Western Kentucky University

Research Projects

Photograph: Schugart Lab, 2010


REU Project 5—Mathematical modeling oxygen (O2) treatment for chronic wounds—Dr. Richard Schugart, Mathematics and Computer Science Department


Chronic wounds do not heal in a timely manner and fail to produce anatomic and functional integrity. They are a significant socioeconomic problem, costing $5-10 billion annually in the United States. Maintaining a sufficient level of O2 is vital for tissue repair. O2 is essential for bacteria killing, epithelialization, angiogenesis, collagen synthesis, and matrix deposition during the reparative process. Chronic wounds typically lack the oxygen necessary for these processes to take place. The use of O2, such as through the administration of hyperbaric O2 and the application of topical O2 gas, to promote the healing of wounds has been around since the 1960s. Yet, ways to optimize the use of hyperbaric or topical O2 (e.g., O2 concentration and frequency and duration of administration) are poorly understood as clinical success of these treatments varies. Furthermore, experiments or clinical trials (especially for hyperbaric O2) can be quite costly. Mathematical models can give us the ability to investigate treatment strategies through computer simulations. The goal of this project is to further investigate questions related O2 therapy for chronic wounds. How can we use oxygen treatment to eliminate infections? Is there an optimal treatment strategy to promote re-epithelialization? Can we use O2 therapy to minimize scar tissue formation? Under what conditions might hyperbaric O2 be a better treatment strategy than topical O2, or vice versa?


Related Publications:

  1. Schugart, R.C., Friedman, A., Zhao, R., Sen, C.K. Wound angiogenesis as a function of tissue oxygen tension: A mathematical model. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 105: 2628-33 (2008).

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 Last Modified 7/22/13