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Grants We Funded

Grant applicants for the 2023 cycle requested a total of nearly $4 million dollars. The PSF Study Section Subcommittees of Basic & Translational Research and Clinical Research evaluated nearly 140 grant applications on the following topics:

The PSF awarded research grants totaling over $1 million dollars to support nearly 30 plastic surgery research proposals.

ASPS/PSF leadership is committed to continuing to provide high levels of investigator-initiated research support to ensure that plastic surgeons have the needed research resources to be pioneers and innovators in advancing the practice of medicine.

Research Abstracts

Search The PSF database to have easy access to full-text grant abstracts from past PSF-funded research projects 2003 to present. All abstracts are the work of the Principal Investigators and were retrieved from their PSF grant applications. Several different filters may be applied to locate abstracts specific to a particular focus area or PSF funding mechanism.

Obesity Impairs Endothelial Progenitor Cell Function

Principal Investigator
I. Janelle Wagner MD


New York University School of Medicine

Funding Mechanism
PSF Pilot Research Grant

Focus Area
Wounds / Scar

Obese patients struggle with impaired wound healing. Thousands of obese patients' postoperative courses are complicated by wound infection, seroma, dehiscence, delayed closure and necrosis. Despite the large numbers of patients affected, no substantive research has been performed to examine the etiologies of impaired wound healing in obesity. We and others have shown that wound healing defects in diabetics are due in part to impaired endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) function. EPCs migrate to wounded tissue, where they create 35% of new blood vessels formed in a healing wound, therefore their impairment contributes to wound healing dysfunction. We hypothesize that obese patients share similar EPC dysfunction to diabetics, and that this contributes to impaired wound healing. Assays of human endothelial progenitor cell function will be performed in vitro, comparing EPC number and function in obese versus non-obese subjects and controls. Additionally, using a wound healing model established in our laboratory, we will examine the EPC response during wound healing in obese mice versus wild type controls. We hypothesize that EPC function is impaired by suppression of the HIF-1/SDF-1 hypoxic signaling pathway. This signaling cascade serves to recruit and mobilize EPCs from the bone marrow to the bloodstream in response to tissue hypoxia. When dampened it can significantly hinder EPC function. By investigating the role of endothelial progenitor cells during wound healing in obese humans and mice, this study will provide valuable insight into the etiology of impaired wound healing in the obese, as well as open the door for discovery of novel therapeutic options in this population.

Dr. Wagner earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she majored in film. She went on to complete her premedical education at Columbia University, and received her MD from SUNY Downstate College of Medicine. She spent the past year in the laboratory at the Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery at New York University School of Medicine, where her research focused on obesity-impaired wound healing. She is currently a 4th year general surgery resident at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA, with plans to pursue a fellowship in plastic surgery.