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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.

The Effect of CXCR4 Inhibition on Hindlimb Transplant Survival

Principal Investigator
Damon Cooney MD


Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Funding Mechanism
Pilot Research Grant

Focus Area
Composite Tissue Allotransplantation

Vascularized composite allotransplantation (VCA) is a promising reconstructive option for select patients, but need for chronic immunosuppression limits more widespread use of this therapy. Studies support the induction of donor-recipient hematopoietic chimerism as a way to achieve allograft tolerance. Bone-marrow transplantation is a widely used approach, but AMD3100 (Plerixafor), a CXCR4 antagonist that mobilizes hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) in vivo, is a potential alternative. AMD3100 has prolonged survival of pancreatic islet-cell and liver grafts in animal transplant models. By harnessing the immunomodulatory properties of HSPCs, administration of AMD3100 has also led to clinical improvement in autoimmune disorders. Here, we will examine the mechanism and effect of AMD3100 on graft survival in a murine VCA model. CXCR4 antagonism has not been studied in VCA, which presents unique immunological barriers. Further, the co-transplantation of bone marrow, unique to VCA grafts, makes AMD3100 an especially promising approach for improving graft survival, as the transplanted host has both donor and recipient sources of stem cells. We will study AMD3100's ability to induce tolerance or decrease maintenance immunosuppression doses. We will also measure mobilization of HSPCs and assess levels of peripheral hematopoietic chimerism. To further explore AMD3100's mechanism and the relative effects of donor- and recipient-derived cells on graft survival, we will perform transplants with myeloablated recipients and donors, respectively. CXCR4 inhibition is promising in VCA, where protocols involving transfusion of donor stem cells have shown benefit. If shown to promote graft survival, AMD3100 could be a valuable alternative to the costly, complex harvest and transfusion of bone marrow cells. Given the growing clinical reality of VCA and the FDA-approved status of AMD3100, our study results could translate rapidly to the clinical arena.

Damon Cooney, MD, PhD is a general plastic surgeon who specializes in microvascular reconstruction. He completed additional fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh to become an expert in microsurgical techniques for reconstructing the extremities, trunk, breast, and head and neck following traumatic and/or oncological defects. A particular focus of his clinical practice is improving the functional and aesthetic results of head and neck reconstruction. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree from Kenyon College in Gambier, OH, Dr. Cooney earned his doctoral degree from The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, and his medical degree from the University of Oklahoma Medical School, Oklahoma City, OK. He completed a combined residency in plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, IL. He completed an additional one-year microsurgery fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, PA. Dr. Cooney’s PhD. work was conducted in signal transduction in the labs of Mark K. Coggeshall, PhD., both at The Ohio State University and at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation in Oklahoma City, OK. Dr. Cooney’s research centers on composite tissue allotransplantation (CTA) both clinically and in the laboratory. He is a member of the CTA team at Johns Hopkins and has participated in two previous hand transplant procedures. His laboratory work includes engineering human tissues for reconstructive purposes, nerve regeneration, and inducing tolerance in order to reduce or eliminate the need for systemic immunosuppression in transplantation patients. Dr. Cooney has published numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and is a reviewer for plastic surgery journals. He received numerous grants to conduct basic and clinical research on topics including the study of localized tolerance in a small animal model and microsurgical education. He is a member of the American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery, the Plastic Surgery Research Council, and is a Founding Member of the American Society for Reconstructive Transplantation.