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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.

Improving Somatosensory Cortical Response Properties After Compsite Tissue Transplantation

Principal Investigator
Kia Washington MD


University of Pittsburgh

Funding Mechanism
National Endowment

Focus Area
Technology Based

Composite tissue allotransplantation (CTA) presents a viable option for reconstructing difficult defects resulting from traumatic injury, congenital deformities, and surgical extirpation, CTA offers the advantage of providing an intact, preserved graft without donor site morbidity. A hand transplant is superior to a prosthetic only, in that recovery of sensation and precise neuromuscular function. Similarly, a face transplant is simply a mask if there is no ability for facial expression, sensation, and oral consumption. The overall goal of the proposed research is to improve sensory recovery after CTA through targeting the somatosensory cortex. Central nervous system modulations are key to optimizing sensory recovery after CTA. At the laboratory of W.P. Andrew Lee at the University of Pittsburgh in the Starzl Institute for Transplantation laboratory, preliminary experiments focused on defining changes in somatosensory cortical mapping and neuronal response properties after face transplantation in a rat model. Using electrophysiology, it was found that there n as cortical reintegration of sensory inputs, and thus reinnervation, after CTA. However, there are substantial changes in the pattern of sensory reinnervation in gene mapping from the periphery to the somatosensory cortex. The focus of the current research is therefore to investigate therapeutic interventions to enhance cortical functional restitution after CTA. Therapeutic strategies that mitigate central nervous system remodeling after CTA ultimately will help to improve functional recovery. Cytokines that mediate peripheral and central nervous system modulations that occur after injury may provide means to improve reinnervation and cortical reintegration after CTA. One such cytokine is Erythropoietin (Epo), a naturally occurring cytokine that initiates erythropoiesis. In addition to its hematopoietic effects, it has shown tissue protective activity in both the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS) in vivo. Carbamylated Erythropoietin (Cepo), a synthetic polypeptide represents the prototype of a designer cytokine for therapeutic intervention in central and peripheral nervous system injury without erythropoietin side effects. The specific aim of the proposed study is to investigate the potential for the novel therapy, Cepo, to mitigate central nervous system changes that occur after composite tissue allotransplantation.