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Grants We Funded

Grant applicants for the 2021 cycle requested a total of over $3.3 million dollars. The PSF Study Section subcommittees of Basic & Translational Research and Clinical Research evaluated 106 grant applications on the following topics:

The PSF awarded research grants totaling more than $755,000 to support 25 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.

Overexpression of sFRP1 Enhances Adipogenesis in Tissue Repair

Principal Investigator
Sudheer Ravuri PhD


University of Pittsburgh

Funding Mechanism
Pilot Research Grant

Focus Area
Tissue Engineering

Stem cells derived from human adipose tissue (hADSCs), have broad applications to plastic and reconstructive surgery. In order to rebuild the tissue deformity or injury, adipogenic potential of stem cells is very crucial for successful graft retention and tissue repair. However, understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms of adipose tissue development has clear implications for autologous fat grafting, where resorption remains a major obstacle. Wnt signaling is one of the molecular mechanisms of adipose stem cells that is highly conserved and regulate cell-to-cell interactions during embryogenesis. Ross and co-workers were the first to report that Wnt signaling inhibits adipogenesis by blocking the expression of PPARG and CEBPA, the central transcriptional regulators of adipogenesis. In addition, it was recently shown that the expression of Secreted frizzled-related protein 1 (sFRP1) is induced during in vitro adipogenesis, and that constitutive ectopic expression of SFRP1 is pro-adipogenic. sFRP1 proteins possess domains homologous to the putative Wnt-binding site of Frizzled receptors and antagonize Wnt signaling to release break on adipogenic gene transcription. Our previous microarray profiling and invitro studies in our lab (unpublished data), confirmed by quantitative PCR, identified increased mRNA levels of sFRP1 in fully differentiated adipocytes of cells derived from the stromal vascular fraction. Based upon these data, we tested our hypothesis about augmentation of adipogenesis by overexpression of endogenous sFRP1. Our invitro assay results from lipid accumulation/staining, qPCR, siRNA gene silencing showed expected results on gain or loss of function of sFRP1 in evaluating adipogenesis. The main objective of this project is to enhance in vivo adipogenesis by administering sFRP1 overexpressing hADSCs to improve fat graft retention and tissue repair.

Sudheer Kumar Ravuri is a Research Associate at the Adipose Stem Cell Center (ASCC), at the department of plastic surgery, University of Pittsburgh (UPMC). Dr. Ravuri received his PhD from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, India and then joined University of Pittsburgh as a postdoctoral fellow to continue his research in the fields of HIV/AIDS and Gene therapy. Sudheer’s main focus is in understanding signal transduction mechanisms and biology of adipose derived stem cell populations, to better engineer these cells for clinical translation. Dr. Ravuri was Co-Investigator and project leader in a PSF funded pilot study (2010) entitled “Improving fat graft survival by ex vivo non-viral gene delivery” and developed a layered double hydroxide based nano-biohybrid (LDH+DNA complex) system for ex-vivo non-viral gene delivery to improve fat graft survival. Besides, several intra and inter laboratory collaborations, Dr. Ravuri is actively involved in mentoring/co-mentoring students attending Adipose Stem Cell Center for short and long term projects.