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Akira Wiberg

BA BM BCh DPhil FRCS(Plast)

Senior Clinical Research Fellow in Plastic Surgery

Peripheral nerve injury in the musculoskeletal system

I studied medicine at Merton College, Oxford, where I was a Postmaster (senior scholar), and was awarded the Martin Wronker Prize for finishing top of my year at Oxford University in the Medical Sciences BA degree. After qualifying as a doctor, I completed the Academic Foundation Programme in Oxford. Following a stint as a visiting research scholar at UCLA, I undertook my Core Surgical Training in London, and started my specialist surgical training in Plastic Surgery in the South West Deanery in 2013.

From 2016-19, I returned to Oxford to study for a DPhil under the supervision of Prof Dominic Furniss (NDORMS) and Prof David Bennett (NDCN), investigating the genetic basis of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), a very common and disabling hand disease caused by compression of the median nerve in the wrist. We performed the first ever genome-wide association study in CTS, and identified several genes and biological pathways that play a central role in determining an individual's susceptibility the disease. 

In 2020, I was appointed as NIHR Clinical Lecturer in Plastic Surgery in Oxford, and obtained my CCT in 2023. I split my time equally between the hospital and the laboratory. My clinical interest is in peripheral nerve surgery, and my closely related research theme is translational at its core. I use advanced genomic, bioinformatic, and molecular biology techniques in "bench-to-bedside" research that has the ultimate goal of improving clinical outcomes for people with CTS and other nerve injuries. This includes:

- Elucidating the pathological mechanisms that underlie CTS and related nerve compression injuries, with a focus on understanding the changes that take place in the connective tissues that surround the nerve.
- Using genetic information to stratify risk of developing CTS and the risk of needing surgery. 
- Developing non-surgical therapies for patients with CTS that target specific cells, genes and molecules. 
- Using electrical stimulation to augment nerve regeneration in people with CTS and other nerve injuries.
- Studying the contribution of peripheral nerve compressions to migraine headaches.

I currently co-supervise three DPhil students in my department, and I am a Stipendiary Lecturer in Human Anatomy at Merton College, where I am tutor to first year undergraduates. 

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