Nanoengineered seaweed for scarless skin regeneration
Dr Nowsheen Goonoo will deliver The Royal Society Rising Star Africa Prize Seminar 2021.
Type 2 diabetes is a worldwide issue leading to major complications such as diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs). The lifetime risk of developing diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) is 15% and patients have a 75% mortality rate if DFU is combined with nephropathy. In Africa, approximately 2.4 million diabetics suffer from DFUs. The main common forms of DFU treatment is surgical debridement, dressings and antibiotics therapy. DFUs add significantly to the economic burden of a country due to ulcer management, slow healing which leads to prolonged admissions and surgical interventions. As a result, there is an urgent need to reduce the healing time of DFUs, thereby reducing the number of hospital admissions and amputation rates.
Difficulties in repairing wounds related to DFUs are mainly due to wound infection, lack of extracellular matrix (ECM), and insufficient blood supply in the affected area. Current commercial products for the treatment of DFUs are very expensive and find limited applications on the African continent. In her lecture, Dr Goonoo will share her experiences on the transformation of seaweeds into affordable nanofiber-based wound dressings to promote scarless and accelerated wound healing.
The Royal Society Rising Star Africa Prize is to recognise early-career research scientists based in Africa who are making an innovative contribution to the physical, mathematical and engineering sciences. The prize was established in memory of Paul O’Brien FRS and his work encouraging excellence in science and education in Africa. Winners will receive a grant of £14,000 to support their research and a personal gift of £1,000.