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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.

BDNF and GDNF for Treatment of Nerve Injury

Principal Investigator
Matthew Wood PhD


The Hospital for Sick Children

Funding Mechanism

Focus Area

The broad objective of this project is to investigate a novel drug delivery method to improve peripheral nerve regeneration. Despite improved surgical techniques, recovery is usually incomplete after nerve injury in the peripheral nervous system (PNS). Delays in treatment further compromise recovery because the neurons' capability to regenerate axons diminishes when the axons have not yet connected to their end-organs (“chronic axotomy”). This decline is in part due to reduced neurotrophic factor availability within the neurons and from the progressively denervated Schwann cells in the growth pathway of the distal nerve stump1. Reduced availability becomes even more critical during placement of grafts to bridge nerve gaps, as is commonly required in human nerve repair. Unfortunately nerve grafts or conduits have made little impact on clinical outcomes despite reducing donor site morbidity. Exogenous sources of neurotrophic factors, including brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and glial cell line derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) promote neuron survival and axon regeneration under conditions where endogenous supplies decline with time. However, these factors have not yet been included in clinically available grafts and conduits. Our OBJECTIVE is to develop a clinically applicable biodegradable delivery system of polymer microspheres (MSs) releasing neurotrophic factors to enhance PNS regeneration. The delivery of BDNF and GDNF via microspheres will be tested in a rat animal model of nerve injury to determine their capacity to promote axon regeneration and functional recovery after nerve resuture. To this end, both histological assays and muscle functional analysis (evoked contractile muscle force) will be evaluated in the animals following experimental treatment. Our long-term goal is to promote nerve regeneration and functional recovery in patients who suffer PNS injuries.

Matthew D. Wood, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. He completed his graduate studies at Washington University and then completed his post-doctoral fellowship in the labs of Gregory Borschel, MD and Tessa Gordon, PhD in the areas of neural tissue engineering and peripheral nerve injury and reconstruction. Wood’s broad research interest is nerve injury and regeneration, collaborating closely with surgeons for their insights on the clinical problems encountered. This broad interest includes understanding fundamental aspects and limitations in nerve reconstruction, the development of therapeutics to augment surgeons, and generation of diagnostics to identify peripheral nerve injuries.