The Plastic Surgery Foundation
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Grants We Funded

Grant applicants for the 2022 cycle requested a total of over $2.9 million dollars. The PSF Study Section subcommittees of Basic & Translational Research and Clinical Research evaluated 115 grant applications on the following topics:

The PSF awarded research grants totaling almost $550,000 to support 19 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.

Utilizing Double Negative T Regulatory Cells to Induce Tolerance

Principal Investigator
Dong Zhang


University of Pittsburgh

Funding Mechanism
Pilot Research Grant

Focus Area
Hand or Upper Extremity, Composite Tissue Allotransplantation

Composite tissue allotransplantation (CTA) is an ideal means of reconstructing devastating traumatic and congenital soft tissue defects. The main obstacle to widespread application of CTA is the potential harm to patients secondary to the use of immunosuppressive agents needed to prevent graft rejection. This problem can be combated by focusing on and incorporating immunomodulatory cell-based therapeutic modalities instead of sole immunosuppressive regimens. Based on prior murine studies, isolation and administration of double negative T regulatory cells has enabled prolonged graft survival in skin and pancreatic islet allotransplants. In this project, double negative T regulatory cells will be used to tip the balance towards immunomodulation and hopefully achieve graft tolerance. The first aim is to stimulate rat CD4 cells thereby enabling them to convert into double negative T regulatory cells. The next aim will be to harvest these cells and administer them to allograft recipient rats of an orthotopic rat hindlimb transplant. This project can have a profound impact on the practice of plastic surgery. By favoring such cell-based methods of immunomodulation, patients will be less threatened by the risks of infection, diabetes, malignancy, etc. associated with current immunosuppression regimens. Furthermore, achieving tolerance in this rat model will elucidate further methods on how to accomplish such a feat in humans.

Dr. Dong Zhang was a transplant surgeon, and received his research post-doctoral training in transplant immunology at Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He first defined that CD4 T cell could convert to Double Negative T cells (DN T cells) and regulate immune responses. Using ex vivo CD4 converted DN T cells could prevent graft rejection and cure autoimmune diabetes. He received Young Investigator Award from American Society of Transplantation and American Society of Transplant Surgeons based on his work. Now, his research focus is tolerance induction in Composite Tissue Allotransplantation.