Parinaz Ahangar,

Future Industries Institute,

University of South Australia

Parinaz is a post-doctoral researcher in the Regenerative Medicine Group, based at the Future Industries Institute, University of South Australia (UniSA). Having started her research career seeking to understand and prevent survival of colorectal cancer cells, Parinaz has spent that past four years working to improve treatments for hard to heal wounds, as seen in diabetic or burns patients. She is honoured to have received the 2020 Young Investigator Award from the Australasian Wound & Tissue Repair Society which recognises the value of her research to the Australian wound management and health care system.

Parinaz completed a Bachelor of Science (Biology) and subsequent Master of Science (Pathology and Embryology) at Urmia University, Iran. During her master’s project, from which she graduated as the top ranked masters student, Parinaz performed a comparative study on the effect of fish-oil derived acids on gene colorectal cancer cells and subsequent work resulted in six papers published in international journals, including articles in Medical Oncology and Cellular Oncology.

In 2017, she moved to Adelaide, South Australia, having secured a prestigious UniSA President’s Scholarship to undertake her PhD project at UniSA. This work was sponsored by the Cell Therapy Manufacturing CRC (CTM CRC), with Parinaz developing a novel stem cell therapy for the treatment of burns and chronic wounds, with an overarching goal of reducing tissue inflammation and improving wound healing outcomes. Her PhD research suggests that Multipotent Adult Progenitor cells (MAPC) and Human Gingival Fibroblasts (hGF) and their secretome have the potential to improve wound healing through processes that lead to a significant decrease in dermal wound width, increased rate of re-epithelialisation. Furthermore, factors produced by MAPC and hGFs can have an important effect on cutaneous wound healing by affecting skin cell proliferation and migration, balancing inflammation and improving the formation of extracellular matrix and angiogenesis.

Multipotent adult progenitor cell conditioned media (MAPC-CM) dampened inflammation of excisional wounds with reduced neutrophil infiltration (left) and altered macrophage polarisation (right) (Ahangar et al 2020 Stem Cell Research & Therapy)

Her PhD research resulted in four first author research publications published in leading tissue repair journals including International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Wound Repair and Regeneration, Stem Cell Research and Therapy and nature partner journals Regenerative Medicine, with her review of advanced wound therapies published in Wound Practice and Research. She has also presented this research at nine international conferences, including as an invited speaker at the Australasian Wound & Tissue Repair Society Symposium in 2019. Notably, Parinaz was awarded a prestigious European Tissue Repair Society Best Poster Award (awarded in Amsterdam 2018), the Australasian Wound & Tissue Repair Symposium Poster Award (2019) and, most recently received the Rapid-Fire presentation award at the 2020 Pan Pacific Connective Tissue Societies Symposium. At UniSA, Parinaz was awarded the UniSA Vice Chancellor and President’s Award ($10K, 2018), went on to win the Future Industries Institute Student Seminar Presentation Award in 2019 and was a Finalist for the Transformed PhD Student of the Year (2019) at UniSA.

In addition to working with national industry partners, Parinaz has actively collaborated with two international MedTech companies including Athersys (Cleveland, US) and ReGenesys BVBA (Leuven, Belgium) for the development of this novel cell therapy for the treatment of wounds. In 2018, Parinaz spent 6-weeks at the biopharmaceutical company ReGenesys, gaining research experience in cell technology and regenerative medicine. Techniques learned by Parinaz at ReGenesys formed a substantial basis of her research project resulting in new insights into the mechanisms and therapeutic activities of their stem cell product which has an impact on the further clinical development of the cell product. Parinaz was also selected to participate in the Summer by Design Workshop in Canada which is an international workshop on translating and commercializing Regenerative Medicine.

Since the completion of her PhD, Parinaz has begun researching the Flightless I protein and its interaction with migration-regulating proteins Activin A and mDia2. Most recently, Parinaz has been working to develop the systemic delivery of neutralising antibody to improve diabetic wound healing.

You can follow Parinaz on Linkedin and Twitter @Parinaz_Ahangar to see more of where her research in Wound and Tissue Repair takes her.

UniSA Vice Chancellor David Llyod presents Parinaz with the 2018 UniSA Vice Chancellor and President’s Award.