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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.

Novel Treatment Strategies for Antibody-Mediated Rejection in VCA

Principal Investigator
Howard Wang MD


Johns Hopkins University

Funding Mechanism
Research Fellowship

Focus Area
Composite Tissue Allotransplantation

Vascularized composite allotransplantation (VCA) is a promising option to restore form and function for patients with severe defects. The potential for allograft rejection and need for chronic immunosuppression remain major barriers to its widespread application. Host adaptive immune system is divided into cell-mediated and humoral arms with the principal cell types being T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes, respectively. Significant attention in VCA research has focused on cell-mediated rejection, but the role of antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) in VCA is largely unknown. However, AMR may play an important role in highly sensitized recipients and long term graft survival as highlighted by two recently reported cases of AMR in VCA. Furthermore, VCA candidates are commonly sensitized and have developed donor specific antibodies (DSA) as a result of their initial treatments, which frequently include blood transfusions and skin allografts. In solid organ transplants (SOT), the presence of DSA is known to be associated with graft rejection and long term graft failure. To investigate the role of DSA and AMR in VCA, our lab has developed a rat model of skin allograft-induced sensitization which leads to accelerated rejection of hindlimb transplants. Rituximab and IVIG are two treatments used for AMR in SOT. The first aim of this project is to evaluate the efficacy of these currently available treatment options for AMR in VCA. Irradiation followed by autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) has been used in a variety of conditions including autoimmune disease and treatment of hematologic malignancies. A recent study implemented this strategy as a desensitization protocol for renal transplantation in a rodent model and reported improved graft survival in presensitized recipients. The second aim of this project will investigate HSCT as a desensitization strategy for presensitized recipients of VCA. The results from this study will provide important information on the mechanism and management of AMR in VCA patients. Additionally, HSCT may prove to be a promising strategy to improve access to and outcomes of VCA for highly sensitized patients.

Howard Wang is a plastic surgery resident in the Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland combined residency program. He attended Washington University in St. Louis for his undergraduate studies and then went on to obtained his medical degree from the University of Maryland, School of Medicine. During medical school, he participated in the medical research scholars program at the National Institutes of Health, where he investigated the pathogenesis of and treatments for fibrous dysplasia/McCune Albright Syndrome. This experience sparked his interest in translational research. To further develop his research foundation, he will be joining the Johns Hopkins vascularized composite allotransplantation laboratory.