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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.

Enhancing Bony Reconstruction Through Gene Manipulation of ASCs

Principal Investigator
David Atashroo MD


Stanford University

Funding Mechanism
Pilot Research Grant

Focus Area
Tissue Engineering

Skeletal defects are a pressing problem that result in a significant biomedical burden and cause life-altering harm. Despite the promise of stem cells and gene therapy for treatment, these defects still pose a significant reconstructive challenge. Unfortunately the simple placement of progenitor cells into a wound is not sufficient as the wound environment is often hostile and cellular survival can be dramatically compromised.

A novel approach would be to enhance pro-survival pathways within the transplanted cells themselves. Increased expression of B-cell lymphoma (Bcl)-2 in mesenchymal cells has been shown to limit apoptosis without interfering with differentiation capacity. However, as Bcl-2 has been implicated in the development of various malignancies, the need exists for a non-integrating vector with truncated gene expression. Minicircle (MC) DNA offers just such a solution.

Delivery of minicircle to recipient cells has typically been achieved through nucleofection or jet injection during ex vivo culture. Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) offer a novel method to transfect minicircle and protect their integrity.

This proposal seeks to determine both the ability of minicircle mediated upregulation of Bcl-2 to enhance survival of implanted ASCs for bone regeneration, and a novel scaffold to deliver gene therapy ad liberatum during an operation. This therapy would be a game changer in the treatment of congenital, traumatic, and reconstructive bone defects across the disciplines in Plastic Surgery by providing a simple, off the shelf option for augmenting bone repair.

We will begin to accomplish these aims by comparing the transfection efficiency, in vitro response, and cellular viability of ASCs after transfection with MC-Bcl2 by nucleofection versus with SPIONs. Transfected ASCs will then be seeded onto scaffolds that will be placed into critically sized calvarial defects in CD-1 nude mice. In vivo imaging using micro-CT and histological analysis will be performed to compare bone healing between transfection methods and between control mice and mice with minicircle mediated Bcl-2 upregulation.

David A. Atashroo received his B.S. in Biology Summa Cum Laude from the University of Missouri. He continued his medical school training at the University of Missouri as a Conley Scholar. While in medical school he founded MedZou, a student run community health clinic, and secured seed funding for the clinic through Association of American Medical Colleges Caring for Community Grant. Dr. Atashroo was accepted to the University of Kentucky for Plastic Surgery residency and later as a postdoctoral fellow at the Hagey Laboratory for Pediatric and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University. While in residency, he had a number of intellectual property disclosures, which led him to co-found a surgical device startup. He has published articles related to adipose stem cells and fat transfer, and collaborated on a number of projects related to wound healing and bone regeneration. Dr. Atashroo’s current research interests include stem cell biology, distraction osteogenesis, and bone reconstruction.