Shiva Akbarzadeh

Adj Assoc Prof

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

A Bioengineered Human Skin Equivalent for Permanent Wound Closure


Research activity per year

Personal profile


A/Prof Shiva Akbarzadeh is a dedicated cell biologist with a growing national and international reputation for excellence in skin tissue engineering research. She leads the Skin Bioengineering Lab in the Department of Surgery at Monash University’s School of Translational Medicine. Her team utilises stem cell research, animal models and clinical trials to bring novel cell therapy solutions to patients particularly burns victims. 

A/Prof Akbarzadeh completed her PhD at University of Melbourne in 2002, followed by postdoctoral training at Peter McCallum Cancer Centre (2001-2002) and University of Birmingham (2002-2007), before establishing her independent lab at Monash University in 2009. 

A/Prof Akbarzadeh has received substantial competitive fellowship and grant funding, totalling $2,898,380 to date, from the MRFF Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Need Grant, MIME Scholarship fund, Integra Life Sciences Corporation, Australian Red Cross Blood Service, Therapeutic Innovation Australia and LEW CARTY Foundation

Research interests

Severe burns have a high mortality rate and for survivors cause long term functional and psychosocial disability.  The cause of death is typically multi-organ failure due to sepsis consequent upon prolonged healing times of massive wounds. Over 40 % of the burn survivors live with pain and disability caused by scarring of skin grafts and their donor sites. The scale of this challenge requires innovative solutions that cross borders and disciplines. Reliable skin graft substitutes will save lives and improve the quality of life for survivors of severe burn injury by minimisation of the need to use patients’ own unburned skin to graft burns.

A/Prof Akbarzadeh is committed to a bench to bedside model of research to provide patients with lifesaving cell therapies. The main goal of A/Prof Akbarzadeh’s research is to develop clinical-ready engineered skin substitutes that can close wounds definitively, without requirement for further treatment. She uses stem cell technology to develop novel engineered skin substitutes. She has established a number of animal models to test novel treatment options to fast track new treatments to clinics.

A/Prof Akbarzadeh’s latest research has led to development of HSE skin substitute, which is designed to repair deep wounds. HSE utilises patients’ own stem cells to form a double layer skin. HSE will translate to positive patient impact by accelerating wound repair, reducing death and disability, and improving rehabilitation outcomes.

University Service

A/Prof Akbarzadeh holds several distinguished positions across various Journals including Topic Editor for Journal of Bioengineering, reviewer for Current Stem Cell Research & Therapy, External Reviewer for Medical Research Council UK, Editorial Reviewer for Plastic and Aesthetic Journal, NHMRC Peer reviewer and Reviewer for Journal of Tissue Engineering

A/Prof Akbarzadeh also sits on the Steering Committee for Micro Imaging at FMNHS Monash University

Supervision interests

A/Prof Akbarzadeh has supervised a number of undergraduate and postgraduate students. She was the main supervisor for 7 Honours students, 2 Masters students and 2 MD students. She has also co-supervised 3 PhD students. 

Monash teaching commitment

A/Prof Akbarzadeh is the unit and curriculum curator of a Master's Level Unit at Monash University - TRM6002 Cell and tissue therapy

Community service

A/Prof Akbarzadeh also sits on the research committee of the Australian & New Zealand Burn Association (ANZBA)

A/Prof Akbarzadeh has been an invited speaker in the community, such as City of Manningham, and Koonung Secondary College, promoting women in STEM.

A/Prof Akbarzadeh has previously supervised Year 10 student placements from Kew High and Keystone International School, Canada.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (Australia)


Master of Applied Science, RMIT University


Bachelor of Science (Honours), University of Melbourne

1992 → …

Research area keywords

  • Burns
  • Skin Bioengineering
  • Skin grafts
  • Tissue Science
  • Regenerative medicine
  • interfollicular stem cells

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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