Abnormal healing of wounds in, for example, diabetics, or aged patients, as well as formation of scar tissue, has resulted in the need to understand the fundamental processes involved in wound healing. This workshop aims to bring together experimentalists, clinicians and theoreticians working at the different scales apparent in this problem and to determine approaches for combining these in a multiscale modeling framework. From a clinical standpoint, we would like to be able to predict from an initial time course what is the longer term prognosis for a wound. At one level, this could be done statistically, as perhaps from data already available trends could be discovered. However, this would not provide a mechanistic understanding which would inform a clinician of what therapeutical intervention to make if the model predicts that a wound would not heal properly.
The first three days will focus on particular spatial scales. Day 1 will begin with an overview talk that will introduce participants to the stages involved in wound healing, together with imaging of actual wound healing processes to illustrate the state of the art in experimental measurement and visualization techniques. It will then investigate aspects of signaling networks within cells which determine cell responses to wounding. Day 2 will focus on angiogenesis, the process by which new vasculature evolves. A specific aim here is to understand the origin of the biphasic response of healing to oxygen tension and its implications, for example, in wound infections where oxygen is used up thus impairing the healing process. Day 3 will address problems arising at the level of cell movement and laying down of matrix with important implications for scar tissue formation.
To arrive at a comprehensive model (or suite of models) one needs to integrate processes occurring on many different time and length scales. It is clearly impossible to simply include everything, so a major challenge for modelers is to extract from detailed models the essence of the processes occurring at each scale and interface them appropriately in a multiscale framework. Day 4 will consist of talks on this subject.
Day 5 will present a number of clinical case studies which will lay down future challenges in developing the generic modeling frameworks presented in the first four days to specific problems. Examples here will include healing in diabetic patients, elderly patients.