Mechanisms underlying preferential ‘scarless’ wound healing in the oral mucosa
Unlike dermal wounds, oral mucosal wounds are characterized by minimal inflammation and angiogenesis, rapid healing/remodelling and minimal scar formation.
These responses are partly attributable to the ‘enhanced’ wound healing properties of oral mucosal fibroblasts (OMFs), evident by their superior proliferative, migratory and extracellular matrix remodelling properties compared to dermal fibroblasts (DFs); and their resistance to transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1)-driven, myofibroblast differentiation and scarring.
Within the Stem Cells, Wound Repair and Regeneration Research Group, we are interested in identifying the key genes and signalling pathways underlying these preferential scarless wound healing responses in OMFs. Therefore, this PhD project will utilise various cellular and molecular biology techniques to characterise the underlying cell signalling differences between OMFs and DFs, in order to understand the mechanisms underlying ‘scarless’ healing in the oral mucosa. Such findings may aid in the future development of novel therapeutic interventions against dermal scarring situations caused by surgery, trauma, burn injuries; and keloid or hypertrophic scarring.
The successful applicant will join a collaborative team of researchers within the School of Dentistry’s Stem Cells, Wound Repair and Regeneration Research Group, the Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering & Repair and external collaborators, with track records in translational wound healing/scarring research and innovation.