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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.

In Utero Gene Delivery for Rescue of Cleft Palate in a TGF-Beta 3 Knockout Mouse

Principal Investigator
Hyun-Duck Nah MD, DMD, PhD


University of Pennsylvania

Funding Mechanism
Basic Research Grant

Focus Area
Cranio/Maxillofacial/Head and Neck

There has recently been significant progress in the field of fetal gene therapy, as evidenced by recent success with in utero gene delivery in monogenetic animal models of congenital blindness, hemophilia B and various other metabolic diseases. These studies have made real the potential of fetal gene therapy as a means of preempting disease onset and exacting cure in utero. To date, however, there has not been a study of fetal gene therapy for the treatment of craniofacial disease. Congenital anomalies such as craniosynostosis and orofacial clefting carry a lifelong burden for those affected, often necessitating multiple surgeries, corrective procedures, and years of speech and developmental therapy. The great promise, then, of applying fetal gene therapy to craniofacial anomalies lies in its potential to prevent such anomalies, thereby eliminating the associated burden of care. TGF-b3 is the major temporal and spatial regulator of palatogenesis, orchestrating fusion of the palatal shelves. In turn, the TGF-b3 (-/-) mouse model displays 100% phenotypic expression of cleft palate. In this study, we propose the rescue of cleft palate in TGF-b3 (-/-) mice by in utero gene delivery of TGF-b3 as a first means of assessing fetal gene therapy treatment for craniofacial disease. Our first aim involves characterization of the transduction kinetics and levels of viral vector in the developing palatal shelves. Using an organ culture system, we will compare gene delivery of GFP tagged adeno- and lentiviruses to the midline epithelial edge of the palatal shelves, in order to determine the better vector for the rescue experiment. The vector with the highest and most rapid level of induction will be chosen for the second aim, to test the hypothesis that in utero delivery of TGF-b3 can rescue cleft palate in the TGF-b3 (-/-) mice. The TGF-b3 viral vector will be injected into the amniotic sac to restore TGF-b3 expression in E12-15 palatal epithelium of TGF-b3 (-/-) embryos, harvested at E19/E20, and analyzed by stereomicroscopic and immunohistochemical analysis for gene transduction and rescue of cleft palate.