The Plastic Surgery Foundation
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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.

Dominant-negative IRF6 Mutant Analysis in Zebrafish

Principal Investigator
George Kamel MD


Massachusetts General Hospital (The General Hospital Corp.)

Funding Mechanism
Pilot Research Grant

Focus Area
Cranio / Maxillofacial / Head and Neck

Cleft lip and palate (CLP) is the most common craniofacial birth defect where improved understanding of the genetic and embryological basis that underlies the CLP malformation is necessary to identify potential treatments or prevention. IRF6 is a transcription factor that has been shown to play a role in epithelial morphogenesis. Human mutation of IRF6 results in syndromic cleft lip and palate including Van der Woude and Popliteal Pterygium syndromes. Recently, IRF6 has been confirmed as a key locus for non-syndromic cleft lip and palate from large population genome-wide association studies. The zebrafish is a powerful vertebrate model that can be used to study the genetic and embryological basis that underlie cleft lip and palate malformation. We aim to study the molecular and morphogenetic mechanisms of IRF6 function in vertebrate craniofacial development. We are generating IRF6 dominant negative mutants based on known human mutations to study the gain-of-function phenotype and generate a zebrafish model of orofacial clefting. Our second aim is to perform fate mapping analysis of cranial neural crest cells during palate formation in IRF6 dominant negative transgenic lines. We have generated IRF6 dominant negative transgenic lines in the background of sox10::kaede fish to be utilized for lineage tracing studies. Furthermore, we have shown the utility of the sox10::kaede model by photo-labeling cells that form the frontonasal process, maxillary process and mandibular process long before organogenesis has begun. To better understand the morphogenetic events that occur in cleft palate formation, we plan to utilize IRF6 dominant negative transgenic lines to photo-label precursor cells destined to form the maxiallary and frontonasal process and follow their course during palate formation by time-lapse photography. We believe the IRF6 dominant negative transgenic model will serve to better understand the complex migratory events that occur during palate formation.
Impact Statement: The aim of this research project is to investigate the functional and molecular role of IRF6 in zebrafish via dominant negative transgenesis. Improved understanding of the genetic and embryological basis that underlies the cleft lip and palate malformation will give further mechanistic insight and help identify potential treatments or prevention.

George N. Kamel, MD is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Center for Regenerative Medicine, at the Massachusetts General Hospital. His primary research interest focuses on the genetic regulation of craniofacial development, working in the laboratory of Eric C. Liao, MD, PhD.