Tissue Repair Unit - Institute for Respiratory Health

Tissue Repair Unit


Many forms of lung disease can be regarded as the interaction between tissue injury and subsequent attempts to heal the affected tissues.

The Tissue Repair Group are committed to assessing the mechanisms regulating interactions between cells, the matrix surrounding cells and the different molecules released following injury. These interactions stimulate cells to respond in different ways, including by proliferation, migration, invasion, differentiation and collagen production. Diseases arising from abnormal tissue repair include asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD), adhesions and cancer. The focus of their work is in two areas:

Firstly, the Group is examining how lung injury leads to the development of fibrosis (scar tissue in the lung). The cause of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) is unknown but it is widely accepted that repeated injury to the epithelium leads to dysregulated healing, initiating a cascade of processes resulting in fibroblast / myofibroblast accumulation and overproduction and deposition of collagen.

Secondly, they are investigating the mechanisms underlying mesothelial healing, and the role of the mesothelial cell and mesothelial stem cell in normal repair; the formation of post-operative adhesions; and the factors that regulate the development and growth of malignant mesothelioma.

Current research projects

STAT3 regulation of cell responses in IPF

Epithelial-mesenchymal cell communication towards new therapeutic targets for fibrosis

Fibroblast Scenecence as a driver of pulmonary fibrosis

The Immune regulation of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Investigating the role of specific B cell subsets in chronic lung disease

miRNAs in mesothelioma

The hedgehog signalling pathway in mesothelioma

Recent highlights

  • PhD Candidate, Tylah Miles awarded the Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship and the Lung Foundation Australia Bill van Nierop PhD Scholarship, 2018.
  • Awarded NHMRC Project Grant for research into epithelial-mesenchymal cell communication; towards new therapeutic targets for fibrosis.
  • Associate Professor Steve Mutsaers awarded the Alan King Westcare Grant 2017 for the effects of infection on mesothelial gene transcription: a role for immune check point regulation in chronic disease.
  • Awarded the UHU Seed Funding Grant for investigating the role of specific B cell subsets in chronic lung disease.
  • Awarded the UHU Collaborative Grant for Mesothelial cell involvement in serosal repair and adhesion formation.


Our People
The Tissue Repair Unit includes senior scientists, postdoctoral researchers, PhD and Honours students.