The skin is the largest organ and has a complex role, providing a strong barrier against infections and external damage, but also water and heat loss.

As such, Skin Research is exciting and has broad applications around the skin response to sun exposure and ultraviolet light (UV), skin stem cell research and regeneration, and skin immunology and inflammation research.

The UV and skin research area encompasses a wide range of topics, with the aim of understanding the underlying mechanisms involved in development of skin damage, skin ageing and cancer, and improving their treatment options. This includes drug discovery, novel skin sampling and delivery technologies, and determining the effects of Vitamin D and UV exposure on skin.

Research occurring in the area of skin stem cells and wound healing has the potential to impact on skin regeneration processes for burns and chronic wounds, as well as hair follicle and nail development and disease.

Finally and importantly skin immunology and inflammation research is relevant to preventing skin infections and cancers.  This research will ultimately improve our understanding of the role our immune system plays in these skin disorders and its essential function in the therapy of photo-ageing skin and skin cancers.

Research highlights

Research into skin includes three broad areas:

Research into UV and Skin

  • Cancer Aetiology and Prevention – Professor Brian Gabrielli (Mater), Dr Elke Hacker (QIMR Berghofer)
  • Vitamin D – Professor Rachel Neale (QIMR Berghofer)
  • Inflammation Biology – Professor Andreas Suhrbier (QIMR Berghofer)
  • Drug discovery – Dr Graeme Walker (QIMR Berghofer), Professor Peter Parsons (QIMR Berghofer)

Research into Skin Immunology

  • Vaccines, immunisation – Professor Ian Frazer (UQ), Dr James Wells (UQ)
  • Cytotoxic T cell – Professor Graham Leggatt (UQ)
  • Microbiology, metagenomics – Professor Mark Morrison (UQ)
  • Microbiology; genomics – Professor Phil Hugenholtz (UQ)
  • Antigen Presentation and Immunoregulation – Dr Kelli MacDonald (QIMR Berghofer)

Research into Stem Cells and Wound Healing

  • Burns trial – Professor Roy Kimble (UQ-QCH)
  • Chronic wounds, cellular therapy, hair follicle regeneration – Professor Kiarash Khosrotehrani (UQ)