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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.

Immune Tolerance for Surgical Transplantation of the Hand or Face

Principal Investigator
David Mathes MD


University of Washington

Funding Mechanism
National Endowment

Focus Area
Technology Based

Worldwide, 38 hand allografts have been performed 28 patients, with survival times from 2 to 9 years. More recently two separate French groups and a Chinese group have performed partial face transplants. All of these transplants are dependent on chronic immunosuppresion, with its attendant side-effects including malignancy and opportunistic infection. In addition, all of these transplants have demonstrated episodes of rejection of the skin that required treatment with steroids, monocolonal antibodies or an increase in the overall level of immunosuppression. Our long-term goal is to devise practical methods for inducing immunologic tolerance that would allow for the long term survival of these complex tissue allografts without the need for chronic immunosuppression. This would significantly improve the risk-benefit ratio and allow for the more widespread use of composite tissue allotransplant (CTA) in the reconstruction of lost limbs and severe facial deformities. One method of inducing tolerance to an allograft is to establish a state of mixed chimerism. In a mixed chimera, the donor's immune system has become tolerant not only of the alloantigens expressed on host tissues but also those on hematopoietic and immune cells. In turn, the recipient's cells are tolerant of the alloantigens on the surface of the donor's hematopoietic cells. We have a pre-clinical large animal that will address the application of mixed chimerism to a clinically relevant application to the use of CTA. Aim I. Determine if tolerance to vascularized myocutaneous allografts can be achieved when tissue transplantation is performed at the same time as the establishment of mixed chimerism. Aim 2: Examine the role of graft infiltrating cells in the establishment of immune tolerance to composite tissue allografts in the canine model of mixed chimerism, with a specific focus on the presence of T -regulatory cells, their expression of FoxP3, and the analysis of the expression of chemokines and cytokines after transplantation.

Dr. Mathes is an Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of Plastic Surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle, and the Chief of Plastic Surgery Service at the Veteran’s Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System. He is also an Affiliate Investigator at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in the Department of Transplantation Biology, where he conducts research on composite tissue transplantation. Dr. Mathes is certified by both the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and is a member of several national professional societies. He received his medical education from Tulane University Medical School in New Orleans, LA and completed his general surgery residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill-Cornell Medical Center, followed by specialized training in plastic surgery at University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center. He has been published in a variety of peer-reviewed journals including Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Transplantation, and Microsurgery. His clinical interests include plastic and reconstructive surgery, reconstructive microsurgery, and cosmetic surgery. His primary research interests include the field of composite tissue transplantation and methods of inducing tolerance to foreign tissues. He has received several grants from such sponsors as the American Association of Plastic Surgery, American Society of Transplant Surgeons, Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation, and the American Society of Hand Surgery Research, and is currently pursuing Institutional Review Board approval for clinical research in face and hand transplantation.