The Plastic Surgery Foundation
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Grants We Funded

In 2019, The Plastic Surgery Foundation (The PSF) awarded 33 investigator-initiated projects and allocated $891,274 to support the newest, clinically relevant research in plastic surgery.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons/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.

Tissue-Engineered Lymph Node Transplantation for the Treatment of Lymphedema

Principal Investigator
Catherine Ly MD


Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Funding Mechanism
PSF/MTF Biologics Allograft Tissue Research Grant

Focus Area
Tissue Engineering

Lymphedema is an increasingly common morbid disease for which there is no cure. Lymph node transplantation (LNT) has emerged as a promising therapeutic option, but has the significant disadvantage of the potential donor-site morbidity, including lymphocele, seroma, and most importantly, donor-site lymphedema. Therefore, we seek to develop tissue-engineered lymph nodes for transplantation, as it would take advantage of the benefits of LNT while avoiding donor-site complications.

We have previously optimized the decellularization of murine lymph nodes for use as durable biologic scaffolds that have little antigenicity and are capable of in vivo immune cell delivery. Building upon this work, this current proposal is based on the central hypothesis that decellularized lymph nodes can be reconstituted with autologous lymphocytes to create tissue-engineered lymph nodes that can then be transplanted to restore lymphatic circulation and function following lymphatic injury. We have two primary aims: Aim 1 will focus on the identification of the mechanisms by which lymphocytes organize in tissue-engineered lymph nodes in an effort to recapitulate the carefully designed microarchitecture of the normal lymph node, while Aim 2 seeks to determine the means by which tissue-engineered lymph nodes promote lymphatic regeneration to restore lymphatic circulation and immune function. We will ultimately test the efficacy of tissue-engineered LNT using our recently developed transgenic mouse model of nonsurgical lymphatic ablation that closely simulates clinical lymphedema temporally, histologically, and radiographically.

The goal of this proposal is to serve as an important proof-of-concept, as the development of tissue-engineered lymph nodes for transplantation in the mouse model would pave the way for studies in larger animal models, and, ultimately, clinical translation.

Dr. Catherine Ly is a research fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Babak J. Mehrara at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY. Under Dr. Mehrara’s guidance, she is focused on defining the pathobiologic sequence of events leading to the development of lymphedema with the ultimate goal of identifying a cure. Dr. Ly was raised in Honolulu, HI and completed her undergraduate studies in 2009 with honors in History of Science, History of Medicine at Yale University in New Haven, CT. She subsequently returned to Honolulu, where she obtained her medical degree in 2014 from the University of Hawai’i John A. Burns School of Medicine. Prior to this current research fellowship, Dr. Ly completed two years of general surgery residency at New York University Langone Medical Center. Her long-term career goal is to pursue a career in academic reconstructive surgery and translational research.