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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.

Immune Cell Trafficking After Hind Limb Transplantation

Principal Investigator
Mario Solari MD


University of Pittsburgh

Funding Mechanism
Basic Research Grant

Focus Area
Composite Tissue Allotransplantation

A composite tissue allograft (CTA) is unique compared to solid organs in that it contains multiple tissue types and specialized immune cells. It is well established in animal models that a CTA, in particular the skin component, is more immunogenic than solid organs. This fact has manifested clinically with multiple acute rejection episodes reported in the majority of the human CTA cases. Our body of knowledge currently lacks appropriate identification of the immune cells involved in CTA rejection and their trafficking. Some distinct characteristics of a CTA include the potential to include a vascularized bone marrow compartment and the presence of Langerhans cells (LC) and other potent antigen presenting cells (APC). The association of blood and lymphoid tissue chimerism (the coexistence of donor and recipient cells) with graft prolongation has generated many papers on the trafficking of bone marrow cells in CTA. Their focus has been to identify where donor derived hematopoietic cells engraft, what is level of chimerism in various tissues, and how these levels change over time. What they do not address is what phenotype of immune cells are involved in acute rejection immediately after transplantation, where they interact with host cells (local versus systemic lymphoid organs), and how they get there (intravascular versus lymphatics). This basic knowledge will provide a more solid foundation in developing new strategies for immunomodulation in CTA. Clinical composite tissue allotransplantation (CTA) is a young and evolving field in plastic surgery. Current protocols employ systemic immunosuppression that have resulted in significant morbidity in many of the human CTA recipients worldwide, including metabolic disturbances, opportunistic infection, and femoral head necrosis requiring hip replacement . Our laboratory is investigating several novel cell-based and drug-based therapies in an attempt to decrease or eliminate the need for systemic immunosuppression. In order to accurately target specific pathways of rejection at appropriate time points, fundamental questions of immune cell trafficking after CTA must be answered.

Dr. Mario G. Solari is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Plastic Surgery. He is board certified in Plastic Surgery and performs reconstructive surgery including head and neck, chest, abdominal wall, and extremities following trauma or cancer surgery. He specializes in microvascular reconstructive surgery of the head and neck and reconstruction after craniofacial trauma. <br /> Dr. Solari performed his undergraduate studies at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and earned his medical degree from Tufts University in Boston. He completed his plastic surgery residency at the University of Pittsburgh, including a two-year extramural NIH fellowship (NRSA) studying the immunology of vascularized composite tissue allotransplantation. Following residency, he completed a reconstructive microsurgery fellowship at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. <br /> Dr. Solari is the Director of the Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation and Microsurgery Research Laboratory and Member Faculty of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative medicine. His laboratory has won multiple awards and has been funded by major grants from the Department of Defense. He has received the Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation Basic Science Research Fellowship as well as the American Association of Plastic Surgeons/Plastic Surgery Foundation Academic Scholarship Award. His current research goals focus on engineering vascularized scaffolds for complex wound reconstruction.