University of Wisconsin–Madison

Archive: Dr. Angela Gibson receives grant to study how burns heal

Portrait of Angela Gibson, MD, PhD
Angela Gibson, MD, PhD

The UW Skin Diseases Research Center recently awarded Angela Gibson, MD, PhD, assistant professor of surgery, a one-year grant through its Pilot and Feasibility Awards Program to support her research into understanding how burns heal. Through her project “Molecular and Proteomic Signatures of Cellular Regeneration in Burn Injury,” Dr. Gibson aims to understand where in the skin’s layers healing and regrowth occurs. This information will allow surgeons to determine which tissue in a burn wound should stay and which tissue should be surgically removed, with the goal of reducing the need for skin grafts.

Each year, nearly half a million Americans seek medical treatment for burn injuries, and about 10 percent are hospitalized for burn-related treatment. Severe burns are extremely painful, highly susceptible to infection, and in some cases cannot heal on their own. While specialized burn care has advanced significantly in recent decades, surgical treatment of burns is not standardized. Different surgical techniques and the inability of surgeons to see burns on a microscopic level during surgery result in variations in wound healing and patient recovery.

Dr. Gibson, a provider at the UW Health Burn Center, specializes in the surgical treatment of trauma, burns and complicated wounds. She hopes her research in wound healing will lead to the development of wound healing technologies such as advanced surgical instruments that improve burn surgery and surgical decision making, and skin substitutes that optimize and encourage a healing environment.