Competition on research crowdfunding and engagement platform, Thinkable.

With close to $15,000 in the community prize pool so far, Dr Azbarkadeh’s lab, as well as other research teams in the Thinkable community, stand to gain a share, according to their overall votes received, all going towards general funding to advance their work.

To support the work of Dr Azbarkadeh and her team, visit their Thinkable ‘Tissue engineering for burns treatment’ video page to vote and contribute. Voting ends 30 July 2015.
To find out more about how Thinkable works, visit the Thinkable.org website.
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