The Plastic Surgery Foundation
Log In Donate Now

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.

Engineered Tissues with Pervasive, Perfusible & Implantable Capillary Structures

Principal Investigator
John Morgan MD


Joan & Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University

Funding Mechanism
National Endowment for Plastic Surgery Grant

Focus Area
Tissue Engineering, Microsurgery

A major barrier for the generalization of tissue engineering beyond thin tissues (thickness < 250 um) is the formation of a functional, pervasive microvascular system within the tissue to support metabolic demand both during culture in the lab as well as after implantation into the host as dermal replacements. The resulting microvascular structure also plays a central role in defining pathological states of tissues (e.g., in cancer and diabetes) for which we currently lack appropriate models in vitro. Tissue engineering of “off the shelf” very complex tissue constructs demand more technologically advanced culture platforms that enable high throughput and efficiency, support live imaging, integrate requisite supporting equipment (e.g., pumps, sensors, etc.) that are incompatible with traditional cell culture incubators, and facilitate the investigation of complex cellular signaling pathways and biophysical mechanisms that influence the subsequent microvascular remodeling (angiogenesis).

Recent efforts in our lab have resulted in major steps toward addressing these challenges with the development of three-dimensional cultures that contain functional microvascular structure, integration with advanced instrumentation and initial demonstration of microsurgical anastomosis in an animal model. In this proposal, we will leverage and extend these efforts by maturing a prototype suite of tools to grow microvascularized, anastomosable tissues, with control of both vascular perfusion and global environmental culture parameters, for eventual implantation. We will use this system to perfect the biochemical and biophysical cues engineered within these dermal replacement scaffolds to enable vascularization, by extending preliminary studies that characterize the combined roles of blood-tissue gradients of the lipid signaling molecule Sphingosine 1-Phosphate (S1P) and hemodynamic forces in controlling vascular stability. We hypothesize that this combined biochemical and biophysical approach will lead to a "rationally” designed dermal replacement scaffold with an initial hierarchical and implantable branching structure and material chemistry that would become vascularized more rapidly than currently available commercial products.

John Morgan majored in Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry as an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN and later earned M-Eng., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from the Cornell University School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in Ithaca, NY. His research includes micro-engineering of biological and biologically inspired systems to enable the study of biomolecular-, cellular-, tissue- and organism-scale processes and create new technologies for regenerative medicine. He has particular expertise in tissue engineering and the recapitulation of the microvasculature in vitro, as well as the related cell signaling pathways.