Our research

Inflammation and Acute Response 

This theme researches the early inflammatory response to trauma, how this develops into immune paresis with poor outcomes such as sepsis.

The body reacts to tissue damage with a profound inflammation in order to prevent infection but also to initiate repair processes and wound healing. This inflammatory response is accompanied by anti-inflammatory processes to maintain homeostasis. The balance of these two responses determines patient outcomes - too much inflammation can promote multi-organ failure, too little will predispose to infection and sepsis. Through analysis of patient immune responses from the first hour after injury through to the rehabilitation phase weeks later, we are improving understanding of the factors influencing the immune response to trauma.

Ocular Injury 

We combine laboratory and clinical research to understand the mechanisms of trauma related visual loss and translate new scientific advances into better patient care. 

Smart Dressings 

We are developing a range of functional dressings that incorporate drugs and cells that help scar-free healing. 

Trauma Rehabilitation 

There has been a marked improvement in survival rates following major trauma. Minimising subsequent disability, optimising functional recovery, and increasing patient-reported quality of life following acute trauma is therefore a research priority within the Centre for Trauma Science Research. Our research involves the development and application of innovative technologies for guided and enriched rehabilitation of patients following acute trauma. The theme focuses on personalised care through improved diagnostics and targeted interventions to increase the patients’ physical and cognitive functioning on discharge.

One key area of our research is understanding the mechanisms that underlie the transition from acute to chronic disabling post-traumatic pain. A better understanding of these mechanisms would facilitate the development and implementation of precision rehabilitation approaches that match interventions to projected risk of recovery, with the aim of preventing poor long-term outcomes. Thus our studies aim to determine a set of predictive factors to identify patients at risk of developing ongoing post-traumatic pain and disability following acute musculoskeletal trauma.

Current projects include:

  • Development of a screening tool to predict the risk of chronic pain and disability following musculoskeletal trauma.
  • Investigating the causal mechanisms of symptom recovery in chronic whiplash associated disorders using bayesian networks.
  • Inter-rater reliability of quantifying mechanical and thermal sensitivity in a musculoskeletal trauma population.
  • Measures of central sensitisation and their measurement properties in the adult musculoskeletal trauma population.
  • Evaluating whether pain extent is a predictive factor of ongoing pain and disability in patients with chronic whiplash-associated disorders.
  • Kinesiophobia and pain catastrophizing in the progression of chronic pain and disability in whiplash associated disorders: a systematic review.
  • Do measures of physical function enhance the prediction of persistent pain and disability following a whiplash injury? A prospective observational study.
  • The effects of neck specific exercise versus neck specific exercise plus behavioural therapy on pain extent in patients with chronic whiplash.
  • The role of kinesiophobia on pain, disability, and quality of life in people suffering from chronic musculoskeletal pain.

Traumatic Brain Injury 

We study the very early responses to trauma that reveal biomarkers for clinical outcome, the mechanisms of acute neurodegeneration and long-term cognitive dysfunction, and develop novel neuroprotective, neuroregenerative and neurorepair technologies.