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.

Human Muscle Progenitor and Regeneration

Principal Investigator
Eric Chien-Wei Liao MD, PhD


Massachusetts General Hospital (The General Hospital Corp.)

Funding Mechanism
Pilot Research Grant

Focus Area
General Reconstructive, Tissue Engineering

The ability to induce muscle regeneration is applicable to tissue-engineered muscle and to directly mediate muscle healing. Although culture of human muscle has been previously reported to be inefficient, we have developed a novel strategy to harness purified highly functional human myogenic precursors (HMPs) with high proliferative potential, making translation to regenerative and tissue engineering strategies feasible. Taking advantage of our expertise in muscle biology1, this proposal has the unique advantage of using human muscle precursors as the cell source, in contrast to adipose-derived or mesenchymal cell approaches, observing the reconstructive principle of replacing "like with like." Our ability to isolate HMP and efficiently expand it in culture provides us the ability to generate sufficient cell mass to engineer a clinically relevant construct. Further, this engineered muscle flap will be vascularized and innervated, to not only provide soft tissue coverage but also restore function to the injured extremity or facial parts. In vitro, differentiation of myoblasts into force-producing myotubes occurs in disorganized manner leading to uncoordinated contraction patterns. The use of decellularized matrix scaffolds generated from human skeletal muscle will provide appropriate guidance cues to align immature myotubes that are capable of generating greater force output and therefore increase the rate of recovery from tissue injury after engraftment. The overall goal of the proposed experiments is to conduct proof-of-principle studies that demonstrate whether decellularized matrix generated from human skeletal muscle can be reseeded with HMPs that possess vascular and innervated properties. The specific issues that these experiments are intended to address are: 1. Growth factor augmentation of HMP growth and differentiation developed in a human decellularized matrix scaffold (muscle flap), and 2. Innervation and vascularization of muscle flap. These aims are not only directly relevant for contexts of soft tissue/extremity regeneration, but address fundamental gaps in knowledge in areas of vascularized tissue engineering and muscle biology.

Eric C. Liao, M.D., Ph.D. is an Assistant in Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Boston Shriners Hospital for Children. His clinical interests are in microsurgery reconstruction and pediatric plastic surgery. Dr. Liao is the principal investigator of the craniofacial laboratory with research focused on cleft lip and palate malformation utilizing innovative genetic approaches. His work is funded by several prestigious awards, including the American Surgical Association Research Fellowship, the Basil O’Connor Start Scholar Award from the March of Dimes, and current and past awards from the Plastic Surgery Education Foundation.