Wound healing

Management of wounds costs the NHS nearly £5 billion per year, which is comparable to that of managing obesity. Our research is identifying molecular and cellular mechanisms responsible for age-associated pathological wound healing, including endocrine aspects of ageing and skin physiology.

In collaboration with industrial partners and the Clinical Sciences Centre, our goal is to develop innovative treatments for chronic wounds that will bring clinical and economic benefits.


CODIFI2-COncordance in DIabetic Foot Infection2

Title: CODIFI2-COncordance in DIabetic Foot Infection2
Timeframe: August 2017 - May 2023
Funder: NIHR HTA
Contact: Angela Oates

CODIFI2 will compare microbiology swab and tissue wound sampling methods alongside traditional culture and molecular testing methods, to explore whether the information from these methods helps clinicians make better treatment decisions and will assess the impact of these on patient health outcomes.

About half of recent onset DFUs are considered clinically infected at presentation and unless quickly diagnosed and treated, these infections can lead to substantial morbidity, including amputation. This trial will provide definitive evidence to determine whether using tissue rather than swab sampling would lead to measureable changes treatment decisions and whether such changes lead to improved clinical outcomes.

Outputs and resources

First CODIFI study: NIHR and BMJ 

Advanced Wound Care Collaborative Research Programme with Smith & Nephew

Title: Advanced Wound Care Collaborative Research Programme with Smith & Nephew. 
Timeframe: 5 year strategic research collaboration
Funder: Smith & Nephew Ltd
Contact: Professor Matthew Hardman

This strategic collaboration brings together leading experts in wound care to address real-world problems and develop innovative new treatments.

Chronic wounds are a major drain on global health care. There is an urgent need understand the causes of poor healing and develop new treatments that specifically target defective healing. This major collaborative effort, underpinned by a cluster of six multidisciplinary PhD students, aims to develop and deliver effective new treatments for advanced wound care. 

The role of bacteria in the skin: Cold atmospheric plasma for the treatment of pathological wound healing

Title: The role of bacteria in the skin: Cold atmospheric plasma for the treatment of pathological wound healing
Timeframe: 3 year project
Funder: British Skin Foundation, Innovate UK and Fourth State Medicine
Contact: Professor Matthew Hardman

The project aims to a) understand the contribution of bacteria to healing, and b) evaluate a potential new antimicrobial treatment.

We know that 400-600 unique types of bacteria cover our bodies, yet we have little understanding of how this bacterial zoo influences our skin. Crucially, it remains unclear how important individual bacteria (good or bad) are for wound healing. This project will address these fundamental research questions.  

The wound “metallome”: Exploring the role of metals in wound repair

Title: The wound “metallome”: Exploring the role of metals in wound repair
Timeframe: 3 year project
Funder: Medical Research Council
Contact: Professor Matthew Hardman

The purpose of this project is to evaluate the role of metals, and metal-regulated processes, in normal and pathological wound repair.

Historically, biomedical research has involved characterising individual genes or pathways. More recently, omics approaches have allowed simultaneous analysis of multiple genes (genomics), proteins (proteomics) or metabolites (metabolomics) in wounds. Here, we extend this important analysis to explore global changes in metals (metallomics) during wound repair.  

Novel biomarkers for diabetic foot ulcers

Title: Novel biomarkers for diabetic foot ulcers
Timeframe: 3 year project
Funder: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIH, USA
Contact: Professor Matthew Hardman

The purpose of this project is to identify and validate new predictive biomarkers for diabetic wound chronicity.

An ongoing challenge in wound care is identifying biomarkers that will a) reveal wounds that are unlikely to heal (with current best practice treatment) and; b) give an early indication when treatments are working. Our group have identified a number of healing-relevant biomarkers (including microbiological, systemic and local factors).   

The role of ageing and menopause in wound repair

Title: The role of ageing and menopause in wound repair
Timeframe: Ongoing
Funder: Univeristy of Hull
Contact: Professor Matthew Hardman

To understand how and why advanced-age and hormone deficiency lead to poor wound healing.

As we age our skin undergoes major structural and functional change. Aged skin is more susceptible to injury and less able to repair damage. Our research is exploring the role of systemic hormones, particularly estrogen, in age-associated delayed healing, where they drive cellular senescence and local inflammation.