Fiona Wood's Exceptional Story

Professor Fiona Wood is one of Australia’s most innovative and respected surgeons and researchers. She has pioneered research and technology development in burns medicine and is renowned for the development of spray on skin.

 

Fiona and her team are often at the forefront of crisis response. After the 2002 Bali bombings, the team treated 28 patients, working around the clock to save lives and improve the quality of life for the 25 who survived. Fiona co-ordinated this major operation, which involved four operating theatres, 19 surgeons and 130 medical staff.

 

In 2003, Fiona was awarded Member of the Order of Australia and the Australian Medication Association’s Contribution to Medicine Award. She was awarded Australian of the Year in 2005 and voted Australia’s most trusted person for six consecutive years (2005-2010).

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Fiona, who has also been recognised as an Australian Living Treasure, was born in Yorkshire, England into a non-medical family. Her parents left school at just 13 and 14 years old and were keen to encourage Fiona and her brothers to pursue a good education.

 

Fiona had always enjoyed sciences and sports at school, and as a young child hoped for a career as an Olympic sprinter, or in maths and physics. It was her mother and elder brother who encouraged her to apply for a degree in medicine.

 

“I think my mother was very keen that a female should have a career to ensure financial independence. She had no concept that a scientist could do that but she had a very clear belief that a doctor would,” says Fiona.

 

Despite being told that “females don’t really do surgery”, Fiona started doing research in plastic surgery and anatomy and through persistence, found a group of peers and colleagues who supported her.

 

By 1986, Fiona had published her first paper looking at skin, tissue expansion and neuroplasticity. In 1987, she moved to Australia with her husband and their two children. She completed her training in plastic surgery between having four more children.

 

In the early 1990s, Professor Fiona Wood and scientist Marie Stoner began researching and developing tissue engineering together. In 1993, Fiona created a company called Clinical Cell Culture (C3) which specialises in spray-on skin for burns victims. Royalties from licencing are poured back into a research fund called the McComb Foundation.

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Dr Sam Hazledine talked to Professor Fiona Wood about the development of spray on skin, becoming a surgeon and the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people. Listen to the full podcast here and find videos and resources linked to this podcast on our Doctor’s Toolbox page.

Professor Fiona Wood is one of Australia’s most innovative and respected surgeons and researchers. She has pioneered research and technology development in burns medicine and is renowned for the development of spray on skin.

 

Fiona and her team are often at the forefront of crisis response. After the 2002 Bali bombings, the team treated 28 patients, working around the clock to save lives and improve the quality of life for the 25 who survived. Fiona co-ordinated this major operation, which involved four operating theatres, 19 surgeons and 130 medical staff.

 

In 2003, Fiona was awarded Member of the Order of Australia and the Australian Medication Association’s Contribution to Medicine Award. She was awarded Australian of the Year in 2005 and voted Australia’s most trusted person for six consecutive years (2005-2010).

Untitled_design_(16).jpg

Fiona, who has also been recognised as an Australian Living Treasure, was born in Yorkshire, England into a non-medical family. Her parents left school at just 13 and 14 years old and were keen to encourage Fiona and her brothers to pursue a good education.

 

Fiona had always enjoyed sciences and sports at school, and as a young child hoped for a career as an Olympic sprinter, or in maths and physics. It was her mother and elder brother who encouraged her to apply for a degree in medicine.

 

“I think my mother was very keen that a female should have a career to ensure financial independence. She had no concept that a scientist could do that but she had a very clear belief that a doctor would,” says Fiona.

 

Despite being told that “females don’t really do surgery”, Fiona started doing research in plastic surgery and anatomy and through persistence, found a group of peers and colleagues who supported her.

 

By 1986, Fiona had published her first paper looking at skin, tissue expansion and neuroplasticity. In 1987, she moved to Australia with her husband and their two children. She completed her training in plastic surgery between having four more children.

 

In the early 1990s, Professor Fiona Wood and scientist Marie Stoner began researching and developing tissue engineering together. In 1993, Fiona created a company called Clinical Cell Culture (C3) which specialises in spray-on skin for burns victims. Royalties from licencing are poured back into a research fund called the McComb Foundation.

Untitled_design_(15).jpg

Dr Sam Hazledine talked to Professor Fiona Wood about the development of spray on skin, becoming a surgeon and the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people. Listen to the full podcast here and find videos and resources linked to this podcast on our Doctor’s Toolbox page.

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