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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.

Collagen Nanogel for Wound Healing

Principal Investigator
Paige Fox MD, PhD


Stanford University School of Medicine

Funding Mechanism
National Endowment for Plastic Surgery Grant

Focus Area
Wounds / Scar, Tissue Engineering

Wound care constitutes a significant monetary burden on society with estimated costs of over 25 billion dollars per year. Equally significant are the related personal costs including multiple doctors' visits, the need for support and assistance with wound care, and time lost from work for each patient struggling with wound care. Technology to enhance and expedite wound healing is therefore valuable to the individual patient as well as to society as a whole.

The goal of this project is to facilitate improved wound healing by using a novel gel. The gel has several properties which make it favorable for enhanced wound care. First, it is made of a collagen scaffold which mimics the collagen scaffold made by the body during normal wound healing. Second the gel is a nanogel with fibers and pores specially designed to allow cellular migration through the gel. Lastly, the nanogel can be customized through a process known as reseeding. Reseeding supplies cells and cell attractants tailored specifically to the wound site without requiring the body to generate them. We believe that, in comparison to traditional methods, use of this collagen based nanogel will expedite wound healing.

We will first compare the rates of wound healing between the nanogel and traditional wound healing with a moisture barrier. A rat model of excisional wounds will be employed. The wound is stented open to eliminate wound contraction as a method of healing. Preliminary data from our lab shows that the nanogel leads to earlier complete wound closure. In addition to assessing wound healing kinetics, we will also examine neovascularization and wound architecture including dermal thickness, similarity to native skin, and fibrosis.

Next, we will test how different cell types move and survive within the nanogel in vitro. This information will allow us to select the best candidates for reseeding.

Lastly, we will reseed the nanogel with cells and chemoattractants critical to the wound healing process. We hypothesize time-dependent reseeding, which mimics the normal multistep wound healing process, will best enhance wound healing. The rat model of excisional wounds will be used to compare wound healing kinetics, neovascularization and wound architecture among wounds treated with non-reseeded gels and time-dependent reseeded gels.

In 2015, Dr. Fox joined the Plastic Surgery faculty at Stanford University. She sees patients at the Veterans Affairs-Palo Alto campus, and Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital as well. In addition to clinical responsibilities, she has a basic science lab examining the application of tissue engineering to wound care and upper extremity surgery. Her work has focused on collagen based scaffolds for treating tendon and ligament injuries. Most recently she has begun applying these scaffolds to wound healing models. Dr. Fox received a combined MD/PhD (Microbiology) from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2008. Her PhD research was related to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. She developed a number of critical bench skills during this time, including microscopy fixation and staining techniques, as well as quantitative RT-PCR and protein analysis. In summer 2008, Dr. Fox commenced a residency in Plastic Surgery at Stanford University. Following residency, she completed a fellowship in Hand Surgery at Mayo Clinic. During these training periods, she worked on multiple clinical research projects with the goal of using data to move the fields of plastic and hand surgery forward. These projects allowed her to continue thinking critically about the problems faced by patients and surgeons and how to improve the care of these patients. While at Stanford and Mayo Clinic, she gained the critical surgical knowledge and skills to allow her to be a translational researcher.