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Grants We Funded

Grant applicants for the 2022 cycle requested a total of over $2.9 million dollars. The PSF Study Section subcommittees of Basic & Translational Research and Clinical Research evaluated 115 grant applications on the following topics:

The PSF awarded research grants totaling almost $550,000 to support 19 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.

A protective role for SIRT1 against aging in human ASCs

Principal Investigator
Ivona Percec MD PhD


University of Pennsylvania

Funding Mechanism
National Endowment for Plastic Surgery Grant

Focus Area
General Reconstructive, Tissue Engineering

This work seeks to investigate the protective function of SIRT1 in the age-related decline of human adipose-derived stem cell (ASC) activity using our established model of human aging for optimization of ASC-based regenerative medicine interventions. The intricate relationship between adipose tissue, caloric restriction, and longevity has established an important role for ASCs in human adipose tissue metabolism and aging, and has validated SIRT1 as a key player in human aging and healthspan preservation. Though the potential therapeutic applications of ASCs are ever expanding, the role of the SIRT1 protein in human ASC function remains poorly understood. We hypothesize here that SIRT1 contributes significantly to ASC activity through a protective role on ASC cellular replication, differentiation, and metabolic health. We are uniquely positioned for this work as a clinical practice with direct access to a large volume of human adipose tissue and control over optimal ASC isolation, and a laboratory space within the prestigious University of Pennsylvania epigenetics and regenerative medicine research program. For our preliminary studies, we demonstrated an age-related decrease in the expression of SIRT1 in primary human ASCs and a concomitant increase in SIRT1 target acetylation, consistent with a loss of SIRT1 function with advancing age. Based on these studies, we propose here to validate a protective role for SIRT1 in primary human ASC activity via SIRT1 downregulation and to identify specific SIRT1 activators that reverse or prevent age-related functional decline in human primary ASCs. Specifically, we proposed to: 1) validate a functional role for SIRT1 in ASC activity and aging via SIRT1 downregulation using shRNA lentiviral transfection and SIRT1-inhibiting compounds; 2) establish whether SIRT1 downregulation compromises ASC replication, differentiation, and metabolic health; 3) determine whether SIRT1 activators can restore youthful function in ASCs with reduced SIRT1 activity. The proposed project is innovative in both concept and design. Elucidating the role of SIRT1 in ASC biology and aging through this work will have potentially critical implications for the treatment and prevention of human aging through the application of pharmacologic SIRT1 regulators to optimize ASC function. The discovery of protective mechanisms of SIRT1 on ASC activity will lead to advances in ASC-based therapies in regenerative medicine and reconstructive surgery.

Ivona Percec, MD, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Plastic Surgery at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. She completed her undergraduate work in molecular biology and medieval history at Princeton University and her medical degree and doctorate in genetics from the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her residency training at the Division of Plastic Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. After she completed her training, Dr. Percec joined the Faculty of the Division of Plastic Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania, where she divides her time between her clinical practice focused on aesthetic and rejuvenative surgery and her basic science laboratory that studies epigenetic pathways responsible for human adipose tissue and stem cell aging. Dr. Percec is board certified in plastic surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. She regularly presents her work at national and international meetings and has authored numerous publications in both the plastic surgery and basic science literature. Dr. Percec has received many awards for her work and is dedicated to the advancement of the translational science of aging through the study of primary human adipose tissue.