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.

Sensory Supercharge Nerve Transfer: Indications and Limitations

Principal Investigator
Amy Moore MD


Washington University in St.Louis

Funding Mechanism
AAHS/PSF Research Grant

Focus Area
Hand or Upper Extremity

One in five people will have a nerve injury after a major trauma such as a car or motorcycle crash. The use of sensory nerves to protect muscle, while motor nerves regrow is a promising technique to improve recovery. This technique, however, is not widely used in clinical practice because, until recently, it required two complex operations. A new technique known as a “supercharge” nerve transfer offers the possibility of using sensory nerves to improve recovery without the need for a second operation. In this procedure, a sensory nerve is connected to the side of an injured nerve to reach the muscle faster and protect it, while allowing the motor nerve to regenerate.
The primary purpose of this study is to determine when a sensory “supercharge” will be effective and when it may not. We will also determine if the sensory connection will need to be removed to improve functional recovery. We hypothesize that a sensory “supercharge” has early negative effects on motor axon regrowth and late positive effects on the muscle's ability to recover. Therefore, we expect a sensory “supercharge” will impair motor recovery when a muscle is denervated for a short period of time, and improve motor recovery when muscle is denervated for longer periods. In our first aim, we will evaluate motor recovery in sensory protected muscle (using a sensory supercharge) after delaying the motor nerve repair by 1, 3, or 5 months. In our second aim, we will determine if removing a “sensory” supercharge improves motor recovery. We hypothesize that sensory axons prevent or obstruct motor axons as they regrow, and that by removing them shortly before the motor axons reach the muscle will further improve motor recovery.
Overall, this study will determine the effectiveness as well as limitations of a sensory supercharge nerve transfer. Our findings will help guide hand surgeons seeking ways to improve functional recovery in patients with proximal nerve injuries or in situations where distal motor nerve transfers are not a viable option.

Amy Moore, MD is currently a plastic surgery resident at Washington University in St. Louis. She obtained her medical degree at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. Dr. Moore recently completed two dedicated research years in Dr. Susan Mackinnon’s Peripheral Nerve Research Laboratory where she focused on characterizing transgenic rats that express GFP in their peripheral nerves. She recently won the Snyder Award for best resident paper at the 2009 Plastic Surgery Research Council . She also studied the enhancement of peripheral nerve regeneration through conduits with the addition of growth factors. Upon the completion of her training, Dr. Moore hopes to enter a career in academic medicine.