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Burns Unit Research

Burns Unit at Concord Hospital, a specialist referral centre is part of the NSW Statewide Severe Burn Injury Service servicing the entire State of New South Wales for adults with burn injuries and other skin loss conditions. Our Unit is well equipped with purposely designed patient care facilities, surgical theatre, and a state-of-art clinical cell culture GMP clean room, laser treatment clinic and a burn research laboratory. Our multi-disciplinary clinical team that is renowned for providing world-class clinical care in treating severe burns.  

Our unit is affiliated with University of Sydney Medical School. We have a well-established research team to carry out clinical and laboratory research projects to solve the problems we come across in patient care. 

Our research team is committed to the development of cell therapies and engineered skin substitutes as alternatives for deep burn care. The research involves in generating various biological scaffolds using bio-degradable matrix proteins and synthetic polymers that are biologically compatible, safe and suitable for skin cells to attach and grow. The bio-scaffold could facilitate the repair and regeneration of the damaged dermal tissue and the engineering of living skin substitutes with skin structures comparable to normal human skin.

We are also involved in fundamental burn research including wound healing, wound infection, scarring and wound contraction, nutritional and hormonal regulation of burn wound healing. In addition to laboratory-based projects, our clinical research team carry out various research on important issues in burn and reconstructive surgery; burn wound care; management of burn wound scarring and contraction, dermal angiogenesis; cell therapies for skin regeneration; rehabilitation and allied health issues post severe burn injury, and burn epidemiology and prevention.

Burns and Reconstructive Surgery Laboratory
(ANZAC Research Institute)

The group researches all aspects of Burn Care and specialises in tissue engineering of 3-dimensional skin substitutes for severe burns patients. Cultured Epithelium Autografts (CEA) is a well-established technique to create large numbers of skin cell for resurfacing of wounds. Unfortunately, these cultured cells do not have the same physical properties as normal human skin cells as they are missing the interaction with deeper tissue layers.

Our laboratory is committed to improve the cultured skin autograft technology by developing three-dimensional dermal substitutes and skin equivalents for treating deep burn wounds. Using technologies including tissue culture, cell biology, molecular biology and cellular and tissue engineering, we have been trying to produce different biological scaffolds that are biologically compatible, safe and suitable for skin cells to attach and grow. The scaffold could be used for repairing the damaged dermal bed or for engineering autologous skin substitute with skin structures comparable to normal human skin, which includes epidermis, dermal components, pigment cells and microvascular vessels under laboratory conditions. The research and development of tissue-engineered scaffold, dermal and skin equivalents will benefit not only the burns patients but also the patients with other skin defects such as chronic, diabetic and pressure skin ulcers.

Our Research Team

Professor Peter Maitz Director of Burns Unit
Associate Professor Peter Haertsch Burns / Plastics Surgeon
Dr Justine Ohara Burns / Plastics Surgeon
Associate Professor Zhe Li Chief Scientist
Dr Nicola Clayton Senior Speech Pathologist
Dr Frank Li Senior Physiotherapist
Dr Joanneke Maitz Clinician, Group Lead Burns and Reconstructive Surgery Research
Caroline Nicholls Senior Dietitian
Miranda Pye Clinical Nurse Practitioner
Jessica Dolan Nursing Manager
Sue Taggart Clinical Nurse Consultant
Monica Oana Ditu Burns Theatre Coordinator, Clinical Nurse Specialist
Megan Brady Clinical Nurse Specialist
Kate Nieuwendyk Scientific Officer
Kevin Tsai Postdoctoral Research Associate
Aiken Dao Research Staff
Lara Alfiero Research Staff

Our Research Projects

Investigation of thermos-responsive hydrogel, TetraMatrix for multiple medical applications in burn injuries and reconstructive surgery
K Tsai, K Gohil, A Fathi, T Abrams, S Maleknia, P Maitz, J Maitz
Development of electrospun scaffolds encapsulating botulinum toxin to prevent post-burn scarring
J Maitz, K Tsai, P Maitz
Rejuvenating patients’ skin cells to improve wound healing and scarring in burn injuries and reconstructive surgery
J Maitz, A Cutrupi, G Perez-Siles, K Tsai, M Kennerson, P Maitz
A Randomised Multi - Centred Trial to Evaluate Efficacy and Safety of Cultured Epithelial Autografts (CEA) in Combination with a Meshed (4:1) Split Skin Graft (SSG) after Debridement of a Burn Wound
P Maitz, Z Li, K Neuwendyk, J Harvey, J Vandervord, A Phoon, S Taggard, P Kennedy
A Clinical Evaluation of Efficacy and Safety of Cultured Epithelial Autograft (CEA) Suspension Applied to a Donor Site on a Burn Injured Patient 
P Maitz, P Kennedy, Z Li , S Taggart, T Leong, K Nieuwendyk
Skin Repair: Tissue Engineering using Synthetic Elastin 
J Rnjak, Z Li, P Maitz, AS Weiss
Identifying the Diffusible Factor(s) Produced by Skin Cells Grown on Tropoelastin Scaffolds 
J Almine, Z Li, P Maitz, AS Weiss
Skin Cell Culture on Hollow Fibre-Collagen Scaffold 
C Shu, M Lord, C McFarland, P Maitz, Z Li
Skin Tissue Engineering Using a Biodegradable Polymer 
Y Wang, D Martínez Tobón, A Taylor, P Maitz, Z Li
Efficacy and Safety of Engineered Skin Substitute and Dressing Materials on Skin Wound Healing: A Mouse Model Study 
Y Wang, K Neuwiendyk, J Rnjak, P Maitz and Z Li
Quality Assessment of Meshed Skin Graft Temporally Stored at 4°C 
Z Li, P Maitz, C Overend, J Ledgard, K Kennedy
Biofilm and Infection of Burn Wound 
P Kennedy, S Brammah, E Wills

Selected Grants

Amount awarded Grant and project details
US $599,253 USA Department of Defence/Military Burn Research Program, 2022-2025
Antimicrobial peptide - selenium nanoparticle dressings to enhance burn wound healing and prevent antimicrobial resistant infection.
Investigators: Maitz P, O'Connor A, Li Z
$223,320 CDMRP (DoD) – Project, 2022-27
Antimicrobial peptide - selenium nanoparticle dressings to enhance burn wound healing and prevent antimicrobial resistant infections.
Investigators: O'Conner, Maitz, O'Brien-Simpson, Heath, Farrugia, Li
$10,000  Sydney Research – Annual Health Research Infrastructure Award Scholarship, 2023
Neon Transfection System.
Investigators: Maitz

Our Publications


Betar N, Warren J, Adams J, Herbert D, Vujcich E, Maitz P, Brown J. Intravenous iron therapy to treat burn anaemia: A retrospective cohort study. Burns. 2022 May 23:S0305-4179(22)00120-6. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2022.05.015. PMID: 35717364
Betar N, Warren J, Adams J, Herbert D, Vujcich E, Maitz P, Brown J. Iron status in patients with burn anaemia. Burns. 2022 May 17:S0305-4179(22)00121-8. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2022.05.014. PMID: 35715343
Calder D, Fathi A, Oveissi F, Maleknia S, Abrams T, Wang Y, Maitz J, Tsai KH, Maitz P, Chrzanowski W, Canoy I, Menon VA, Lee K, Ahern BJ, Lean NE, Silva DM, Young PM, Traini D, Ong HX, Mahmoud RS, Montazerian H, Khademhosseini A, Dehghani F. Thermoresponsive and Injectable Hydrogel for Tissue Agnostic Regeneration. Adv Healthc Mater. 2022 Dec;11(23):e2201714. doi: 10.1002/adhm.202201714. Epub 2022 Oct 17. PMID: 36148581.
Clayton NA, Walker E, Freeman-Sanderson A. Clinical profile and recovery pattern of dysphagia in the COVID-19 patient: A prospective observational cohort within NSW. Aust Crit Care. 2022 Jan 14; S1036-7314(22)00002-9.  doi: 10.1016/j.aucc.2022.01.001.
Clayton NA, Ward EC, Nicholls C, Giannone R, Skylas K, Maitz PK. The addition of respiratory muscle strength training to facilitate swallow and pulmonary rehabilitation following massive tissue loss and severe deconditioning: A case series. Aust Crit Care. 2022 Mar;35(2):210-216. doi: 10.1016/j.aucc.2021.03.003. Epub 2021 Apr 23. PMID: 33902987.
Ding X, Tang Q, Xu Z, Xu Y, Zhang H, Zheng D, Wang S, Tan Q, Joanneke Maitz, Maitz P, Yin S, Wang Y, Chen J. Challenges and innovations in treating chronic and acute wound infections: from basic science to clinical practice. Burns Trauma. 2022 May 21; 10:tkac014. doi: 10.1093/burnst/tkac014.
Hardingham N, Ward E, Clayton N, Gallagher R. Acute Swallowing Outcomes After Surgical Resection of Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancers With the Mandibular Lingual Release Approach. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2022 Sep 6:1945998221123925. doi: 10.1177/01945998221123925. Online ahead of print. PMID: 36066970
Issler-Fisher AC. The importance of biomechanics and the kinetic chains of human movement in the development and treatment of burn scars - A narrative review with illustrative cases. Burns. 2022 Aug 28:S0305-4179(22)00220-0. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2022.08.010. Online ahead of print. PMID: 36127224 Review.
Issler-Fisher, A., Fisher, O., Haertsch, P., Li, Z., Maitz, P. (2022). Response to the Letter to the Editor: Efficacy and safety of ablative fractional CO2 laser for the treatment of burn scars: A case-control study. Burns, 48(2), 468-469
Jackson SR, Jung m, Karunaratne G, Mackenzie K, Gillies R, O'Hara J. (2022) Increased self-immolation frequency and severity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Burns. 2022 Jun; 48(4):984-988. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2022.01.002. PMID: 35039229 PMCID: PMC8730818 DOI: 10.1016/j.burns.2022.01.002
Lo CH, Brown JN, Dantzer EJG, Maitz PKM, Vandervord JG, Wagstaff MJD, Barker TM, Cleland H. Wound healing and dermal regeneration in severe burn patients treated with NovoSorb® Biodegradable Temporising Matrix: A prospective clinical study. Burns. 2022 May; 48(3):529-538. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2021.07.014. Epub 2021 Jul 31. PMID: 34407914 Free article.
Phan, K., Oh, L., Issler-Fisher, A., Rao, A., Wong, E., Maitz, P. (2022). Ventilatory support in Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Dermatological Treatment, 33(1), 525-530.
Shi H, Rath EM, Lin RCY, Sarun KH, Clarke CJ, McCaughan BC, Ke H, Linton A, Lee K, Klebe S, Maitz J, Song K, Wang Y, Kao S, Cheng YY. 3-Dimensional mesothelioma spheroids provide closer to natural pathophysiological tumor microenvironment for drug response studies. Front Oncol. 2022 Aug 26;12:973576. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2022.973576. PMID: 36091141.
Shi H, Tsai KH, Ma D, Wang X, Desai R, Parungao RJ, Hunt NJ, Cheng YY, Zhang H, Xu Y, Simanainen U, Tan Q, Cooper MS, Handelsman DJ, Maitz PK, Wang Y. (2022) Controlled dual release of dihydrotestosterone and flutamide from polycaprolactone electrospun scaffolds accelerate burn wound healing. FASEB J. 2022 May; 36(5):e22310. doi: 10.1096/fj.202101803R. PMID: 35394674
Stynes G, Haertsch P, O'Hara J, Knight R, Issler-Fisher AC, Maitz PKM. Alginate dressings continuously for fourteen days on uncontaminated, superficial, partial thickness burns. J Burn Care Res. 2022 Oct 1:irac143. doi: 10.1093/jbcr/irac143. Online ahead of print. PMID: 36181757