Understanding macrophage phenotypes in normal and pathological healing: harnessing pro-resolving pathways to drive repair

Year of award: 2016


  • Dr Jenna Cash

    University of Edinburgh

Project summary

When skin is injured, a repair response commences that involves an inflammatory phase in which white blood cells, including macrophages, are recruited to the wound site to support the repair process. Wounds typically heal within days or weeks, but a growing number are failing to heal. This inflicts debilitating personal costs on patients and a burden on healthcare systems. These wounds are chronically inflamed, with their macrophages often described as dysfunctional. Pathways which regulate the balance between acute wound inflammation resolution versus chronic wound inflammation persistence represent potential therapeutic targets to alleviate aberrant healing.

I am interested in studying normal and pathological healing to ascertain what kinds of macrophages are present throughout the diverse phases of normal repair. I will study how they behave, how they change in wounds that fail to heal and how this impacts the repair outcome. I will also study pathways that help terminate the inflammatory response to determine whether we can harness them to accelerate wound repair or rescue chronic wounds that have become ‘stuck’ in the inflammatory phase.

The overall goal of my research is to achieve an improved understanding of the events that determine whether a skin wound heals acutely or develops into a chronic wound.