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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S019847/1
Title: A MICROMECHANICAL SENSOR TO UNDERSTAND AND MONITOR WOUND HEALING
Principal Investigator: Crichton, Dr M L
Other Investigators:
Cash, Dr J
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Engineering and Physical Science
Organisation: Heriot-Watt University
Scheme: New Investigator Award
Starts: 01 August 2019 Ends: 31 July 2021 Value (£): 362,112
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Med.Instrument.Device& Equip.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
31 Jan 2019 HT Investigator-led Panel Meeting - Jan 2019 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Wounds including chronic diabetic/venous ulcers, burns and surgical incisions cost the NHS £4.5-5.1 billion per year to manage. They cause significant pain and their treatment consumes huge clinical resources every year. In order to reduce the burden of wound management on both the patient and health service, we are seeking to understand wounds at a higher resolution than ever before, and to use this data to develop a non-invasive wound management sensor technology.

Our project starts by seeking to understand what actually happens in a wound - which is well established biologically, but poorly understood mechanically, especially at the micro-(sub-hair width)-scale. To address this, we will use indentation to probe skin mechanically, building up a map of its properties and how they change over time. With this fresh data on material properties of healing skin tissue, we can identify how we might be able to support tissue to heal more effectively. We will also measure the key structural component of skin - collagen - to identify the structural changes that lead to these healing changes.

The second part of this project engineers a miniature sensor that can be embedded in a bandage to non-invasively measure the changes in a wound's properties. To achieve this, we will take the properties measured in the first part of the grant, and then tailor a sensor to send acoustic waves through the healing tissue. Measuring this wave transmission will tell us how the tissue is changing in time and whether a wound is displaying behaviour that indicates that a dressing or therapeutic approach needs to be changed.

This project combines engineering characterisation and sensor development with biological sciences in an ambitious inter-disciplinary project, addressing a major healthcare burden. Outcomes from this work will be important academic understanding and a sensing approach, which establishes technology for "smart" and remote healthcare in this clinical area. As a rsult, we envisage a pathway towards cheap, simple and non-invasive therapies that will improve the socio-economic burden of wounds.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Summary
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Organisation Website: http://www.hw.ac.uk