Dr Zlatko Kopecki

University of South Australia
Research Field: Wound healing

Patients with genetic skin blistering diseases, such as Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), lack the proteins that glue the skin together, causing them to develop spontaneous painful blisters and wounds that do not heal, and often lead to the development of skin cancers. There is no cure, and current treatment is limited to dressings to cover the skin to reduce infection and pain.

Dr Kopecki’s research has identified a harmful protein in the skin that contributes to increased skin blistering. He is currently developing a therapy which neutralises the activity of this protein, and leads to improved healing, reduced infection and decreased incidence of cancer in pre-clinical models. It is likely that that the continued development of an active wound healing treatment such as this will improve the lives of many Australians, including the elderly, diabetic and obese.

Zlatko’s engagement stretches from promoting science through photography and science-communication competitions, to participating in and organising community presentations and public events to promote an increased understanding of skin diseases in the wider community.

Dr Kopecki completed his PhD in Medicine at the University of Adelaide in 2011, and is currently a Foundation Fellow at the Future Industries Institute at the University of South Australia.