10 Jun 2016

30 Jun deadline: MIME PhD Scholarship available for regenerative medicine (burns)

Applications due 30 June for a PhD project scholarship in regenerative medicine: Development of an engineered skin substitute for the treatment of burn injuries

The prognosis for survival of burn injuries has improved significantly in the last 40 years. This has in large part been due to improvements in the critical care of patients with a severe burn injury, and patients now routinely survive injuries that were inevitably fatal in the 1970s. However, further improvements in burn care are currently significantly impeded by the lack of a true skin substitute that replicates the functions of intact skin. This is despite the development of biosynthetic dressings, temporary skin substitutes and dermal analogues that have provided adjunctive treatments to split skin grafts, which remain the gold standard for large wound closure in most settings.

The project will develop a novel bioengineered skin substitute for the treatment of burn injuries. The material will be composed of hyaluronic acid (HA) as a bioactive component to promote wound healing, together with a biocompatible and bioinert matrix material, to be selected from a range of readily available candidates. Initial work will focus on developing a carrier replacement material for cultured epithelial autograft, CEA, to replace the current fibrin glue (Tisseel) technology. Tisseel is costly, allogeneic and, more importantly, is incapable of integrating into the wound bed. One of the goals of this initial phase is to address the need for a graftable skin substitute that improves the delivery of CEA and could seal a partial thickness wound while healing occurs. Subsequently, work will progress towards a full thickness skin replacement material, harnessing the known ability of HA to recruit endogenous mesenchymal stem cells. For both the CEA and skin replacement applications, management of the wound bed bacterial burden will be vital, hence we will incorporate antibacterial polymers into the composite skin substitute.

Summary detail:

  • Key aim: The development, synthesis, fabrication and testing of new materials suitable for an engineered skin substitute for the treatment of burn injuries.
  • Clinical leader: Ms Heather Cleland, Alfred Health/Central Clinical School
  • Main supervisor: Professor Neil Cameron, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Monash University
  • For more information on this project, please contact the main supervisor, Professor Neil Cameron (Neil.Cameron@monash.edu)
    For more information on how to apply please see the Monash University Faculty of Engineering webpage (http://www.eng.monash.edu.au/research/apply/
  • Applications due 30 June 2016.
For more details on this and other projects please see:  www.monash.edu/mime/funding/mime-2016-phd-scholarships.html
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