The Plastic Surgery Foundation
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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.

T-regulatory Mediated Immunosuppression after Lymphatic Injury

Principal Investigator
Swapna Ghanta MD


Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Funding Mechanism
Pilot Research Grant

Focus Area
Hand or Upper Extremity, Other

Lymph node biopsy and completion lymph node dissection are an integral part of cancer treatment. However, patients who undergo these treatments are at a higher risk for developing infections in the affected limb. In fact, severe infections are thought to be important contributors to the development of lymphedema. Although it is clear that lymphatic injury is the initiating event, cellular mechanisms that regulate immune dysfunction in this setting remain largely unknown. This gap in our knowledge has precluded development of novel methods to restore immune function. We have shown that lymphatic injury results in accumulation of CD4+ cells in tissues distal to the zone of injury and a significant proportion of these cells are T-regulatory (Treg) cells. This is important since Tregs are critical regulators of immune tolerance and can modify humoral and cellular immunity. We hypothesize that lymphatic injury results in immune dysfunction and impaired humoral/cellular immunity by promoting local proliferation and activation of Tregs. The objective is to determine how lymphatic injury regulates Treg proliferation and activation and how these changes regulate immune responses locally. We will accomplish our objectives with 3 specific aims: Aim 1: Determine how lymphatic dysfunction regulates Treg cell differentiation and activation. This aim will test the working hypothesis that lymphatic injury results in local proliferation of activated natural Tregs. Aim 2: Identify the local mechanisms that regulate Treg differentiation after lymphatic injury. This aim will test the working hypothesis that lymphatic injury promotes Treg differentiation as a consequence of local increases in TGF-B. Aim 3: Determine how Treg expansion after lymphatic injury regulates cellular immune responses. This aim will test the working hypothesis that Treg expansion impairs effector cell function by inhibiting proliferation and promoting deletion of antigen specific T cell clones.

Swapna Ghanta, MD completed her undergraduate degree with a double major in Political Science and Biological Sciences at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She went on to earn her medical degree at the New Jersey Medical School at UMDNJ. Dr. Ghanta completed two years of general surgery residency at Hofstra NorthShore-LIJ followed by a prestigious research fellowship at Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center under the direction of Dr. Babak J. Mehrara, MD, FACS. Under his supervision, Dr. Ghanta will utilize the 2013 PSF Pilot Research Grant to conduct experiments studying the role of T-regulatory cells in immunosuppression after lymphatic injury.