2005 Australian of the Year & leading plastic surgeon
Dr Fiona Wood is Western Australia's only female plastic surgeon, a mother of six, Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Royal Perth Hospital & Princess Margaret Hospital and Director of the Western Australia Burns Service. Fiona is also co-founder of Clinical Cell Culture, a private company recognised in medical circles for its world-leading breakthroughs in the treatment of burns. She is a regular a member of the judging panel on ABC Television's, New Inventors lending her expertise to the many medical and therapeutic inventions featured on the program.
In addition, Fiona Wood is also a Clinical Professor with the School of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Western Australia. She is the Director and co-founder of the McComb Foundation, which she established in 1999 along with scientist Marie Stoner to conduct research into tissue guided regeneration. Through this research Fiona strives to "ensure the quality of the scar is worth the pain of survival."
She has become world renowned for her patented invention of spray on skin for burn victims, a treatment which is continually developing. Where previous techniques of skin culturing required 21 days to produce enough cells to cover major burns, Fiona and her team have reduced that period to five days.
Via her research, Fiona found that scarring is greatly reduced if replacement skin could be provided within 10 days. As a burns specialist the holy grail for Fiona Wood is 'scarless woundless healing'. A graduate of St Thomas's Hospital Medical School in London, Fiona worked at a major British hospital before marrying Western Australian born surgeon Tony Kierath and migrating to Perth with their first two children in 1987. She completed her training in plastic surgery between having four more children.
In October 2002, Fiona was propelled into the media spotlight when the largest proportion of survivors from the Bali bombings arrived at Royal Perth Hospital. She led a courageous and committed team in the fight to save 28 patients suffering from between two and 92 per cent body burns, deadly infections and delayed shock.
Her exceptional leadership and surgical skills and the fact that she had the vision to plan for a large-scale disaster five years before the Bali tragedy, brought world-wide praise and recognition to the Royal Perth Hospital Burns Unit and highlighted the ground breaking research into burn treatment taking place in Western Australia. Although Fiona came into the public eye following Bali, she has been well known and respected in her field of burns internationally and locally for many years.
Her business, Clinical Cell Culture, came about after a schoolteacher arrived at Royal Perth Hospital in 1992 with petrol burns to 90% of his body. Fiona together with scientist Marie Stoner turned to the emerging US-invented technology of cultured skin to save his life. They moved from growing skin sheets to spraying skin cells; earning a world-wide reputation as pioneers in their field. The company started operating in 2001 and is now planning to release its technology globally to use the royalties to fund further burns research. Through her enthusiasm, innovation and vision, Fiona has saved and improved countless people's lives and has inspired a nation.
Fiona Wood talks about:
Fiona speaks to audiences about her research and work as an internationally renowned plastic surgeon and burns specialist. In addition she promotes motivational discussion groups and delivers inspirational addresses to youths across Australia.
Fiona is an incredible role model. For 45 minutes the audience was captivated. She provoked laughter, shock and tears. I would recommend her to any client seeking a real story of a woman’s challenges, triumphs, epiphany and compassion. 10/10 – hands down!
South Australian Hotel Association
Excellent. Fiona was great. She delivered to an audience whom she didn’t really know much about but managed to be both entertaining and relevant. The audience loved her and were certainly inspired by her story.